Rabid

"Very Good"

Rabid Review


David Cronenberg is infamous for keeping an audience uncomfortable. His creative knack generally focuses on the alien forces within a character that separate them from their environment, with said special qualities usually generated by some sort of naïve societal push towards technology. Such is the case with eXistenZ, with its reliance on creepy looking, pulsating pods to Seth Brundle accidentally turning himself into a half-human, half-insect.

It's a theme that runs as far back in his work as 1977 with Rabid. Rose (Marilyn Chambers) and her boyfriend Hart (Frank Moore) get into a motorcycle accident not far from a hospital that mostly functions as a plastic surgery ward. Though Dr. Dan Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) is seen refusing to become the "Colonel Sanders of plastic surgery" as his business partner would like to achieve, Rose's predicament does allow him to experiment with a new method of grafting skin, which he feels is the only way to save her life. He is enthused to advance medicine for the sake of humanity, and his intentions are honorable, but the result is that he creates a variation on rabies that becomes an epidemic.

As Rose is recuperating, the grafted skin has mutated within her body to produce a bloody sticker that emerges from her armpit. She rests in the hospital bed by day, seemingly in a coma while Hart waits for news, but by night she hugs a victim tight, the protrusion giving her access to the innocent's blood that now keeps her alive. Hours after passing out from the experience, the victim becomes a predator as well.

Despite the usage of horror techniques, Rabid thankfully never subscribes to a slasher style of storytelling. Though people are infected and the disease spreads at a rapid rate, Cronenberg stays intent on a larger community picture. The subplot of medical and political officials attempting to contain and eradicate the problem is just as important as Rose's predicament, and portrayed with intelligence instead of cheesy bureaucracy.

But Rose's journey of realizing that she is partially to blame takes a little too long to develop. It seems impossible, and therefore becomes a bit straining on attention, that after hearing all of the news coverage she never equates her habits as part of the problem because she acknowledges the situation enough not to touch people she knows and cares about.

Though some of the narrative structure drags in an effort to create more of an entire story than a simple horror flick, Rabid is able to sustain an entertaining tension throughout. It does not try to wrap up a quick happy ending because one couldn't possibly exist. Even given that a larger community response is in focus, there is no satirizing of characters, nor a sense that anyone is paying for their wrong doings. Rabid remains respectfully insistent on concern for the welfare of all in the face of an uncontrollable dilemma, which forces you to invest in wanting a solution for the crisis instead of just saving a few good souls.

Cronenberg had directed a bunch of television shows before this, but Rabid was only his fifth feature length film. It definitely shows the early signs of the talent of someone who has become renowned for creating thought-provoking material without any regard for pandering to viewers or following norms.



Rabid

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th April 1977

Budget: $513 thousand

Distributed by: New Concorde Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Rose, as Hart Read, as Murray Cypher, as Dr. Dan Keloid, as Dr. Roxanne Keloid, as Mindy Kent, Roger Periard as Lloyd Walsh, Lynne Deragon as Nurse Louise, Terri Hanauer as Judy Glasberg, Victor Désy as Claude LaPointe, Miguel Fernandes as Man in Cinema, Robert O'Ree as Police Sergeant, as Cop at Clinic, Una Kay as Jackie, Robert A. Silverman as Man in Hospital, Riva Spier as Cecile

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.