I have always found David Cronenberg’s work fascinating, especially being a fan of his remake of ‘The Fly’ in 1986. As a result, I am now able to give a review of one of his earlier works, the 1977 film Rabid. This is an Arrow DVD released on February 16th, 2015.
Firstly the picture quality on this newly released DVD is first-rate, say for a few minor imperfections, maybe due to the age of the negative elements – and the colours are rich and blend in with the darkened sequences smoothly.
Rabid begins with a motorcycle crash involving the main character Rose, played by Marilyn Chambers. Due to the severe injuries she has sustained in the accident – she is rushed to Dr. Dan Keloid’s plastic surgery clinic in an attempt to save her life.
Unbeknown to Rose, Dr. Keloid and other doctors have been experimenting with human genetics and suffice to say problems occur after Rose’s life saving skin graft treatment is ended.
In a fit of violence ‘Rose’ escapes from the Clinic and the building terror begins. She starts preying on a number of victims in the outside world. Consequently, they meet a gruesome end with a small dose of gore thrown in.
But it’s not just about the gore, the sex and the blood. Rabid’s plot hinders on the dark sinister aspect of Rose’s decent into a depraved killer – who needs human blood to survive. Her method of killing is fastened under her armpit, which did make me wince.
Furthermore, the zombie aspect of the plot comes into play when Rose’s victims change into these un-dead monsters. They bring panic to the suburbs, and then next onto the streets of Montreal – and with this frightening aspect in mind – there are plenty of gut-wrenching surprises to keep the avid horror junkie hooked.
As an interesting side note, I noticed during one scene of the film the movie poster of the film Carrie. Ironically, Sissy Spacek was wanted for the lead part of Rose, but due to outside influences that never occurred.
With that aside, I personally thought David Cronenberg’s direction and use of camera shots in Rabid darkens the mood to the right degree. The atmosphere was chilling at times, even in spite of the age of the film. However, there are some tender moments, mainly because of the loneliness and isolation Rose feels due to her hideous affliction.
Subsequently the Authorities try every effort to contain this zombie epidemic, which is spreading throughout the city. They bring in an expert from England to advise on the situation. He wrestles with the fact that this savage mayhem is not being caused by the disease Rabies, as first thought, but is something far sinister. It is ungodly and inhuman and all unleashed by the main character Rose.
All in all this Rabid Arrow DVD release stands up reasonably well. It is sure not to disappoint anyone who remembers, and enjoys how ‘raw’ horror films were formerly made.