The Canadian director David Cronenberg has redefined the notion of what a horror film can be. While horror and science-fiction films traditionally have been about threats from the outside — monsters or alien forces — Cronenberg’s films have been about threats that come from inside our own bodies, and our psyches. It was fitting, then, that Cronenberg should be the director to adapt William S. Burroughs’s novel Naked Lunch, with its grotesque and comical mix of the organic, the chemical, and the hallucinatory. Cronenberg spoke at the Museum of the Moving Image with a premiere screening of Naked Lunch on the opening day of a complete retrospective of his films. —A Pinewood Dialogue with David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg and The Making of Naked Lunch performs just what it says on the tin, as the director and many of his collaborators, including Burroughs, speak on the film, which offers an increasingly paranoid look at one writer’s process and also his fear of slowly growing bugs in New York City. The documentary examines just how Burroughs life seeped its way into Cronenberg’s vision — including events related to those portrayed in the recent Allen Ginsberg drama Kill Your Darlings — and how they made the decidedly uncinematic act of writing compelling. “In order to convey the act of writing to someone who hasn’t written, you have to be quite outrageous,” says Cronenberg. Anyone who’s seen the final result can confirm its success on that front, but now we can take a look at the puppeteers behind the many grotesque creations in the film and appreciate.
David Cronenberg’s screenplay for Naked Lunch. Based on the novel by William S. Burroughs [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). Thanks to Write To Reel’s R.P. McMurphy a.k.a. Lobo. The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at the Criterion Collection's site. Absolutely our highest recommendation.
For further reading, viewing, and listening:
- Interview with William S. Burroughs and David Cronenberg
- Surveillance Camera
- Intensive Care Unit
- Modus Operandi
- Case Studies
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