Cronenberg films always have a transmutation scene which the protagonist becomes something else, a superior flesh. According to Linda Williams, these transmutations feminise the character while they are changing (1999, p.37). For instance while Renn is watching Brian O’Blivion’s tape, an opening like a scar is created in his stomach and “Renn prods at his new opening with his gun, penetrates himself with the barrel, then watches as the vagina becomes a mouth and swallows the gun” (Williams 1999). These transmutations and body changes reminds the audience the act of sex, although they are not even erotic scenes. Another example, gamepod in eXistenZ connects human body through an organic phallus-like cable and to do this people need to have a bioport which is an opening on their backs. Although this does not seem very sexual, Cronenberg makes it sexual. In a scene where Allegra and Ted in the game, they buy another game. This new game does not connect to the bioport, it goes inside the body and surprisingly it almost looks like the parasite in the Shivers, and pretty soon audience understands that it does the same thing. After they connect the gamepod, they start to kiss and have sex. While doing that, Ted licks Allegra’s bioport like performing an oral sex, which is apparently the new sexual organ. As Ludlow says (2012, p.45) “nearly anything can and will be sexualized by Cronenberg”. (watch the video below)
Sex is a reproductive process which combines and mixes two people’s genes into a new one (Gowaty 2013). So probably this is the reason why Cronenberg sexualizes anything. In his films technology and human flesh or viruses-dna and human flesh combine and create a new organism. This is what sex do, combine man and women’s genes to create a baby human, not much different than the new flesh in Videodrome or sex driven zombies in Shivers. A new creature wants to reproduce, probably that is the main motive of his characters’. In Shivers, there is a note on a fridge which can be seen visibly that says: “Sex is the invention of venereal disease” (Shivers 1975) The scientist and Cronenberg obviously thinks that sex helps a disease to spread around the world. We can see that point of view also in The Fly, Brundelfly does not want Veronica to have an abortion, he wants to reproduce.
Sex is also thought as primitive need which comes from animal side of humankind. That is why a fly gene and a simple parasite changes human into a sex addict. But then Videodrome or eXistenZ does not have a connection with primitive needs, but there is an explanation. In Videodrome Bianca says the cassette does not have information, the brain creates the hallucination, message and tone. Considering this, hallucination comes from Renn’s unconscious mind which is highly sexual and violent. This theory is coherent with Sigmund Freud’s claim about unconscious. He claims that human behaviours are guided by libido and aggression (Smith 2008). So also Shivers and The Fly can be thought as projection of unconscious. When their brain stops working properly, unconscious mind takes place. The scientist in Shivers (1975) claims “man is an animal that thinks too much. An over-rational animal has lost touch with body and its instincts.” Cronenberg has written the screenplay, so it can be easily thought that these are Cronenberg’s ideas which he tells almost all his films. He plays with the mind and body of human and explores the other side which people tend to forget.
In terms of film genre, horror have a strong relationship with sex. According to Browning “Both horror and pornography are about arousal, more specifically provoking fear and a sexual response respectively, and are the two prime genres that speak about and through the body” (2007, p.58).
So, horror genre also tells stories about unconscious, it reveals the repressed desires. Sex or erotic visuals in Cronenberg films can be seen as his interest and examination on these subjects to understand (or show the audience) the new flesh.