A man's wife is under the care of an eccentric psychiatrist who uses innovative and theatrical techniques to breach the psychological blocks in his patients.
When their daughter comes back from a visit with mom and she's covered with bruises and welts, the father attempts to bar his wife from seeing the daughter, but faces resistance from the secretive psychiatrist.
Meanwhile, the wife's mother and father are attacked by deformed children, and the husband begins to suspect a connection with the psychiatrist's methods.
Oliver Reed ... Dr. Hal Raglan
Samantha Eggar ... Nola Carveth
Art Hindle ... Frank Carveth
Henry Beckman ... Barton Kelly
Nuala Fitzgerald ... Juliana Kelly
Cindy Hinds ... Candice Carveth
Susan Hogan ... Ruth Mayer
Gary McKeehan ... Mike Trellan
Michael Magee ... Inspector
Another brilliant early David Cronenberg horror film, subtly stuffed with sexual obsessions and social criticism as it was also the case in "Shivers" and "Rabid", only the idea of this film is even more original and the tension is more overwhelming.
"The Brood" quite often is a genuinely terrifying horror-highlight with grueling special effects as well as truly disturbing social themes. Cronenberg's own and intelligently written script once again focuses on humans' defining "inner-evil" (it's his hobby-horse) and blends real-life issues like child abuse and psychiatric patients with adorable low-budget horror topics such as mad scientists and eerie mutant killers.
Nola Carveth is one of sinister Dr. Hal Raglan's "Psychoplasmics" patients that unleash their hatred through physical manifestations, like rashes or tumors. But Nola is an extreme case so her outbursts are also far more extreme than the other patients and she produces malicious dwarfs that kill everyone who comes near her husband and 5-year-old daughter Candy.
The premise of "The Brood" sounds absurd and incredibly far-fetched but, believe me, it's alarmingly convincing and scary.
The last 15 minutes are effectively nauseating, perhaps a little too controversial for some people, and the evil children are petrifying. What is it with little people that makes them so uncanny?
"The Brood" is less gore than Cronenberg's previous two films (the aforementioned "Shivers" and Rabid") but the killings are nevertheless nasty and that one sequence inside the kindergarten classroom is more than enough to skyrocket the shock-value of this film. Horror/exploitation veteran Oliver Reed is sublime as the overly ambitious Dr. Raglan.
Excellent stuff, David Cronenberg was (and still is) a genius filmmaker!
* David Cronenberg wrote the film following the tumultuous divorce and custody battle he waged against his former wife. Cronenberg has said that Samantha Eggar's character possesses some characteristics of his ex-wife.