David Paul Cronenberg, OC, FRSC (born March 15, 1943) is a Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional actor. He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre. This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection. In his films, the psychological is typically intertwined with the physical. In the first half of his career, he explored these themes mostly through horror and science fiction, although his work has since expanded beyond these genres.
Cronenberg was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he currently lives. He is the son of Esther (née Sumberg), a musician, and Milton Cronenberg, a writer and editor. He was raised in a middle-class secular Jewish family, and remained an atheist. Cronenberg attended Harbord Collegiate Institute, later graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in literature, having switched from science. He has cited William S. Burroughs and Vladimir Nabokov as influences.
After two short sketch films and two short art-house features (the black and white Stereo and the colour Crimes of the Future) Cronenberg went into partnership with Ivan Reitman. The Canadian government provided financing for Cronenberg's films through the 1970s. Cronenberg alternated his signature "body horror" films such as Shivers with projects reflecting his interest in car racing and bike gangs. Rabid exploited the unexpected acting talents of porn queen Marilyn Chambers (Cronenberg's first choice was a young, then-unknown Sissy Spacek). Rabid was a breakthrough with international distributors and his next two horror features gained stronger support.