Rabid (Horror) 1977 [Movie/Review]


Year: 1977
Genre: Horror/Body Horror
Director: David Cronenberg
Original Title: –
Source: Blu-Ray (Arrow)

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I love that Mr. Cronenberg had the balls to hire Marilyn
Chambers after she had made porno movies before this.

In Camelford, while swinging his van across a narrow road to make a u-turn, a driver stalls the vehicle that does not restart. Hart Read is driving his motorcycle with his girlfriend Rose and he drives off the road to avoid the collision. Hart suffers minor injuries while Rosie is injured and burned by the flames when the motorcycle explodes. The ambulance from the nearby Keloid Clinic for Plastic Surgery brings the couple and Rose, who is in coma, is submitted to an emergency surgery and to an experimental plastic-surgery technique by Dr. Dan Keloid to retrieve her skin in the chest and abdomen. Hart is discharged but Rose stays in coma in the intensive care unit (ICU) to recover. Out of the blue, Rose awakens from her coma one month later and screams. A nurse helps her but is wounded by her and then he cannot remember what has happened. He is sent to a hospital in Montreal while Rose realizes that she needs to feed with blood. However her victims become zombie-like creatures...

I love David Cronenberg, he has a cold touch to his movies without any tendencies to force comedy elements into them that I love. To me, he’s extremely underrated and should be mentioned in the same breath as John Carpenter, Tobe Hoper and Wes Craven, but never is. Could it be because it lack that comedy element that seems to attract a lot? Is it that he doesn’t care about happy endings or is it just as simple that he’s not American, but Canadian?

I like this movie a lot, although parts are kind of the same thing happening over and over again. Get bitten, bits the next person, but halfway through we get some more variation. I love Marilyn Chambers, I think she’s great in this role and ofcourse very pretty. I love that Mr. Cronenberg had the balls to hire her after she had made porno movies before this, a chance Hollywood didn’t get her.

Effectwise, you see that it’s a low-budget movie, but to me makes up for it that it didn’t go in the “zombie” direction, but made it a version of rabies infection instead, so they kind of get away with just foam around the mouth and some green liquid.

Marilyn Chambers has several topless scenes (I’m not complaining) and we also get a Santa Claus assistent in a shopping mall that has the shortest dress ever … not even close to being family friendly 🙂

The movie was filmed in and around Monreal, Quebec, Canada. It was released on the 8th of April 1977 in the US and Canada and then later the same year in Europe. It was given a home video release on VHS cassette by Warner Home Video in 1983. The film was later re-released on DVD by New Concorde Home Entertainment in 2000. The film was released on dual format Blu-ray Disc/DVD by Arrow Video in the UK on February 16, 2015 and Scream Factory released the film on Blu-ray on November 22, 2016.

Cronenberg stated that he wanted to cast Sissy Spacek in the film lead, but the studio vetoed his choice because of her accent. Spacek’s film Carrie was released during this film’s production and proved to be a massive hit (and a movie poster for Carrie appears in Rabid when the main character walks by a movie theater). The director says that the idea of casting Chambers came from executive producer Ivan Reitman, who had heard that Chambers was looking for a mainstream role. Reitman felt that it would be easier to market the film in different territories if the well-known porn star portrayed the main character. Cronenberg stated that Chambers put in a lot of hard work on the film and that he was impressed with her. Cronenberg further states he had not seen Chambers’ most well-known film, Behind the Green Door, prior to casting her.

The film is one of the highest-grossing Canadian films of all-time.

I watched this on the Arrow UK release from 2015 and both picture and audio quality are great. I also enjoy the interview with Mr. Cronenberg and a documentary about him, but I would have loved to see an interview with Marilyn Chambers. She passed away in 2009, so I get way it’s not here.

The Film
Audio Commentary with writer / director David Cronenberg
Audio Commentary with critic William Beard
Isolated Music and Effects Track
– director David Cronenberg (20:35)
– producer Ivan Reitman (12:28)
– producer Don Carmody (15:36)
– effects artist Joe Blasco (3:11)
– ‘The Directors: The Films of David Cronenberg” (1999) (59:04)
– “Raw, Rough and Rabid: The Lacerating Legacy of Cinépix” (2015) (15:04)
Promotional Gallery
Theatrical Trailer (2:09)

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