Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rabid (1977)

I'm not going to go on about director David Cronenberg, since everyone else has. So let's get on with the review.

Rose (late adult film star Marylin Chambers) ends up in a nasty motorcycle accident. Fortunately for her, she has a surgery performed on her that saves her life. Unfortunately for her, she's in a horror movie, so it was an experimental surgery. Said operation has left her with a parasitic growth on her armpit (no, really) that has caused her to develop a thirst for human blood. Also, her victims become rabid with a form of murderous rage, and the infection is spreading...

Before I go on to praise "Rabid", I will have to mention that it's not Cronenberg's finest achievements, and that if it does have a major flaw, it's the performances (save for Chambers-more on her in a moment.) Nobody else is really convincing or developed well enough. Particularly weak is Frank Moore as Hart Reed, who just comes off as really awkward.

Apart from that, "Rabid" is still a must see for Cronenberg fans. Chambers actually pulls off a fine performance that's a great mix between the predatory and the sympathetic. It's also a grim little offering that from the opening to it's nihilistic conclusion portrays a world ravaged by disease and murder without any hope or safety. There's also the trademark Cronenberg bursts of grisly violence and sexual body horror, and though it doesn't have the same impact of "Shivers" and "Videodrome", there's still plenty of the new flesh to celebrate. In particular is the orifice that hides the parasite-it looks very sexual, and is an effective precursor to what the director would offer in the future. Also, while it's not as explicit about it as "Shivers" or "Crash" was, the film offers a vision of an erotic apocalypse that's as dark as it is almost liberating at times, with Rose walking around, mostly attacking male victims like a sexual Praying Mantis.

I could go on and on about it's themes, but anyways, "Rabid" is a must for fans of Cronenberg's work, and Canadian horror in general.

Rating: 8/10

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