Before seeing David Cronenberg‘s Crash (’96) I’d never heard the term symphorophilia, an alleged condition in which sexual arousal results from staging or watching a tragedy, such as a fire or a traffic accident.

In the 24 years since I first laid eyes on this cold, strange, perverse film (and I’ve only seen it once) I’ve never once spoken or written or even joked about the term because no one in the real recognizable world is a symphorophiliac. Because it’s a ridiculous fucking affliction…make that absurd.

And yet Cronenberg’s Crash (which was made when James Spader was slender and had wavy blonde hair) is commonly regarded as a far more interesting and artistically accomplished effort that the other Crash — i.e., the one directed by Paul Haggis, and a winner of three Academy Awards including Best Picture.

A Criterion Bluray version pops on 12.1.20, or about ten days hence.