The Brood (1979)

the brood movie poster
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Gross-out ending

A little under developed...more room for scares

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Brood

Studio: New World Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movies

Release Date(s): May 25, 1979

MPAA Rating: R

the brood 1979 ending oliver reed

Don’t you hate it when little monsters attack?

Frank Carveth (Art Hindle) and his wife Nola (Samantha Eggar) are going through a rough patch, and Nola has decided to seek help from an experimental psychiatrist named Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed). When Frank’s daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds) comes home with scratches and bruises, Frank starts to worry about her safety.  When Nola’s mother become the victim of a brutal murder, the killer’s identity leads to a shocking discovery.  Raglan’s experiments might be a success…and that is worse than if they hadn’t worked!

Written and directed by David Cronenberg, The Brood is a body horror picture.  The film was released to relatively poor reviews but gained a cult following over the years (and better reviews in turn).  The Brood received a remastered Criterion release (Criterion #777).

The Brood was one of those pictures that I saw imagery from and wanted to see. Evil kids just always are my favorite, and when I saw pictures of The Brood, I figured I was in for a typical killer kid picture…as with most of Cronenberg’s early films, assuming is a mistake.  Due to some of the aspects of the story, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the review.

the brood ending attack cindy hinds

Mom….your dirty clone thing is touching me!

Cronenberg likes to experiment in his films, it would have been simple to make a movie about horrific kids, but Cronenberg decided to have a psychological tie.  The movie looks at psychoplasmics.  It is a made-up term that does have some basis in treatment techniques used in Gestalt therapy practices.  In the movie, the characters are supposed to manifest their guilt, fears, and horrors…this results in the creepy brood kids that grow right out of Nola’s body (a manifestation of her own childhood) leading to one of the grossest cinematic scenes with Nola tearing open a sac on her body and licking clean the creature that comes out of it…it remains shocking and disgusting to this day (you won’t forget it).  Cronenberg pairs this with a child custody story that stemmed from his real life experiences during the writing of the script.

the brood 1979 birth scene samantha eggar

Honey…you might want to have that checked out.

Part of The Brood‘s success can be put in the hands of the actors that take a B-Movie to another level. Oliver Reed started in small Hammer movies, became a success, then sunk back to lower tiered movies. Both Hindle and Eggar also give nice turns as a family at war, and Cindy Hinds seems genuinely terrified by what is going on around her.

The Brood does have some great visuals surrounding the kids, and Cronenberg knows how to build the fear.  While his previous films like Rabid and Shivers were more horrifying on a larger scale, The Brood feels more intimate and contains more jumps than some of his other films…it is about the gross-out, but it also is a true horror movie.

The Brood is a memorable film.  It has a nice score, looks great, and has a good cast.  This doesn’t always happen with low-budget horror.  I love Cronenberg’s early raw work and The Brood is no different.  If you want a different type of horror movie, seek out The Brood…it is worth it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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