Graphic of intestines oozing from a television

Clips & Rarities: Pierce

One page treatment for a project called Pierce, which has never been made. Early Drafts and Unrealised Projects.
Typewritten paper with some annotations
Various dates
David Cronenberg Collection, TIFF Film Reference Library


PIERCE is the story of Val Crostic, a sexual psychopath who murders women. Crostic’s entire life revolves around his obsessive fear of women, a fear which expresses itself in a particular bizarre manner. During the course of a normal day, Crostic works for the Delmar Surgical Corporation as a chief commercial artist, specializing in layouts for catalogues of surgical instruments. Crostic manages reasonably well to keep his [illegible] “disturbance” under control in public, although even the most ordinary day is a psychic roller-coaster ride for him.

But when Crostic’s madness has built up enough pressure to demand release, he becomes Dr. Ben Pierce, gynecologist extraordinaire. As Dr. Pierce, Crostic begins to commit a series of hideous murders which involve his taking the place of legitimate gyneclologists [sic] and “examining” the patients who unwittingly place themselves in his hands. Thus, for example, the first scene of the movie is a model for Pierce’s modus operandi: a mother brings her daughter to the trusted family gynecologist. When they arrive, they find instead a stranger who introduces himself as Dr. Pierce. Pierce says that

(handwritten: Pierce believes he is only getting to understand women, [illegible] surgically)

As the pattern of Pierce’s (handwritten: Crostic’s) murders reveals itself, a particularly dangerous adversary emerges to challenge Pierce: Alexandr a Towne. Alex Towne is an opportunistic host of the WOMEN IN CHAINS, tv show which a the sensationalistic weekly TV show tv show for women. Towne sess [sic] the Dr. Pierce murders as symptomatic of western society’s hatred of women, and also as a potential booster for her show’s ratings. Her involvement quickly deepens to the point where she actively involved in attempting to uncover the identity of the elusive Dr. Pierce. Fascinated by her (handwritten: televised) attempts to analysis Pierce (handwritten: Which C watches [illegible] the murderous [illegible]) psychological makeup, C contacts Alex and becomes her friend. When by chance he is forced to go underground, Pierce finds a strange ally in the person of Del fen Marshall, president of the Delmar Surgical co. for which Val Crostic works. Marshall finds in Crostic a vehicle for expressing the unspeakable urges which he himself could never quite bring himself to satisfy, Thus Marshall, the kind façade of while pretending to help Crostic resolve his psychological conflicts and so end his killing spree, is in fact encouraging (handwritten: [illegible]) Crostic on to more elaborate and vicious crimesX [sic] of passion. Marshall goes so far as to set Pierce up as a quasi-legitimate gynecologist complete Thus the scene is set for a series of spectacular with legal documents and offices so that they can plumb the depths of sexual violence without interference. The climax reaches its peaks with Alexandra Towne’s arrival Dr. Pierce’s office The movie reaches its climax when Marshall sets up Alex Towne to be murdered by Crostic, who by this time believes Alex to be the only woman he can relate to.

PIERCE PIERCE is designed as a sophisticated psychological thriller with enough inventiveness and surprise to raise it above the run of the mill