The Brood

THE BROODCanada-1979


Written and Directed by David Cronenberg


Oliver Reed as Dr. Hal Raglan

Samantha Eggar as Nola Carveth

Art Hindle as Frank Carveth

Cindy Hinds as Candice Carveth

Also starring

Henry Beckman

Nuala Fitzgerald

Nicholas Campbell

Susan Hogan

The Brood is a film directed by David Cronenberg that once again exposes the monster within us and not the other way around. Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar) is the estranged wife of Frank Carveth (Art Hindle), and the mother of Candice Carveth (Cindy Hinds). She is a patient of the psychotherapist Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) and is undergoing a new form of therapy called ‘psychoplasmics’. The therapy encourages patients to go all the way with their negative emotions and this in turn causes their bodies to react and change as well. One with abandonment issues develops welts all over his chest and back. Another develops a lymphatic cancer because of his own self loathing.

Nola, on the other hand, is Dr, Raglans’ star patient due to the fact that when she becomes angry either consciously or sub-consciously she gives birth (parthenogenetically) to strange mutated children (the titular Brood). These children are the manifestation of her anger and attack the people that her rage is directed towards. Frank notices bruises on Candice’ back and believes that Nola did this to her during a visitation. He tries to have her barred from seeing Candice and this leads to the Brood lashing out at Nola’s parents as well as a teacher at Candice’ school whom Frank befriends. The Brood kidnaps Candice and brings her back to the institute that Nola is housed in. Frank confronts Nola and must make the choice to stop her to keep the creatures from harming their daughter. The film is not too gory but there is one scene in particular that will probably turn a few stomachs.

I found Samantha Eggar to be a good choice for the part of Nola. She is a very beautiful woman and this beauty adds a new dimension to Nola’s angrier moments that I don’t feel would have been achieved otherwise. Oliver Reed has been accused of being a ‘scenery chewer’ but I felt that he was rather subdued here. I don’t know very much about Art Hindle but I feel that he was credible in the role of Frank Carveth. Cindy Hinds was good as Candice Carveth and did not annoy me the way a lot of child actors tend to do. All in all I enjoyed the film and understand that a remake is in the works for 2013.

David Cronenberg has said that he got the idea for the film while going through a rough custody battle and divorce with his wife Margaret Hindson. He said that Nola possesses some of the same characteristics of those of his ex-wife. The film is his third horror film after Shivers and Rabid.


David Cronenberg wrote the film following the tumultuous divorce and child-custody battle he waged against Margaret Hindson. Cronenberg also said that Samantha Eggar’s character, Nola Carveth, possessed some of the characteristics of his ex-wife.