Rabid (film)

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Rabid
Rabid theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Cronenberg
Produced by John Dunning
Written by David Cronenberg
Starring Marilyn Chambers
Frank Moore
Joe Silver
Howard Ryshpan
Cinematography René Verzier
Edited by Jean LaFleur
Production
company
Dunning/Link/Reitman
Distributed by Cinépix Film Properties
New World Pictures
Release date
April 8, 1977
Running time
91 minutes
Country Canada
United States[1]
Language English

Rabid is a 1977 Canadian-American horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg. It features Marilyn Chambers in the lead role, supported by Frank Moore, Joe Silver and Howard Ryshpan.

Chambers plays a woman who, after being injured in a motorcycle accident and undergoing a surgical operation, develops an orifice under one of her armpits. The orifice hides a phallic stinger that she uses to feed on people's blood. Soon, those she feeds upon become infected, whose bite spreads the disease and soon causes massive chaos starting with Quebec and ending up in Montreal.

Plot[edit]

Rose and her boyfriend Hart get into a motorcycle accident in the Quebec countryside, caused by a van parked in the middle of the road, and then are sent to the nearby Keloid Clinic for Plastic Surgery. While Hart suffers a broken hand, a separated shoulder and a concussion, Rose is severely injured and burned by the incident. At the clinic, Dr. Dan Keloid decides to perform a radical new procedure on her, one which uses morphogenetically neutral grafts to her chest and abdomen in the hope that it will differentiate and replace the damaged skin and organs. One month later, Hart is released while Rose remains in a coma.

One night, Rose awakens from her coma and screams, prompting patient Lloyd Walsh to calm her down and hold her hand, but she causes a vague injury to him as she holds him. When asked, Lloyd cannot remember anything afterwards and the doctor doesn't know what caused the injury on his right arm; it is only known that his blood isn't clotting from the wound and he cannot feel anything on his right side. While Dr. Keloid transfers him to Montreal General Hospital for further evaluation, it is revealed that the doctor's experimental procedures on Rose have caused a mutation in her body that made her able to only subsist on human blood. As a result of this, a new organ appearing to be a red phallic stinger emerging from a small orifice has developed underneath Rose's armpit, which can pierce her victims and draw their blood. One night, Rose leaves the clinic to feed upon a nearby cow's blood (which she vomits from), and soon feeds on a drunken farmer. Unbeknownst to her, the farmer soon turns into a pale zombie-like monster and attacks a waitress at a nearby diner the next day.

The next day, Lloyd discharges himself from the clinic. While taking a taxi to the airport, he turns infected and, foaming at the mouth, attacks the driver. The car crashes into the freeway before a nearby truck accidentally totals them both. At the clinic, Dr. Keloid becomes infected by Rose's stinger and attacks from within, which causes panic. During this time, Rose secretly escapes from the hospital despite calling Hart to come to her aid, and hitchhikes rides from various people to Montreal. She infects one of the truck drivers, causing the driver to attack his colleague. Hart, while searching for Rose, meets up with police chief Claude LePointe and public health officials in talks about an upcoming epidemic. During this time, Hart witnesses an officer become infected and getting shot by uninfected police officers. He calls Rose's friend Mindy and asks her to keep Rose in her apartment if she appears until he can come over. Rose arrives in the city and stays in her apartment.

While Mindy watches a television broadcast detailing a new strain of rabies now all over Montreal, Rose goes to a sex cinema and infects a leering patron. Claude LePointe, while riding a limousine with local health officials, is attacked by two infected crewmen who use a jackhammer through the vehicle door and drag the driver out to feed on him. The other official and LePointe escape by driving in reverse. With the infection becoming worse in the city, Dr. Royce Gentry advises a shoot-to-kill policy to prevent future infections. Extreme martial law is declared within Montreal, and the doctor works on developing a cure. National Guard road blocks are set to check for infected people, and a convoy of NBC-suited soldiers ride into the city to assist the authorities with body disposal. While Murray is killed by his infected wife inside his house, Hart drives into the deserted city to search for Rose. An infected civilian jumps onto Hart's car before being shot, and the bio-warfare suited soldiers spray disinfectant on his car before permitting him to continue driving.

Mindy watches a report which says that a possible carrier of the infection may be immune and has been traced back to the Keloid Clinic. Rose walks into the room and feasts on Mindy. Hart finds Rose in the act and tries to reason with her about treatment, but she refuses to believe him and is in denial that she is responsible for the epidemic that has now claimed many people. He chases her in the apartment, but he is rendered unconscious and she infects a man waiting in the apartment lobby. When Hart awakens, Rose brings the newly infected man to his apartment and locks herself inside the room before calling Hart about her plan; she wants to test Hart's accusation and see if the man turns infected or not. While Hart frantically tells her to leave the apartment and hopelessly sits at the receiver, the infected man awakens and attacks Rose. The next morning, Rose's body is found by the bio-ware suited soldiers in an alleyway and they dump her body in the garbage truck, unaware that she is the carrier and possible antidote to the epidemic.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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 the film appears when the main character walks by a movie theater).[2] 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.[3]

Release[edit]

Rabid was released theatrically in the United States by New World Pictures in 1977.[4] 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.[5] The DVD itself was re-released again in a Special Edition version by E1 Entertainment in 2004.[6] All home video releases have since gone out of print. The film was released on dual format Blu-ray Disc/DVD by Arrow Video in the UK in February 16, 2015[7] and Scream Factory released the film on Blu-ray on November 22, 2016.

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of 14 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6/10.[8]

Remake[edit]

In July 2018, a remake of the film directed by the Soska sisters and starring Laura Vandervoort began production.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rabid". American Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Cronenberg, David (2004). "Rabid". Somerville House. 
  3. ^ Cronenberg, David (2004). Rabid (DVD). Somerville House. 
  4. ^ "Company Credits for Rabid". imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  5. ^ "Rabid: The Director's Series". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  6. ^ "Rabid: Special Edition". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  7. ^ "Arrow Video's "RABID" Blu". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Rabid (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  9. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 17, 2018). "'Code Black' Star Boards Remake of David Cronenberg's 'Rabid'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2018. 

External links[edit]