The second half of Grimm Up North’s recent David Cronenberg double bill was 1979’s The Brood. Creepier and less funny than Scanners, the first film on the bill, The Brood stars a late period Oliver Reed as a Psychotherapist who specialises in the field of ‘Psychoplasmics’, a method in which patients let go of suppressed emotions through physiological changes in their bodies. One of Dr. Raglan’s (Reed) patients is Nola (Samantha Eggar), the wife of Frank Carveth (Art Hindle). Frank is worried about his wife’s treatment at the hands of Dr. Raglan and begins to suspect something else is wrong when their young daughter returns from a visit covered in scratches and bruises. Frank is right to worry as an unwanted side effect of Nola’s treatment is the creation of The Brood, childlike monsters who feed off her negative thoughts, attacking and killing based on her emotions.
Unlike Scanners which I enjoyed all the way through, The Brood takes its time to get going. There are large swathes of the film where I was feeling a little bit bored by what was going on and I wasn’t sure where the film was going. What kept me interested was an early appearance of one of The Brood. The confusion about what it was and where it came from helped me to remain focussed throughout the less interesting moments before a final half hour which was full of excitement, action and terror.