Stereo (1969 film)

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Stereo+Crimes of Future.jpg
DVD Cover for Stereo and Crimes of the Future
Directed byDavid Cronenberg
Produced byDavid Cronenberg
Written byDavid Cronenberg
StarringRonald Mlodzik
Jack Messinger
Iain Ewing
Clara Mayer
Paul Mulholland
Arlene Mlodzik
Glenn McCauley
CinematographyDavid Cronenberg
Edited byDavid Cronenberg
Distributed byFilm Canada Presentations
Release date
  • 23 June 1969 (1969-06-23)
Running time
65 minutes

Stereo is a 1969 Canadian film directed, written, produced, shot, and edited by David Cronenberg in his feature film debut.[1] It stars Ronald Mlodzik, who also appears in Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future, Shivers and Rabid. It was Cronenberg's first feature-length effort, following his two short films, Transfer and From the Drain. It is a brief feature film, with a running time of a little over one hour.

The film has a 60% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


The film purports to be part of a "mosaic" of educational resources by the Canadian Academy of Erotic Enquiry. It documents an experiment by the unseen Dr. Luther Stringfellow. A young man (Ronald Mlodzik) in a black cloak is seen arriving at the Academy, where he joins a group of young volunteers who are being endowed with telepathic abilities which they are encouraged to develop through sexual exploration. It is hoped that telepathic groups, bonded in polymorphous sexual relationships, will form a socially stabilising replacement for the "obsolescent family unit". One girl develops a secondary personality in order to cope with her new state of consciousness, which gradually ousts her original personality. As the volunteers' abilities develop, the experimenters find themselves increasingly unable to control the progress of the experiment. They decide to separate the telepaths, which results in two suicides. The final sequence shows the young woman who developed an extra personality wearing the black cloak.


  • Ronald Mlodzik (credited as Ron Mlodzik)
  • Jack Messinger
  • Paul Mulholland
  • Iain Ewing
  • Arlene Mlodzik
  • Clara Mayer
  • Glenn McCauley


The film was shot in black and white, and silent because the Bolex camera Cronenberg was using made too much noise. A commentary, purportedly by various followers of Stringfellow's theories, and parodying scientific and metaphysical jargon, was added later. The film was shot at Scarborough College (University of Toronto).


The film embodies several themes now common within Cronenberg's body of work. The exploration (voluntary or otherwise) of new states of consciousness via sexual experimentation is a major theme in Shivers, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, M. Butterfly and Crash. The idea of telepathy induced by an unknown scientist recurs in Scanners, as does the image of one tormented telepath who uses an electric drill to pierce his own forehead in what Stereo's commentary refers to as "an act of considerable symbolic significance".

Home video[edit]

The film has been included as a special feature in multiple releases of other Cronenberg films, including in standard definition on Blue Underground's Blu-ray release of Fast Company,[2] in high definition on Criterion release of Scanners[3] and also in high definition on a bonus disc in Arrow Video's UK Blu-ray release of Videodrome,[4] The bonus disc from Videodrome was later released on its own as David Cronenberg's Early Works.[5]


  1. ^ "Stereo". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Fast Company (Blu-ray)". DVDtalk. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  3. ^ "Scanners (Blu-ray)". DVDtalk. July 18, 2014. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  4. ^ "Videodrome UK Blu-ray Release Detailed". June 20, 2015. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  5. ^ "Upcoming Arrow Video Blu-ray Releases". May 6, 2016. Retrieved 2018-04-19.

External links[edit]