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October 13, 2009


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Tom Russell

I've never been a fan of this particular Cronenberg film, but I will say right out that, yes, it is "the real CRASH", light-years beyond the Oscar winner in terms of acting, of directing, depth of feeling and of intellect, and of overall effect. It's not an experience I'd particularly relish going through again, but I'd certainly rather watch it than suffer through the Haggis a second time.


Actually, I'm in the habit of referring to Cronenberg's film as the ONLY "Crash."

Tony Dayoub

You mean there's another CRASH? I've heard Cronenberg never forgave Haggis for stealing that title for his film... urban legend?


I've never seen Haggis's "Crash," and I walked out of Cronenberg's (right at the car-wash scene, as I recall) and have never seen the ending. The problem for me was that because it was a studio film, or because the cast wouldn't do it, or because Cronenberg himself wasn't willing to go all the way, the movie was a half-measure. Anybody willing to direct an adaptation of Crash must be willing to make a porn movie with car crashes, and Cronenberg was either unwilling or unable to go full-on. I have thought for years that it should be re-attempted - my choice for director would be Michael Ninn.


I actually love "Crash", which has the distinction of also being the best Ballard adaptation. Not that that's a thick field of competition in the first place, alas. What I wouldn't give to see a Gaspar Noe "High Rise" or "Super-Cannes", or an Aronofsky "Crystal World".


From what I understand, he was upset about the title grab, but inordinately amused by the sudden bump in home video sales and rentals of said film.

Jeff McMahon

This is one of my absolute favorite Cronenberg films too!

Phil Freeman, your comment reminds me of what Cronenberg said about a faithful adaptation of Naked Lunch: that to do it properly would require a budget of $200 million, and it would then be banned by every country on Earth.

The Siren

I liked the movie a lot, although as I was walking out I said I didn't want to see it again and I haven't.

More important: where's my James Spader screen grab, huh? He was more beautiful than Unger at that point in his career. What happened to Unger anyway?


I loved the book but was never a fan of the film. It's hard to get past the images and the general mood I got from the book. The movie seemed so much slooooweeeeerrrrr too. But, yeah, I realize no one should really try to make a faithful adaptation. And even then it's all about interpretation anyway.

Account Deleted

@ TheSiren: She is still working, White Noise, Silent Hill, 88 Minutes. Perhaps she needs a new agent though...


Crash was a film that will always have a special place in my heart. I believe we all have special movie experiences that stand out from the rest, if not due to the film's quality so much as the circumstances. I watched Crash when I was about 12 years old, at midnight, having very sneakily snuck downstairs while my parents were asleep. I had rented it incognito, as I was forced to by my wonderful parents who were working in the they understood-I-loved-film-but-wouldn't-feel-comfortable-knowing-they-allowed-
me-to-watch-such-filth mode. It was midnight exactly, a dark still night, around Christmas time. The film starts and I immediately feel on edge, worried at every sound, 'Was that the house settling or a concerned parent wondering what's going on downstairs?' But soon I was into the slick cool wound of the film. I still always think of Elias Koteas' monologue before the James Dean re-enactment, how he draped and pulled himself over the car. And of course the leg wound, which would be the first topic of conversation at school the next day in the you'll-never-believe-what-I-fucking-saw mode. I remember thinking at the time that this was a mature Cronenberg film. I have no idea where the hell I picked that up, being I was only 12 and couldn't really throw my cinema-weight around in the slightest. I think it was because I was a fan of The Fly and that film, as remembered by a young boy, is all goopy, for lack of a better word. Gorey and weird but still you could follow it. Crash was its own world, its own deal, and weird and shocking as it may be it had something at the center of it that felt true. I still don't know what it was.


When Crash comes out on (region-free) blu-ray, that's the day I'll know I was right to invest in a player.

Just finished reading Ballard's wonderful autobiography, Miracles of Life. Interesting to learn that Vaughn (the 'hoodlum scientist' from Crash) was based on this guy:


Evans was a good friend of Ballard's, so it was pretty gutsy for the (as far as I know) uncomplicatedly heterosexual writer to put his alter ego into an explicitly gay sex scene with Vaughn...


There is another film version of Crash (sort of), made in 1971 and starring Ballard himself


trooper york

I just love when Roseanna Arquette started taking herself apart. What a hot piece of tuna.

trooper york

Oh sorry. Can you talk like that here?

Glenn Kenny

@ Trooper: You CAN (I'm a free-expression absolutist up to a point) but it might not earn you a whole lot of pals right off the bat.

trooper york

That's ok. I have enough friends.

Glad to hear you are an absolutist just like me.

Great blog you have here.

trooper york

Plus every village needs an idiot.

Is the position filled?

Bob Westal

She actually mentioned her affection for the Cronenberg film prior to that in the comments of one of my one one of my blog posts that got just a little contentious.


Joe Bowman

I feel terrible for laughing at that Rosanna Arquette comment.

The scene where she and James Spader go "car shopping" is one of my all-time favorites from Cronenberg.

Fuzzy Bastard

I still remember when the posters for "the other one" went up in the subway. My first thought---really, not kidding at all here, was "Hunh, they're doing a remake of Crash? That seems a little soon, but maybe someone thought it could be more commercial with Matt Dillon and Thadie Newton in the Spader/Hunter parts. Weird."


Someone should go through the novel and count how many times Ballard uses the word "junction". A lot, I think would be the total.


Also, I find it pretty hilarious that the DVD of CRASH includes both the NC-17 and R-Rated cuts. Who is the R-Rated cut for, exactly? For people who find a film about people who are sexually aroused by car crashes completely fascinating, but can't handle all the sex?


Bill> Ask and you shall receive. Here's a link to a concordance cross-referencing every word in Ballard's oeuvre.


Junction: 22. Junctions: 10.

Ain't the internet great?


Holy shit.

Bruce Reid

bill: "Who is the R-Rated cut for, exactly? For people who find a film about people who are sexually aroused by car crashes completely fascinating, but can't handle all the sex?"

As I recall, it was a contractual obligation for video release, and Cronenberg accepted the challenge just to see if he could come up with a redacted version that made any sense. And was rather pleased that he couldn't.


Well. Both my questions have been answered. Thanks, fellahs!

Dan Coyle

You know, I read the book having never read Ballard before to prepare for the movie, and loved it, but never got around to seeing the film.

Deborah Unger is one of those special weird kind of actresses who can make their death scene look sorta kinda hot.

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