David Cronenberg’s first feature-length film, 1975’s Shivers, received a special commemorative screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which was presumably all just a ruse to find the last remaining copy and burn it, so it could make way for a remake from producers Michael Baker and Jeff Sackman. (“Don’t need this anymore,” Baker and Sackman presumably said, as the acrid smoke of roasting acetate filled the theater.) Adding to the list of the many Cronenberg films rumored for remakes in recent years—including Videodrome, Scanners, The Brood, and The Fly—Sackman and Baker will partner on Shivers with Danish filmmaker Rie Rassmussen, known for her appearances in Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale, her feature film Human Zoo, her erotic paintings, her stint as a fashion model, and the fact that Quentin Tarantino really likes her. Rasmussen will direct from a script by Ian Driscoll, known for horror-comedies like Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and the Sasha Grey-starring Smash Cut, let’s say.
Like the original Shivers—a publicly funded film decried as so “repulsive” and “depraved” upon release, it was debated in Canadian parliament, nearly ruined Cronenberg’s chances for financing any more films, and even got him kicked out of his apartment—the remake promises to combine sex, horror, and sly social commentary. But it will update for “today’s social and sexual realities” the story of a group of luxury apartment-dwellers who are transformed into ravenous sex fiends by a genetically engineered strain of parasites. For example, it will take place in a “post-HIV world, where people interact through screens rather than skin,” which possibly means the infected will ravenously poke each other on Facebook and text each other dick pics. Also, who can afford to live in a luxury apartment anymore?
“This is an opportunity to bring Shivers to audiences in our current era and reminds me of cutting-edge films I’ve had the opportunity to work on previously, including American Psycho, Buffalo 66 and Young People Fucking,” Sackman said, while no doubt regretting he couldn’t just reuse that last title for this also.