Rabid (1977)

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Rabid (1977)

Post  BoG on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:14 pm

What's Happening: Experimental surgery turns heroine into blood-drinking plague-carrier
Famous For: Cronenberg's second film; star Marilyn Chambers was 70s porn actress
Marilyn Chambers was quite famous at the time for Behind the Green Door, the first "mainstream" porn film (directed by the Mitchell Brothers, 1972). On one hand this seems a liability, but on the other hand, sexual adventurousness is one of Rabid's themes. Indeed, the only 70s horror film to address the free-love scene more cogently was Invasion of the Bee Girls. More than a few swingers meet a gruesome end in Rabid. Rose's new orifice is oral, anal, vaginal, and phallic at once; and its needle-tipped tongue even brings drug connotations into the mix. Still, to anyone who has seen Cronenberg's Shivers, Rabid is a disappointment. The characters are different but the concepts and situations are the same. Again we get botched medicine and a bodily infection/ mutation. Rabid lacks the humor of Shivers but offers no emotional or intellectual depth in compensation. Most scenes are a sequence of killings, with little intrigue. All things considered this movie was a step backwards for the great Cronenberg.
There are two things I like better in Rabid than in Shivers. First, the tail ending, which is more of a surprise. Second: the main character is victim and villain at once, forcing us to have mixed sympathies. Yet I wish that Rose had been made more aware of her situation. She scarcely knows what she is. Perhaps she should have been forced to justify her vampiric existence to herself in the way that Jeff Goldblum's character justifies his transformation in Cronenberg's remake of The Fly. Chambers is fine in her mostly-clothed role, but she returned to porn after this film.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 58778-58803). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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