chapter  9
Motherly and slatternly creatures: Spider
Pages 11

As much as Tony Soprano talks of his mother as ‘dead’ after he learns she put a hit out on him, David Cronenberg’s Spider (2002) takes this rejection of mother as monstrous/desired other to its matricidal ends. Much like Twin Peaks’ sexual brutality and The Sopranos’ daughter/mother proxy dalliances, Spider’s Dennis Cleg (a.k.a. Spider) is also held in thrall by the underlying incest archetype. This chapter dissects the incest imago as even more primal/ maternal, by looking at the unbearable tensions created in the coupling of Spider’s emerging sexuality and the uneasy desire he feels for his mother. As he reinvents childhood images, we are able to see this desire for and revulsion of mother-son union. Like Tony, Spider as a boy (Bradley Hall) constructs mother as a devouring force, but unlike Tony, it’s the overwhelming terror of sexuality that lies at the heart of his complex. While Tony’s inability to understand his incest/mother exposes his puer (eternal boy) aspect, Cronenberg’s Spider is a much more explicit example of this retardation.