Kicking off our 31-day Halloween horror movie countdown with a Canadian Classic, David Cronenberg‘s 1977 film RABID! When experimental surgery leaves a Montreal motorcyclist (legendary porn-star Marilyn Chambers!) with a bloodsucking appendage in her armpit, she develops an insatiable thirst for human blood leaving a trail of zombie-like infections wherever she goes. Part vampire flick, part-zombie horror, this one came hot off the heels of Cronenberg’s first feature, Shivers, and sees the director beginning to find his signature style. “It’s painted on a bigger canvas than Shivers,” Cronenberg said in an interview included on the incredible restoration Blu-Ray of Rabid. “There are many similarities, because it also deals with a disease which spreads from person to person, and it made the people it infected quite deranged.”
While not a masterpiece by any means, the key themes of sex, depravity, body horror and science run amok that pepper Cronenberg’s work are all here. The classic 1970’s sleaze of Montreal oozes out of every shot, and surprisingly well-staged scenes of panic defy the films meagre budget. With a lurid, grind house look, this one really shines with recent restorations. Produced by schlock 70s powerhouse Cinepix, Rabid is itself a turning point for not only B-movie horror (few directors brought the panache of Cronenberg to such standard zombie-like fare) but for Canadian film itself, as 80s comedy legend Ivan Reitman himself produced this one to a solid success for it’s minuscule budget, propelling Cronenberg to enough recognition to leap to The Brood, Scanners and of course, Videorome within the next 5 years. With some great scenes of viral panic and goofy gore, unbeatable Montreal haircuts and of course, some kitschy 70s nudity, this one is a great watch for Canadian film fans, Horror heads and Cronenberg Stans alike.
Check the trailer below and add this one to your Shudder watchlists! ?