Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Cronenberg Day!

In honour of director David Cronenberg's 70th birthday today, I wanted to share my experience with the man from all those years ago...

David Cronenberg & Me (1992)

On a wintry February evening in 1992, three girls - Mellissa, Agnes, and myself headed down to TheatreBooks in downtown Toronto to meet the illustrious and mysterious Canadian director, David Cronenberg. Best known for helming such amazing horror films as Scanners, Shivers, Naked Lunch and my personal favorites, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, and Crash...then there's Rabid and The Brood, and...well, you get the picture. Cronenberg has recently branched out and done more "mainstream" work like Eastern Promises, but I'll always love his earlier stuff, and I've seen it all.

When I was about 15, I discovered Dead Ringers and then proceeded to go through Cronenberg's whole back catalogue, imbibing his flesh symbology and amazing visuals like a religion. He was my introduction to horror films, and I can't think of a better way to get one's toes wet in the genre. Cronenberg makes horror so chilling, and his situations are so possible, no matter how insane, that much like Clive Barker, he draws you into his intense world like a virus crawling through your bloodstream.

David was signing his then-new autobiography, Cronenberg on Cronenberg, which I believe came out in Canada first. All three of us girls had devoured the tome earlier and throughout the car ride down, we chattered about our favorite of Mr. C.'s films and what he might be like.

We arrived at Theatrebooks and all lined up, eager to meet him. Mellissa was first, and asked him his opinion on directing, since she was a budding director. Agnes had mostly come along for the ride and was the official photographer, but didn't have much interest in actually meeting the man.

Then it was my turn.

I'll admit it, I had a bit of a crush on the man. His work was just so amazing, and after reading the autobiography, we all agreed it felt like we all were able to get a bit of insight into his head and thought processes.

I can't remember what, if anything I said to him, but I was able to squeak out the correct spelling of my name and asked for a photo to capture this special moment. Agnes pointed the camera at us, and David very kindly said, "You should pop down a little, so you're in the picture better." I squeezed in a little closer and grinned as Agnes snapped the photo. (Note the gift at Mr. C.'s right hand - a small token of my fannish appreciation - pretty much everything I wanted to say folded neatly into a tiny gold box.)

After meeting THE David Cronenberg, we were all on a total high and wound up going to a late screening of Wayne's World. There is a line in this masterpiece (and I say that with all seriousness!) uttered by one of Wayne & Garth's crew:

"Have you guys ever seen that scene in Scanners where that dude's head blew up?"

to which we shrieked SO loudly in excitement over in the theater, I was afraid we'd be thrown out. But we were excited, and happy...and sixteen. Looking back, this picture makes me smile, because I realize my fangirling days have been happy and plentiful. Happy Birthday, Mr. C. Long live the not-so-new-yet-still-awesome flesh!

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