Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Rabid" (1977, David Cronenberg)

I do not typically do big movie reviews here because, well, while I enjoy film it is not my area of expertise. I love Belle du Jour as well as Malibu Express. Not a lot of consistency there.

I watched 1977's Rabid this morning, staring the recently deceased Marilyn Chambers, five years and one film after Behind the Green Door. There were a few things that drew me in. I was always fascinated by the cover (they tend to use a similar image as above), I had never seen Marilyn in a straight movie, and there is the Cronenberg factor.

The plot? Basically a vampire-cum-zombie movie. Rose (Chambers) is involved in a motorcycle accident near an experimental plastic surgery facility. Due to serious burns, the doctors performed a radical/untested procedure which transforms her into a bloodthirsty monster. She cannot eat food, and rejects the IV nutrition at the hospital. Her victims are more zombie-like. As she passes the 'disease' they become mindless killers.

Any spoilers will be after the images.

All-in-all, it was a remarkably good movie for the time. It is similar to John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), not so much in the semi-zombie classification, but in that you could see what both men would do once you gave them a budget. The cinematography is very good, in my opinion, and Cronenberg never tries to do more than he's capable of. The special effects are minimal but effective, and save for a few areas, the story is cohesive (more in the spoiler area).

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Great shot here.


Feeding time.


Hmm... This looks like a good place to find a meal.

Did they really have popcorn in porn theatres in the '70s?

Subway zombie woman.

Had to include a panty shot. It's in my nature.


The only hole I really felt in the story was that the hospital that treated Rose never thought that their treatment was responsible, but it is possible (if not probable) that they would be in heavy denial. Also, the lead doctors were dead early on.

I liked that Rose died anonymously and no one found out she was the 'zero' infection. The idea that this will happen again if the surgery is performed on someone else leaves an unsettling sense of non-closure.


Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool said...

I saw this one night in the days before informercials when they would show movies until dawn and it freaked the hell out of me. It still is a touchstone of horror for me. Cronenberg is one messed up monkey. All his movies make me feel queasy. Thanks for reminding why I can't sleep again you bastard. LOL

Rev. Fred Phantom said...

I've been wanting to check this out again after the passing of Marilyn Chambers. It's been over 10 to maybe 15 years since I first saw it and only reason I wanted to see it the first time was because of Marilyn Chambers. I now need to head over to Netflix to queue up this baby.

Carl (ILHM) said...

I really enjoy this one as well, it was one of my later Cronenburg discoveries, but it is a very effective and original take on the vampire film that was a much needed deviation from the boring subgenre.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Calvin: glad I can creep out men as easily as I do women :-)

@Rev: It holds up pretty well. I have yet to do the Netflix thing. I may have to knuckle under.

@Carl: I like that she had just enough control to keep from killing her friends; also how she seemed to realize her victims were not like her after the mall incident with Mr. Fancy-boots (I should have had a picture of him too. Darn!).

Yum-Yum said...

I love the final shot of Marilyn in the snowy alleyway. You know, with the garbage truck and the stray dog. Anyway, the movie's very creepy. Plus, Santa buys it.

"Had to include a panty shot. It's in my nature."


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