David Cronenberg sprang into public consciousness with a series of low-budget horror films that shocked and surprised audiences for their sheer audacity and intelligence. Unlike the former two filmmakers, Cronenberg has been able to avoid being pigeonholed into a single restrictive genre category. His works, which consistently explore the same themes, have the mark of a true auteur in the strictest sense of the word. Cronenberg's films have the unnerving ability to delve into society's collective unconscious and dredge up all of the perverse, suppressed desires of modern life. His world features grotesque deformities, hallucinatory couplings, and carnality unhinged from its corporeal moorings.
Born on March 15, 1943, in Toronto, Canada, Cronenberg was the son of a freelance journalist and a piano teacher. He was raised in a nurturing middle class family and wrote constantly as a child, showing a strong interest in science, particularly in botany and lepidopterology (the study of moths). In 1963, he entered the University of Toronto as an Honors Science student, though he quickly grew disenchanted and within a year switched to the Honors English Language and Literature program. During this time, Cronenberg was profoundly impressed by Winter Kept Us Warm (1966) by classmate David Secter. Though previously not especially interested in film, this student work piqued his interest, and soon he was hanging out at film camera rental houses where he taught himself the ins and outs of filmmaking. He made two no-budget 16mm films (Transfer and From the Drain), and -- inspired by the underground film scene in New York -- he founded the Toronto Film Co-op with Iain Ewing and Ivan Reitman. After a year traveling in Europe, Cronenberg returned to Canada and graduated at the top of his class in 1967.