The Best Films to Watch Without Leaving Bed This Week: Stunning Sci-Fi Classics

World on a Wire, Sci-Fi, Film

Every Monday I find myself whispering that old Beckett adage into the morning air: I can’t go on / I’ll go on. As I settle into the week’s work, and no matter how thrilling the day’s prospects, it’s that beginning of the week existential stomach ache that always seemed to start gnawing away at my insides. But breathe, just breathe, the hours will pass themselves and soon it will all be easier and the weekend will come again—one that’s rife with fantastic films playing in theaters all around the city. But in the meantime, look forward to the evening, when a wealth of wonderful films will be at your fingertips.

With so many great movies streaming online, what better way to spend a cold March night than curled up beneath the sheets with some of the best rare and incredible cinema from the comfort of home? But with myriad options streaming, I understand the decision of what to screen in your private bedroom viewing can prove a challenge. So to make your troubles easier, this week we’ve highlighted some of our favorite science fiction movies to watch without leaving bed. From confounding classics like Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire to modern wonders such as Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, get cozy and enjoy.

WORLD ON A WIRE, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Available to watch on Hulu +

SOLARIS, Andrei Tarkovsky

Available to watch on Hulu +

LA JETEE, Chris Marker

Available to watch on Hulu +

VIDEODROME, David Cronenberg

Available to watch on Amazon / iTunes

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, Nicolas Roeg

Available to watch on Amazon / iTunes

UPSTREAM COLOR, Shane Carruth

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, Panos Cosmatos

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

BRAZIL, Terry Gilliam

Available to watch on Amazon

ERASERHEAD, David Lynch

Available to watch on Hulu +

METROPOLIS, Fritz Lang

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, Lars von Trier

Available to watch on Hulu +

BLACK MOON, Louis Malle

Available to watch on Hulu +

ALPHAVILLE, Jean-Luc Godard

Available to watch on iTunes / Amazon

Exterminating All Rational Thought With David Cronenberg’s ‘Naked Lunch’

In the fall of my sophomore year of high school, I hostessed at a restaurant on the beach. It was right along the water and whenever the wind blew it felt as though we all might disappear any moment. And as the weather grew colder throughout the season, the customers began to disappear. The only companion I had was the smorgasbord Sunday morning brunch buffet, which I wasn’t eve allow to dive into until proper brunch hours had ended—even when not a single soul came to dine. So to cure my boredom I began reading William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch instead of answering the phone.

The more I read, the less appetizing that calamari on the table would become. With each turn of the page, I no longer desired that saccharine wafting french toast perfectly placed so close to my stand. Even now nine years later, I can’t even think of the book without my memory tingling with the smell of buttery skillets and the quiet desolation that overwhelms beach towns in the winter. But I loved it, and as all books, films, etc. that eventually become the backbone of who you are, the novel always stuck with me as not only a piece of literature, but one of my most cherished sense memories.

And in imagining the adaptation those nine years ago, I found myself at a loss trying to imagine how Burroughs’s mind could be translated for the screen. For a world that lives so heavily in imagination and in the space between literal dictation and the surreal inquiry, I couldn’t fathom it finding a way to be filmed without maybe slicing out part of your temporal lobe and rubbing it on a strip of film. But leave it to David Cronenberg to bring Naked Lunch to the screen in a way that not only works but creates something completely his own in the process. 

So with the film playing at IFC Center this weekend, take a look back on some of Criterion’s wonderful on the set photos, as well as some further words on the film.

From the outset, Burroughs’s influence was like a neurological connection. Beyond its startling language and literary form, beyond its “forbidden” subject matter and obsessions (and sympathetic reaction to the repressive era in which it was written), the work spoke most immediately to Cronenberg’s viscera. More an infection than an influence.

To coexist with an infection, you have to be ingenious or it can subsume all of you. An artistic cure is essential to the creation of work that is intrinsically one’s own. Cronenberg’s particular antidote emerged in the act of filmmaking. He felt free to invent his own cinema, to be original in a way he could not with his writing, while many other filmmakers of his generation struggled with cinematic atavism under the towering shadows of Hitchcock, Ford, Hawks, and so on.

Also going on to that say:

Cronenberg is no cinephile. To Cronenberg, what separates Fellini from Paul Brickman, director of Risky Business, is the auteurist impulse: the drive to create a discernable, hermetically sealed world consistent from film to film, an instantly recognizable sensibility or vision. There are no direct cinematic influences on Cronenberg’s work. His heaviest influences are literary, and Burroughs is perhaps the strongest.

Similarities between the work of Burroughs and Cronenberg arise as much from the sheer force of imagery as from the imagery itself. Finding a cinematic equivalent for a literary vision is one thing; equaling its power in the context of another medium is something else entirely. Cronenberg’s compulsion is to “show the unshowable, to speak the unspeakable,” and even his relatively subdued and mainstream The Dead Zone (1983) is filled with images not easily erased from the mind. His ability to imagine and create the impossible in ways truly shocking, without compromise—a remarkable feat, given the commercial demands informing so much of cinema—is what binds the Cronenberg-esque to the Burroughsian. Both artists have suffered from often hysterically adverse reactions to the powerful images they have unleashed, and the impact of their visions has been overshadowed for some audiences by the “disgusting” nature of the subject matter.

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When Lucas & Lynch Met: An Animated Tale

As someone who once semi-seriously was lobbied for David Lynch to direct the final installment of Twilight, I understand the notion of considering a director to move out of their element and cast their genius upon an already established territory. However, whatever Dune may have implied, David Lynch and Star Wars would be a terribly painful mixture.

But before Richard Marquand signed on to direct Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, George Lucas considered both David Cronenberg and David Lynch to direct the feature—thankfully, both took a pass. And in this wonderful little video, we see an animated retelling of Lynch and Lucas’ meeting in which they go out for lunch, Lynch gets a migraine from too much Wookiee talk, and he turns down the big bucks. Take a look below at the Lynch-voiced video below.

When Lynch Met Lucas from G.O. Welles on Vimeo.

Brandon Cronenberg Talks Fetishizing Celebrity & Getting Sick With His Debut Feature ‘Antiviral’

By definition, a virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of an organism. It may be a far-removed thought from your mind when you’re in the throws of sickness, but those tiny agents attacking your healthy cells once lived inside of someone else—be it a stranger or someone in close contact. "These physical little virons have travelled into your body and infected your cells, and that’s why you’re sick," says director Brandon Cronenberg, whose nauseatingly great debut feature Antiviral investigates the idea of disease as a marketable and desirable product for consumption. 

The first time I watched the film was in the wee hours of the morning. I fell asleep as the credits rolled and woke up with nosebleed. Granted, I happened to be quite ill myself, but I like to attribute my nasal hemorrhage to the intensity of the film—which establishes Cronenberg as more than just the spawn of one of cinema’s most mind-bending directors, his father, David Cronenberg. Antiviral is a well-crafted and intelligent first feature that’s as inventive and thought provoking as it is grotesque and visually thrilling. 

But this idea of disease as a sought-after consumerist dream is wrapped in an extremist view of a celebrity-obsessed world that, frankly, isn’t too far off from our future. Focusing on a young man named Syd March (played with absolute perfection by Caleb Landry Jones), Antiviral exists in a world where biotech firms see bodies as a commodities and patients pour into their clinics to have themselves injected with the infections of their favorite celebrities. And although modification allows for the diseases to not be contagious, it’s the mania surrounding celebrity that proves to be the real illness here. 

As the head technician for Lucas Clinic, Syd injects disease into his clients as well as himself, using his own body to smuggle viruses onto the black market. And in case you’re still hungry, there are even butcher shops where celebrity cell steaks are grown and doled out by the pound. But of course, things go awry when Syd injects himself with a virus living inside the most famous and beloved celebrity of them all, Hannah Geist (played wonderfully by Sarah Gadon). Things grow increasingly more emetic and dangerous when Geist suddenly dies, leaving Syd to find out what killed her in order to save himself.

Besides the stark and sterile sets in juxtaposition with the thick red blood and microscopic details, the visceral and trance-inducing music, and a story that keeps unfolding bit by painful bit, the best part of the film lies in the performances of its talented young actors. Jones, a pale, freckled, and handsome man, plays Syd with an incredible intensity as if he was physically in pain every moment in front of the camera. With his translucent skin, fiery red hair, and menacing look behind his eyes, he barely has to say a word—the way he moves his body and tenor of his voice says it all. He’s fantastic alongside Gadon, whom you’ve seen before in both Cosmopolis and A Dangerous Method, who now brings a humanity and softness to a woman that people are literally dying to be close to. 

On Tuesday afternoon, I sat down with Cronenberg—and interrupted his sandwich eating—to talk about the inception of the idea for the film, the cultural construct of celebrities, and where his film falls on the horror movie spectrum.

I watched the film when I was pretty sick, and I have to say it made me quite uneasy. This idea of a virus growing inside someone else and being passed on inside of you is pretty gross when you really think about it. How did the idea for the film come to you originally?
Also through being sick: I had a fever, and became obsessed with the idea that I had something in my body that had come from someone else’s. These physical little virons that were produced by someone else’s infected cells travelled into your body and infected your cells and they’re physically in your body, and that’s why you’re sick. In my feverish state, that seemed like a big deal, like something very intimate. And it is intimate if you think about it that way—even if it’s not, in the sense that you’re often physically removed from the other person and you don’t know who got you sick. I was trying to think of a person who would see it with intimacy and thought a celebrity-obsessed fan might want that from someone they’re obsessed with. 

And you began writing the movie a while ago when you were still in film school?
Yeah, in 2004. It was about eight years from when I started writing it to when I got to make it.

That idea of a person who would find this intimate, is that how the celebrity angle developed for you?
It seemed like that character made sense, that you could imagine fandom pushing someone to see disease as something desirable. So that struck me as an interesting metaphor discussing that culture, and it developed into an interest in that.

I love how in the film you describe celebrity as a group hallucination, especially when there’s an entire culture surrounding an idea that we’ve attributed to certain people for absolutely no reason. It was interesting that you even chose not to reveal what the celebrities in the film were famous for—was that something you intentionally wanted to do from the start?
Yeah, because fame is so removed from accomplishment. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand, but increasingly the celebrity industry is becoming something very insular and not related to accomplishment. Nowadays celebrities are mass-produced through reality television and other means, and a huge amount of money is made off of that. So I was picturing one extreme end of it. There are digital celebrities in Japan that aren’t even based on real people—that’s the complete extreme, where people are no longer even in the picture. But this is just one version where there’s no other interest in that world, everyone is watching celebrity news and they’re famous for no reason, and it’s about the consumption of fame.

It’s one thing to be obsessed with an actor because you love their movies. It’s another thing to be consumed by what they wore to the grocery store.
Exactly. It’s true. I think there’s a line there. To be a fan in the sense that you like what someone’s doing and you take an interest in where that comes from and what they’re up to next—that’s totally healthy. But there’s a tipping point, and when you’re just focused on the details of their life and fetishize them, that’s when it becomes a kind of mania.

Did you want the set design and physical world of the film—this very white, sterile environment—to echo the inhuman side to what the characters were doing?
Well there are two elements to it: one was that it was just a way of playing with the eye of the audience, because if you have a totally white set, anything that’s not white will pop. So the faces on the walls have an extra physical weight to them and the blood really stands out. But also, one of the themes in the film is that divide of celebrities as cultural constructs or media constructs that exist purely in the public’s consciousness, almost completely unrelated to the human being. And then the human being is the body and we don’t like to look at our bodies very closely. And then is so unrelated to the celebrity and it dies and the celebrity exists on. Like the Tupac hologram, more and more you don’t need a body to have a career. So reflecting that in the design and having those really inhuman sterile things and then contrasting them with the dirtier sets and microscopic body stuff is what we wanted to do.

And when you wrote the script, did you plan out all the visual elements as well like the machines or those very striking scenes of Syd when he gets really sick.
It was all written in the script and then developed in the process. For instance, the machines, I had long paragraphs describing them and the faces on them and the way they worked, but then making that real was a collaboration with my production designer. So it all was essentially there in the script but developed through collaboration.

Tell me about casting Caleb. He was so perfect for the role, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing him with so well. He was terrifying the amount of absolute misery he looked in made you feel a little endeared. I mean he really looked like he was constantly in pain—
Which I think he is. Well, I’d seen him in X-Men

Yeah, that’s slight different than this.
Well, I wasn’t think of him from that because it was very different, but his agent had worked with my producer and so we were asking around and I saw clips from things he’d done. And it was really exciting because he’s a great actor but he also has that hard to articulate special quality that some actors have where they’re really fascinating to watch, and it’s in his movements and his intensity and his appearance—he just has this thing. But he’s not what I was picturing while I was writing. The character was actual written older in the original script but it was just so exciting when we found him that we thought, better to plug in someone really exciting than try and just find someone just to cling to this old image of the character. Now I can’t see him any other way.

And did you two talk about the character a lot before hand? What was directing him like on set?
He made it really easy for me because he brought so much to the film. He’s a really intense actor and what we did was talk a lot before shooting—what he was feeling, the development of the character—and got into detail. Then we would shoot and I’d give him some notes but he had such a handle on it right from the start that it’s not like I had to drawn it out of him in some agonizing process. It was really an exciting thing where he would give me more than I needed and I could pick and choose and say, let’s go this way with it. Even by the time it came to editing we had so much interesting material and variations that we could have cut the character drastically different. 

Sarah had worked with your father before, so did you know her beforehand? I thought she was great because she seems to be very human and very sweet but she’s also so beautiful that she could play this perfect woman.
I agree. I hadn’t met her before but I had seen her in A Dangerous Method and thought she was really great, and that was a big contributing factor. But also, it’s exactly that—we needed someone who could be believable as the biggest star in the world but also someone who had real acting talent and in those moments where you see her as an actual human being, could be very frail. In a way, the whole thing rested on that because in that moment, if she wasn’t believable as a human being it would have fallen apart and we would have lost a lot. 

And before you went to film school you were working in other creative mediums?
I was trying to be a fiction writer and was doing a lot of drawing and visual art and playing music and really doing way too much at once.

So as a filmmaker, do you draw your inspiration from literature and art more so than other films?
From everything really. Literature definitely quite a bit. I’ve gotten a lot more into film since I’ve been making films, weirdly. I wasn’t a cinephile growing up. I was more of a book nerd.

Can you tell me a little about the music for the film? It was very visceral and really made me feel uneasy.
Especially if you’re sick. E.C. Woodley is the composer and we just talked about a lot of stuff—first very theoretically about what we wanted the music to do and that it should be more about his internal state than about what’s happening around. I had had this idea that I wanted something that was electronic mixed with acoustic instrumentation and he knew this musician who had this huge bank of analog synths, and they had done these experiments where they ran orchestral chords through the synths. So he had been waiting to use that for something and it seemed like the perfect time. It looked like an old operator switchboard, it was all patch chords into different nodes and they put in a bunch of instrumentation and it was hard to control what came out of it, it would just be a bunch of different wave forms and rhythms.

And do you want to keep making these darker films and stick closer to this genre?
I wasn’t specifically making a horror film. I can’t really think in those terms when I’m working, I’m just paying with idea and what comes out of it. 

Is it exactly a horror film?
At first I was not calling it a horror film because I think there’s a mainstream conception of horror films that they should be terrifying and this thrill ride of fun. This is not a fun movie. My DP was saying, stop calling it "maybe not a horror film" because it is a horror film, like people that are into horror have this broader idea of what horror is and it does fall in that and if you say it’s maybe not a horror film everyone’s going to think you’re an asshole and trying to say it’s like above horror. And it totally wasn’t that.I don’t feel like horror is a low art at all, I feel like it’s a great genre, I’m just bad at categorizing things.

And naturally when you make a film like this, or probably anything you would have made, there will be comparisons to your father. Were you worried at all about establishing yourself as your own filmmaker?
People have been comparing me to my father before I was evening film. I would draw things and people would say, ‘That’s such a Cronenbergian drawing," and people love to make those connections. So it was a combination of my own interests fueled by a desire that people have to impose that narrative or exaggerate that. I knew that was going to happen and decided to not worry about it and do whatever was interesting to me. And first of all, he’s had a really long and interesting career. A lot of people are like, well this is a horror film and your dad’s a horror director, but he hasn’t really made a straight horror film in quite a long time. Also, I didn’t want to define myself in opposition to that stuff because that would be purely defining myself in terms of his career and I don’t think I could work for an honest place if I was doing that. 

Do you pay attention to what people have been saying about the film thus far?
Just a little bit. It starts to wig me out if I see too much, I feel too exposed. But it’s been getting the full spectrum of reviews from the most loathing and hatred to appreciation beyond what I think it deserves and everything in between. 

So what is it about film that you love in comparison to literature or drawing, what made you want to really focus on this?
I like that it contains those other things. And collaboration can be horrible if it’s going wrong, but there’s something about collaborating and finding your material on the day, in a moment that’s very appealing because you discover stuff and sometimes find something that’s better than what you were thinking. It’s kind of exciting to just point a camera and work on something with a bunch of people and see what comes out of it. 

Visually, did you have any influences on how you wanted the film to shot or the overall aesthetics?
A lot of my influences are indirect, so it’s usually more unconsciously. In pre-production we got really excited about Romanian New Wave and about Dogtooth and Alps, but I don’t really think those influences ended up being visible. Originally we thought it was going to be a bit more naturalistic and then once we started shooting it was obvious that having a more stylized, like almost noir thing going on, that was the stuff that was working and I wanted to go where it wanted to go and not fight that. 

Did you watch your father’s films growing up?
I saw Fast Company quite a bit because it was about car racing and not a horror film but I didn’t see most of his other films until I was a teenager or into my 20s. And I still haven’t seen all of them. I guess they weren’t exactly appropriate for Cronenberg family movie night.

Enjoy a 90-Minute Interview with David Cronenberg & Some of His Best Scenes, On His 70th Birthday

It’s David Cronenberg’s birthday—let’s get weird, very weird. Today the master of body horror, the maestro of visceral and erotic terror turns 70-years-old and this is certainly cause to celebrate—in the most grotesque fashion. For the past 40 years, Cronenberg has given us visually-striking and mind-melding thrillers that coagulate the psychological to the physical, making a potent kind of cinema that we cannot get enough of. So in honor of this day, here’s a 90-minute recent interview with the prolific director as well as some favorite scenes from his long and audacious oeuvre.

Cosmopolis

 

Eastern Promises

 

Dead Ringers

 

Scanners

 

Videodrome

 

eXistenZ

 

Crash

 

A History of Violence

 

A Dangerous Method

 

 

Naked Lunch

David Cronenberg Reunites with Don DeLillo to Star in ‘Body Art’

As one could have foreseen, confounding writer Don DeLillo and director David Cronenberg are melding worlds yet again. But this time sans Robert Pattinson. After their creative success with last summer’s perplexing and guttral, Cosmopolis, the two are collaborating once more to bring another one of DeLillo’s acclaimed works to the screen. Cronenberg will star in the cinematic adapation of The Body Artist, reports Variety. At the helm will be Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, whose incredible keen sense of authentic, subtle dramatics and beauty brought us the richly powerful I Am Love. He will also be penning the adaptation, now titled Body Art. The film will center around Isabelle Huppert (recently seen in Amour), as well as the man of many faces, Denis Lavant (who just gave one of the best performances of the year in Holy Motors). 

DeLillo’s novel is a phantasmagoric story that explore’s the abnormal grieving process of Lauren Hartke, a performance artist whose husband has recently commited suicide. Described as a "ghost story" due to the engimatic presence of a figure that appears to be living in the upstairs room of her home, DeLillo’s complex tale provides the perfect vehicle for Huppert’s raw, visceral, and always slightly strange acting style. She will take on the leading role with her male counterparts in their respective parts in what sounds like material these actors were made for. With this storyline and this cast, one can almost envision myriad variations on the film now—lurking between the worlds of Michael Haneke, Leos Carax, and Cronenberg himself—which is truly a delight for the imagination.

Shooting is said to begin this summer and don’t worry, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. So here’s a video of interviews from 1983 on Videodrome to indulge in your Cronenberg passion for the day.

David Cronenberg: The Oscars Are “Bullshit”

Oh, how I love an angry old white dude, and David Cronenberg is no exception. Over the summer, you may remember, the director went on the attack against "superhero movies," particularly The Dark Knight Rises (remember that?): "I think people who are saying, you know, Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the fuck they’re talking about." Bless his heart! I love it. I love him. I’ve only seen, like, three of his movies, but I love him. So angry! Rich and angry people: my favorite. Anyway, last month, in an interview with Movieline, Ol’ Cronie announced that he’s got a new thing he hates: Oscar season.

You and me both, pal, but I imagine Cronenberg’s disdain for awards shows stems from the fact that nobody gives him any awards. (I just find them exhausting, even if there’s nothing better on this planet to live-tweet.) Of course, he claims that isn’t so:

The Blu-ray release of Cosmopolis is coming out in the heart of Oscar-campaign season. I get the sense it doesn’t bug you too much that this film isn’t being discussed more as a contender.
Yes. Every year I try to be as disconnected as possible. This year it’s been very easy because we haven’t been nominated for any awards. It’s not sour grapes, it’s not compensation; it’s a relief. It’s very easy to get caught up in it if you are nominated. The people who are releasing the movie get excited, they want you to do more, and you understand it because the awards can maybe get more people to see the film. This, on its face, is a good thing. However, it is all bullshit, it is all annoying and it is all very problematical. But it gives people stuff to write about, gives structure, we understand. But I won’t be watching any of the awards shows.

It’s not just showing up that night, there’s months of campaigning.
Oh, yes. I’ve talked with several people, one of whom was Denys Arcand, a French Canadian director who won the Best Foreign Language Oscar for The Barbarian Invasions — I know him well. He said he would never, ever do it again. He said it was a year, an incredibly intense year, and ultimately rather boring. Because he’s not doing anything creative at all, just selling.

I dunno, I thought a lot of the art-making process involved selling (as in, selling your idea to people so they will give you money to make it), but what do I know? Well, I do know this: I’d really, really, really like it if Cronenberg were to join Twitter and live-tweet the Oscars with me. I bet that dude hates Seth MacFarlane. 

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‘Cosmopolis’ Guarantees Some Huffy Walk-Outs

Maybe this is naked metropolitan bias, but I’d thought the audience for an art-house David Cronenberg flick at Lincoln Center would know what they were getting into. Not true! A good handful of moviegoers shelled out $13 for a ticket to Cosmopolis on Saturday night and ran for the hills halfway through. There are a multitude of factors to consider in such a decision.

First of all, the exquisite oddity of hearing dialogue by Don DeLillo, who authored the short novel on which the film was based, out loud. It sure doesn’t sound like how people talk, and unless you give yourself over to its strange, deadpan, techno-plastic cadences, it will ruin everything. If you accept this manner of speech, however, the script is actually quite funny, and people were laughing all over, even those who mentioned in front-lobby whispers that they hadn’t read the book.

They laughed, that is, until some outburst of INTENSE CRONENBERGIAN VIOLENCE. You had to know these were coming, right? Watch out, a dude gets stabbed in the eye. Repeatedly.

This is intercut with a lot of "action" set in the interior of a limo (the ultra-rich protagonist is attempting to get across town for a highly meaningful haircut on a day of apocalyptic traffic, to say nothing of his own self-destruction), meaning there’s not a lot to look at except Robert Pattinson’s forehead, which my wife kept pointing out regardless. Compound this with the weird and processed digital shots—rumor has it Croney will never shoot in film again—and you realize you might have done well to wait and watch on Netflix Streaming.

Still, you have a creepy, challenging, high-wire act of a film, one that moreover touches the third rail of data-saturated global capitalism like the a throbbing, painful nerve that it is. You may wail, as did a woman sitting behind me, “What is wrong with this guy?!” after every bit of erratic on-screen behavior—but at least you’re asking the right question.

David Cronenberg Hates Batman

Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, opens today following weeks of a post-cheating scandal media blitz that has blown up in its leading actor (and BlackBook cover boy) Robert Pattinson’s face. He’s hurting! He’s confused! People are forcing him to eat on camera! And everyone forgot about poor David Cronenberg, the beloved director behind cult hits like Scanners, Dead Ringers, Videodrome (and also the unfortunate A Dangerous Method, but we’ll let that one slide). What’s a critically acclaimed director to do in order to get people to pay attention to him? Well, bash Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, of course.

In an interview with Next Movie, Cronenberg is pretty frank when it comes to his feelings about the artistic merit of superhero movies, in which he finds absolutely nothing to gush over:

David, you’ve done drama and horror. Some fairly formidable directors have branched out into superhero movies pretty beautifully —is that something you would consider doing?
DC: I don’t think they are making them an elevated art form. I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don’t think it’s elevated. Christopher Nolan’s best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in American Cinematography Magazine, and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movie, to me, they’re mostly boring.

Do you think the subject matter prohibits the elevated art form?
DC: Absolutely. Anybody who works in the studio system has got 20 studio people sitting on his head at every moment, and they have no respect, and there’s no…it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. And obviously Nolan has been very successful. He’s got a lot of power, relatively speaking. But he doesn’t really have power.

So that’s a no.
DC: I would say that’s a no, you know. And the problem is you gotta… as I say, you can do some interesting, maybe unexpected things. And certainly, I’ve made the horror films and people say, "Can you make a horror film also an art film?" And I would say, "Yeah, I think you can."

But a superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Well, now my dreams of watching The Riddler’s head explode in David Cronenberg’s Batman’s Back have been DASHED AGAINST THE ROCKS. Friday mornings, man. What a bummer.