David Cronenberg’s Movies, Ranked: From ‘Crimes of the Future’ to ‘The Fly’

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Director David Cronenberg attends the "A Dangerous Method" premiere during the 68th Venice Film Festivalat Palazzo del Cinema on September 2, 2011 in Venice, Italy.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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David Cronenberg turns 80 on March 15, and for 54 (and counting) of those years, he’s been entertaining audiences as a storyteller, visualist and sometime actor. He’s credited with being one of the inventors of “body horror,” but the organ he’s stimulated the most consistently is his viewers’ minds — with concepts that are hypnotic, frightening, erotic, disturbing, prescient and generally provocative, often at the same time. Where many filmmakers astutely capture the prevailing feelings of the present, Cronenberg’s creativity anticipates a limitless but not always optimistic future where humankind and the technology it has created become increasingly intertwined, then filters those ideas through riveting, pulpy narratives that reinvent genre tropes as nimbly as his characters do their bodies.

This endless fountain of imagination has produced some of the best and most indelible movies of the last five decades — and even when the total package hasn’t endured, there’s almost always an idea or an image that sticks in the mind’s eye, if not lodged itself in the intellectual, artistic or cultural canon. To celebrate his incalculable effect on filmmaking, genre storytelling and popular culture itself, Variety ranks the films of David Cronenberg.