Shivers (1975)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  6 July 1976 (USA)
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Reviews: 96 user | 100 critic

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Hampton ...
Joe Silver ...
Allan Kolman ...
Nicholas Tudor (as Alan Migicovsky)
Susan Petrie ...
Ronald Mlodzik ...
Barry Baldaro ...
Detective Heller (as Barry Boldero)
Camil Ducharme ...
Mr. Guilbault
Hanka Posnanska ...
Mrs. Guilbault
Wally Martin ...
Kresimer Sviben
Silvie Debois ...
Benda Sviben
Charles Perley ...
Delivery Boy
Al Rochman ...


A scientist living in an apartment complex kills a girl and uses acid to destroy her internal organs, and then kills himself. While investigating, a doctor discovers that the scientist was doing experiments on the use of genetically engineered parasites as organ transplants. Soon, other people in the complex begin showing signs of carrying the parasites, spreading the things through wanton orgiastic abandon, and the complex begins suffering an attrition problem. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Going MAD is just the beginning.... See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 July 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shivers  »

Box Office


CAD 179,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Susan Petrie was unable to cry, so David Cronenberg used onions to help her produce tears. This worked, but the camera was out of focus when the scene was shot, and because Cronenberg was out of onions, Petrie gave her consent to let him to slap her on the face. He did so until her face was numb from all the takes. He finally settled for a series of takes he found to be less than satisfactory. See more »


While the nurse is in the apartment with the old couple she locks the door with a chain, but after-wards she leaves the apartment (leaving the chain out and unlocks the door). Later in the movie when the mob tries to break in the door it's firstly locked and then the chain is also visible holding the door closed. The old couple is still sitting in the couch in the same position which indicates they never manually re-locked the door or put up the chain a second time. See more »


[Last lines]
[Radio programme tune]
Radio News Reporter: The time is 5.26 a.m. This is Gerald Keys with the Media Sculp sunrise news bulletin. There is still no confirmation by Montreal city police concerning alleged reports of a city wide plague of violent sexual assaults. The assaults, believed to have originated in the vicinity of Starliner Island, began late last night, and have spread with increasing frequency this morning. Reports of the attacks have been termed irresponsible and hysterical, by a Montreal city ...
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User Reviews

Cronenberg's Impressive Feature Debut
20 July 2000 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Shivers(1975) is a fascinating first film especially for a person who was learning to direct professionly on the job. An interesting part about this movie is that Cronenberg did Shivers(1975) without having a clue of what people in the film crew does or containing knowledge of film terms. The fact that he made a cult classic is a testament to his potential at the time to be an excellent movie maker. Shivers is basically the first horror film made in Canada as far as I know and David Cronenberg was the first director to open the flood gates for the horror film in Canada.

This motion picture mixes together the erotic with the zombie genre made famous by George Romero in 1968. In fact, there are many references to the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead. The movie is about parasites who enters people's bodies and turn them into sex maniacs. It dares to break many sexual taboos that many film makers would be afraid to explore.

Shivers would provide a starting point for some themes that David Cronenberg would explore in later films like Rabid(1977), The Brood(1979), Scanners(1981), Videodrome(1983), The Fly(1986), Dead Ringers(1988), and Crash(1997). The two themes are disease as the transformation of the body into the next state of evolution for the human being and the other theme of the outsider who does not understand why they are so different from other people. Barbara Stelle provided the movie with many memorable moments especially the infamous "bath tub" scene. It is a groundbreaking movie because it would become a source of many movie directors for the next two decades.

One great scene is the "bath tub" scene which is a classic example of building up suspense until the final moment when the scene ends. Another excellent scene is when the protagonist tries to escape outside and he goes back in as swarms of Sex zombies go chasing after him. I consider this movie the beginning of a trilogy I call the 'sexual evolution' trilogy. The trilogy starts out with Shivers(1975), continues with Videodrome(1983), and finishes with Crash(1997).

Shivers(1975) would be a major influence for the scifi-action thriller The Hidden(1987), especially with the idea of a parasite entering a person's body and changing their entire personal behavior. Also influenced by Shivers were the Alien series(especially Alien(1979) which was made four years after Cronenberg's directioral debut) and there are a couple of examples of this influence. First, the two movies involve parasites who go in and put out of a person's body as well as having acid for blood. Second, They both take place in an isolated and high placed area with Alien(1979) taking place on a spaceship in the middle of nowhere and Shivers(1975) takes place on a apartment complex called the Skyliner Towers on the middle of an island that is isolated from the rest of Canada.

41 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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