Shivers (1975)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  6 July 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 11,465 users  
Reviews: 97 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




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?


The "eel" that Detective Haller keeps in his aquarium is actually a caecilian, a limbless, aquatic, nearly blind amphibian. See more »


When the parasite attacks Betts in the bathtub, it removes the drain plug and itself comes out of the drain; however, the water in the bathtub never starts draining. The water level remains the same until the following scene when she gets out. See more »


Forsythe: Roger, I had a very disturbing dream last night. In this dream I found myself making love to a strange man. Only I'm having trouble you see, because he's old... and dying... and he smells bad, and I find him repulsive. But then he tells me that everything is erotic, that everything is sexual. You know what I mean? He tells me that even old flesh is erotic flesh. That disease is the love of two alien kinds of creatures for each other. That even dying is an act of eroticism. That talking is ...
See more »


Referenced in Discussing the Pod (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating and Disturbing
5 April 2004 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

An early piece from David Cronenberg, this is his first cinematic exploration of themes which he would continually come back to throughout his career in films such as eXistenZ, Videodrome, The Fly and Crash. to best explain these themes, i must qoute the man himself, "I was saying, I love sex, but I love it as a veneral disease. I am Syphilis. I am Enthusiastic about it, but in a very different way from you." and while that doesnt shed a whole lot of light on the film, it sure is a hell of a qoute :) the plot of Shivers, aka The Parasite Murders, revolves around a parasite which has been bred to heighten sexual desire and other primal instincts while dampening our mental awareness. this parasite has been let lose within a high-tech high rise block thanks to the experiments upon a young girl by an older scientist. the horror begins immediately, as do the social metaphors and ideas of sex and death. it is interesting to note this film was produced before the outbreak of AIDs, but is entirely applicable in our modern world. in some ways this is a tale of warning, of what can go wrong and how we can destroy ourselves. but above all, cronenberg delights in sinking us into the flesh, so the film can also be seen as fable of a world gone mad with life and freedom, which many would not consider so horrific. it defies simple catergorisation, it is not just a story about rampantly sexually active teenagers like so many of its kind. it is a story about every person's desire for safety, and the darker desires which hide behind it. wonderfully directed, intriguingly written, there is little that i can fault this film for, except perhaps its little to obvious reference to Romero's Night Of The Living Dead. while it is obviously partly inspired by that film, and brilliantly reinterprets it for a new age and a new social strata, the tiresome zombies that stagger about like slugs are a little out of place, but fortunately it does not let the film down. a must see.

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