Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry
Release Date: September 15, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
A cult favorite, Shivers is acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg’s feature-length debut and new to the Vestron Collector’s Series. When the residents of a luxury apartment complex outside Montreal are infiltrated by parasites and transformed into violent, sex-crazed maniacs, it’s up to Dr. Roger St. Luc to contain the outbreak from spreading to the city at large in a film that “scares and shocks us because it’s so cleverly made” (Roger Ebert).
Please Note: Lionsgate Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
The unnerving cult classic ‘Shivers’ from writer/director David Cronenberg follows a terrifying chain of events centered around a luxury apartment complex outside of Montreal where various residents and employees suddenly become infected by a mysterious parasite which quickly begins transforming them into violent, sex crazed zombies with only one purpose; to spread as fast and viciously as possible. Meanwhile, a few individuals who have started to figure out what’s occurring attempt to do everything in their power to stop the spread before it grows further out of control.
David Cronenberg’s ‘Shivers’ joins the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray lineup as the long-awaited eighteenth entry (the last of which was ‘Maximum Overdrive’ released nearly two years ago in October of 2018) and makes a great addition to the numbered line of collectible Blu-ray releases featuring various cult classic favorites fully remastered in high definition and with some great extras including many created specifically for these releases. Initially released in Canada in 1975 and then in the states the following year, ‘Shivers’ is a tense, unpredictable and surprisingly graphic (at least for when it was released) sci-fi horror flick which is also largely responsible for kick starting the career of talented filmmaker David Cronenberg, marking his first full length feature film. While some elements within are admittedly a bit dated compared to all that’s achievable these days, it still delivers admirably altogether and showcases just how much could still be accomplished back in the seventies, even with a smaller budget. Today, the film remains a cult classic with a massive following and a staple of Cronenberg’s impressive filmography. If you’ve never had the pleasure of this one before, I would strongly suggest giving it a chance whenever possible, especially for fans of David Cronenberg’s work.
Overall, the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray release of David Cronenberg’s classic ‘Shivers’ brings the film back home on Blu-ray with altogether solid high definition video and audio presentations in addition to a notable collection of extras including a few brand new and exclusive goodies. Fans of this 1970’s classic from David Cronenberg who don’t already own a previous Blu-ray release of ‘Shivers’ will definitely want to pick up a copy of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series release, especially with the refreshingly low price which is definitely a nice surprise considering how costly most of the previous releases in the Vestron Blu-ray line have retailed for. Some of you dedicated fans out there who already own another edition may still want to consider picking up this one as well due to some of the exclusive extras offered within. One thing is for certain though, this new Blu-ray release of ‘Shivers’ is definitely a pretty great overall release at a remarkably cheap price and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray release of ‘Shivers’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film with a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite good as a whole and delivers a clean, smooth and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish that still retains its share of grain, pops and other welcome artifacts representative of its film source. It holds up smoothly even during the various darkly lit or fast moving sequences throughout, never causing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that should please the fans considering a purchase.
The Blu-ray release features a 2.0 channel dual mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless dual mono presentation is quite impressive for its age and limited channel offerings, providing a smooth, sharp and clean audio presentation throughout. It does a great job of balancing the music, effects and everything else with the dialogue and never allows any activity that might be occurring simultaneously with another to conflict or become problematic, always making certain that the dialogue, score and the rest remains consistently clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a highly capable 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great for what it is and should easily satisfy the fans.
The Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray release of ‘Shivers’ includes a healthy collection of bonus content featuring some brand new extras created specifically for this release, along with some archival bonus content. The release includes both an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director David Cronenberg’ and a second ‘Audio Commentary with Co-Producer Don Carmody’, in addition to some brand new Interviews with members of the cast and crew. The new interviews include: ‘Mind Over Matter: An Interview with Writer/Director David Cronenberg’ (running approximately 12 minutes in length), ‘Good Night Nurse: An Interview with Actress Lynn Lowry’ (running approximately 17 minutes) and ‘Outside and Within: An Interview with Special Make-up Effects Creator Joe Blasco’ (approximately 13 minutes). Also included on the release is ‘Celebrating Cinepix: The Legacy of John Dunning’ (approximately 10 minutes), plus an ‘Archival 1998 Interview with David Cronenberg’ (approximately 21 minutes) and a ‘Still Gallery with an Optional Archival Audio Interview with Producer John Dunning’. ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ (approximately 3 minutes combined), a ‘TV Spot’ (1 minute) and ‘3 Radio Spots’ (2 minutes combined) for the film are also included.