After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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Popularity
4,865 ( 429)
13 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Weller ... Bill Lee
Judy Davis ... Joan Frost / Joan Lee
Ian Holm ... Tom Frost
Julian Sands ... Yves Cloquet
Roy Scheider ... Dr. Benway
Monique Mercure ... Fadela
Nicholas Campbell ... Hank
Michael Zelniker ... Martin
Robert A. Silverman ... Hans
Joseph Scoren ... Kiki (as Joseph Scorsiani)
Peter Boretski ... Creature Voices / Exterminator #2
Yuval Daniel Yuval Daniel ... Hafid
John Friesen ... Hauser
Sean McCann ... O'Brien
Howard Jerome Howard Jerome ... A.J. Cohen
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Storyline

Not an adaptation of beat writer William S. Burrough's novel but a mix of biography and an interpretation of his drug- induced writing processes combined with elements of his work in this paranoid fantasy about Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally shoots his wife, whose typewriter transforms into a cockroach and who becomes involved in a mysterious plot in North African port called Interzone. Wonderfully bizarre, not unlike Burrough's books. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs invite you to lunch. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for heavy drug content, bizarre eroticism, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #220. See more »

Goofs

The glass shot off Judy Davis' head changes to a plastic glass. First instance as the glass is falling off her head after the shot and then at end of film it is a plastic glass Ms Davis balances on her head. It remains plastic until it falls to floor and changes back into glass. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bill Lee: Exterminator.
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Body Horror Movies (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Bugpowder
Composed by Ornette Coleman
Performed by Ornette Coleman (as The Ornette Coleman Trio)
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User Reviews

 
Filming the Unfilmable... why not?
14 October 1999 | by ah`PookSee all my reviews

This film of 'Naked Lunch' is the first of Cronenberg's Trilogy

of filming three of the most challenging literary works of the

20th Century, and arguably the most difficult... as anyone who's

read Burroughs' 1959 novel can attest, in conventional terms it

is a book without a cohesive plot or even structure, largely

assembled from the paranoid rambling letters of the world's most

notorious drug addict. Cronenberg's approach to the material is

ingenious in that he attempts to fictionalize the circumstances

under which the book was written rather than trying to weave a

storyline from the mass of twisted plot threads which comprise

the text. The cast is impeccable, particularly Peter Weller and Judy Davis

as the leads, Ian holm as a psuedo-Paul Bowles, and Cronenberg

regulars Robert A. Silverman as Hans and Nicholas Campbell as

Kerouac-ish Hank. Julian Sands and Roy Scheider don't quite

infuse their roles with the ridiculousness of their counterparts

from the novel, but their cameos are brief and don't detract

from the overall effect. The overall effect being a hypnotic, schizophrenic blend of

biography and folklore, equal parts Cronenberg and Burroughs, a

self-tortured portrait of the creative process. To the

director's credit, he relies on the script (his own) and the

performances over visual trickery or stock travelogue scenery to

set the mood and propel the action. The astonishing soundtrack,

by the superb Howard Shore, underscores the drug-filled malaise

of this Tangerine dream perfectly... it lacks any musical sense

of time and therefore hangs over the proceedings like a

mysterious haze. Haunting, powerful cinema... but most

definitely not for everyone. Wise up the marks before laying

this on them.


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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | Japan

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

24 April 1992 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch See more »

Filming Locations:

Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,491, 29 December 1991

Gross USA:

$2,641,357

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,641,357
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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