Before They Were Stars: David Cronenberg Directs “From the Drain”

To celebrate David Cronenberg’s birthday today, here is a very rare piece of Cronenberg obscurity. This is a 1967 black-and-white short film called From the Drain, which Cronenberg made when he was still in film school. As you can imagine, it’s quite bizarre and involves two war veterans in a mental institution sitting in a bathtub talking to each other. Would it surprise you if I said that one of them is eventually strangled by a vine that pops out of the drain? Quite frankly, I think the short is borderline unwatchable, but Cronenberg completists will probably want to give it a look.

I’d also like to take this moment to share my own personal David Cronenberg anecdote. Believe it or not, he once paid a visit to the Blockbuster Video I used to work at in my hometown of Orangeville, Ontario. Unfortunately, I wasn’t working that day, but you’ll never guess what Mr. Cronenberg rented. Click below to find out!

Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Not surprisingly, the employee who served Mr. Cronenberg asked him why he felt compelled to rent Adventures in Babysitting. Cronenberg’s answer was that he was thinking of casting Elisabeth Shue in his next film and wanted to watch a bunch of her movies in order to scout her. Turns out his next film was Existenz, so I can only assume that she was considered for the role of Allegra Geller, which eventually went to Jennifer Jason Leigh. I guess Elisabeth Shue’s lip synching montage just didn’t leave a big enough impression.

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