This is one of those scenes - early Cronenberg is full of 'em - that are so sleazy and so gross-looking and just so completely unappealing in every discernible fashion that in the end they achieve a real sort of poetry. The actress really gives it her all in this scene and I kinda love her in a "this scene was ripped from a John Waters movie" kind of way. She just wants to do her laundry, ya know? She seems to be having a crappy sort of day, and sees some sludge streaked across the machines; she investigates - obviously unwisely but how was she to know what kind of movie she was in? - and before you can say "ring around the collar" she's forced to slap a rubbery sex-parasite onto her face and roll around in filth screaming that it burns, it burns! Sadness.
The especially sad thing about this for me is I'm fairly certain we don't ever see Laundry Lady in the film again (if I'm wrong, please correct me; I did some drifting in and out of consciousness watching this film), and that doesn't fit with the sex-parasite's M.O. at all - it's supposed to turn everybody into a sex-starved zombie. But does Laundry Lady get to play in the undead boink-fest? No, she just flops around on the floor in a pile of plastic bags and unwashed slippers and that's it. Not fair! (ETA - I am wrong; via here I see she does pop up for sexy-times later in the film! I barely remember this scene, so I must've been in the unconscious part of my viewing here... still, good for Laundry Lady! I don't remember how this plays out though... I imagine not well.)
Anyway, these are the performances that don't get awards, ya know? But they make cinema all the richer. Well, Laundry Lady, I hope you consider this an award. because I love what you're doin'. Laundry Lady's name is Nora Johnson and she was an author; along with her more established Hollywood multi-hyphenate father Nunnally Johnson (seen to the left there, and with Nora as a toddler) she co-wrote the screenplay for the Peter Sellers film The World of Henry Orient, which was based off of her own book. I have not seen this film or read this book but it's nice to see she had something else going on besides Cronenberg making her debase herself on a scummy basement floor with a plastic slug.
There. Now don't say I never learned ya nothing!
Previous Ways Not To Die: Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 -- Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye -- Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away -- Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door -- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue -- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!! -- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded -- Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare -- Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head