The first film by director David Cronenberg, the black and white, hour-long feature Stereo is more self-consciously avant-garde, and less visceral, than his later work. Nevertheless, many of the usual Cronenberg concerns are present: a futuristic setting, bizarre scientific experimentation, and an obsessive exploration of perverse forms of sexuality. Stereo borrows the structure of an educational film, masquerading as a documentary record of an experiment performed by The Canadian Academy for Erotic Inquiry, under the guidance of Doctor Luther Stringfellow. (Indeed, the film is almost entirely silent, except for a series of voice-overs by the experimenters.) The project centers around a series of surgical techniques that are designed to create the ability for telepathic communication. The scientists are successful, and proceed to examine the interaction between the experimental subjects, especially the rise to dominance of one of the telepaths. As the study progresses, the researchers introduce the telepaths to various drugs, including aphrodisiacs, to increase the intensity of their bond and induce a state of "omnisexuality." When the telepaths begin to isolate themselves, however, it becomes clear that the experiment has had unforeseen side effects -- effects that ultimately lead to violence.
by Judd Blaise synopsis