From Scanners to The Fly, David Cronenberg has created a slew of gory and interesting horror films. He is a director who is always pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable onscreen. When contrasted to films like Videodrome, Cronenberg has made other non-horror pictures that are similarly violent. Cronenberg has proven to be a highly diverse director, having directed everything from thrillers to tragedies to even romance. But, before we see Cronenberg’s return to body horror in Crimes of the Future, which opens on June 3rd, here are all of his non-horror flicks, graded from worst to best:
1. Naked Lunch (1991)
Cast- Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
This paranoid fantasy about Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally shoots his wife, whose typewriter transforms into a cockroach. As a result, becomes involved in a mysterious plot in a North African port called Interzone, is not an adaptation of beat writer William S. Burrough’s novel. However, a mix of biography and an interpretation of his drug-induced writing processes combined with elements of his work. Like Burrough’s books, it’s wonderfully strange.
2. A History Of Violence (2005)
Cast- Viggo Mortensen, William Hurt, Mario Bello
Mild-mannered Tom Stall likes his easy, boring existence with his lawyer wife and their two children in Millbrook, Indiana. Tom defends his customers and friends in self-defense one night, foiling a nasty attempted robbery in his café by two dangerous wanted felons. Tom’s life has been turned upside down by being hailed as a local hero. Resulting in unwanted attention and a national media feeding frenzy. Tom tries to return to normalcy, uneasy with his newfound popularity. Only to be confronted by a mysterious man who believes Tom is the man who wronged him previously. As Tom and his family try to cope with their new world and this case of mistaken identification, they increasingly find themselves with no choice. But to fight back and safeguard everything they value.
3. Crash (1996)
Cast- James Spader, Deborah Kara Unger, Holly Hunter
A former TV scientist has been obsessed with the coupling of motor-car technology with what he perceives as the raw sexuality of car-crash victims after a road accident left him with extensive facial and physical damage. The scientist begins a series of sexual actions in a variety of motor vehicles. Either with other accident victims or with prostitutes who they distort into the shape of trapped corpses. With the help of a crash victim he has lately befriended. Finally, the scientist desires a suicidal union of blood, sperm, and engine coolant, which he becomes dangerously obsessed with.
4. Eastern Promises (2007)
Cast- Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel
Tatiana, a pregnant Russian teenager, comes at a hospital in London bleeding, and the doctors only preserve her baby. Anna Khitrova, a Russian-descendant midwife, discovers Tatiana’s journal written in Russian in her possessions. He decides to track out her family and deliver the baby to them. She carries the diary home and has her uncle Stepan interpret the document. Stepan refuses, but Anna discovers a card for a Russian restaurant run by Semyon within the diary. She ends up visiting the old man in the hopes of finding a link to Tatiana’s family. Semyon offers to transcribe the diary as soon as she admits its existence.
Stepan, on the other hand, interprets a portion of the diary, and Anna learns that Semyon and his sick son Kirill raped Tatiana when she was 14 and forced her to work as a prostitute in their brothel. Semyon is also the violent boss of the Russian mafia “Vory v Zakone,” putting Anna’s and her family’s safety at risk. Meanwhile, Nikolai Luzhin, Semyon’s driver, becomes close to Kirill and Semyon, climbing the ranks of the criminal organisation, but also assists Anna, her family, and the baby.
5. M. Butterfly (1993)
Cast- John Lone, Jeremy Irons, Barbara Sukowa
René Gallimard, a French ambassador’s accountant, attends a social gathering in Beijing without his wife Jeanne Gallimard in 1964 and meets opera singer Song Liling. René is smitten by Song, and the two meet at the local opera theatre. Song becomes his mistress since he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, René is promoted to Vice-Consul by Ambassador Toulon, and he is appointed as a French Intelligence advisor. Song, on the other hand, has dark secrets that René is unaware of and believes are part of Chinese culture.
6. Spider (2002)
Cast- Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Dennis “Spider” Cleg, a schizophrenic who has spent decades in a sanitarium, arrives into Mrs. Wilkinson’s halfway house and meets Terrence, a fellow inmate, before retiring into personal writing and the darkness of his own tortured mind. Spider tries to piece together hazy memories of a childhood trauma involving his violent father, slain mother, and a prostitute who may have taken her place.
7. Maps To The Stars (2014)
Director- Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack
The Weiss family is the quintessential Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is a business analyst and coach who has made a fortune selling self-help books. While mother Cristina focuses on their son Benjie, a child star, who is 13 years old. Havana, one of Stafford’s clients, is an actress who dreams of remaking the 1960s film that made her mother, Clarice, famous. Clarice is no longer alive, and at night, visions of her torment Havana. To add to the toxicity, Benjie recently completed a rehab programme that he began when he was nine years old. Whereas, his sister, Agatha, was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania. She befriendes a limo driver Jerome, who is also an aspiring actress.
8. A Dangerous Method (2011)
Cast- Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen
Sabina Spielrein, manic, wild, and desperate, arrives at Carl Jung’s Burghölzli mental clinic in Zurich in 1904, seeking to find relief from her violent attacks of hysteria. Jung not only succeeds but also unlocks Sabina’s clever nature by employing his idol Sigmund Freud’s creative approach and theories, despite never having seen the famed psychotherapist in person. When the three of them eventually meet in Vienna over two years later, a complex bodily affair will upset the delicate balance, as Sabina stands between the two men.
9. Cosmopolis (2012)
Cast- Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti
Eric Packer, a twenty-eight-year-old Manhattan self-made multi-billionaire, decides on the spur of the moment to get a haircut from his regular and long-time barber across town, a difficult journey today if only because of the traffic gridlock caused by three high-profile but vastly different events taking place in the borough, including a wandering anarchist protest, who largely use dead rats as their symbol of protest. Eric interacts with various business associates during his journey, which takes place mostly in his long limousine.
Personal acquaintances include his several week bride, Elise, a wealthy woman in her own right with whom he still maintains a slightly distant connection if only because they don’t truly know each other – and those with as obscure job titles as Head of Theory. Eric’s day begins differently than it ends, as his personal fortune is primarily dependent on external forces in connection with a speculative currency trade, and he discovers that someone is attempting to assassinate him for reasons he does not understand.