David Cronenberg (1943- ) Canadian director whose biological and psychological horror films explore nightmares with striking visual style.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Cronenberg still shoots most of his films there, even when working with Hollywood actors and budgets. While studying English at the University of Toronto, he began making experimental science-fiction films. He graduated in 1967, and his first feature was The Parasite Murders (also known as Shivers or They Came from Within) (1975), which depicted a parasite that releases uncontrollable sexual desire. The movie is an ironic take on the loose sexual mores of the 1970s. A series of low-budget horror films with similar themes and gory special effects culminated in Videodrome (1982), a hallucinatory examination of a television executive's obsession with sadistic video sex.

In 1983 Cronenberg released his first Hollywood project, The Dead Zone, based on a Stephen King novel about a man who can predict the futures of the people he touches. With this film Cronenberg began to explore character more deeply, although he remained fascinated with ravages and mutations to the human body. In The Fly (1986), a scientist mutates after a fly contaminates his DNA. Dead Ringers (1988) is based on a true story of twin gynecologists who exploit female patients with their morbid obsessions. Cronenberg brought the drug-induced hallucinations of writer William S. Burroughs to life in Naked Lunch (1992). In 1996 Crash, Cronenberg's movie about people who are sexually aroused by car accidents, won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cronenberg's films have provoked much controversy. Blurring the line between high art and popular culture to explore people's universal nightmares, he has confused some critics and offended others. Yet even while working with increasingly larger budgets, Cronenberg has remained fascinated with the irrational depths of the human imagination.

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