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An emotionally disturbed woman materializes her rage as a swarm of sexless, murderous children that take vengeance on those who have wronged her.
Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar) is an emotionally disturbed woman whose repressed history of childhood abuse manifested itself as violence against her own daughter Candy (Cindy Hinds), leading her husband Frank (Art Hindle) to divorce her and take sole custody of the child. Now housed in the Somafree Institute under the cultish psychiatric care of Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed), Nola employs Raglan's "psychoplasmics" technique to externalize her suppressed rage in a hideous form: a swarm of sexless, murderous children that Nola sends after those she feels have wronged her. Shot in Toronto and Mississauga on a budget of $1.5 million, The Brood was Cronenberg's most sophisticated and expensive film to date, and also one of his most personal: Cronenberg wrote the screenplay following his divorce from his first wife, who had joined a cult and was battling with him for custody of their daughter. Finally garnering Cronenberg a hint of mainstream acceptance, The Brood also marked the director's first collaboration with composer Howard Shore, with whom he would go on to establish a longtime working relationship.