Rabid

Film Review by Scott McKellar | 30 Jan 2015
  • Rabid
Film title: Rabid
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Joe Silver, Marilyn Chambers, Terence Ross, Gary McKeehan, Frank Moore, Susan Roman, Howard Ryspan, J. Roger Periard, Lynne Deragon, Victor Deay, Terry Schonblum, Julie Anna, Robert O'Ree, Greg Von Riel, Patricia Gage
Release date: 2 Feb
Certificate: 18

After the shock tactics of Shivers, Cronenberg’s next venture into body horror is more subdued, but holds up surprisingly well. When experimental surgery endows a young woman with a vampiric phallus in her armpit, she unwittingly spreads a deadly form of rabies across Montreal, turning its victims into savage rage zombies.

Porn star Marilyn Chambers is terrific value as the reluctant predator, a role Cronenberg intended for Sissy Spacek, and her casting fits a pleasingly subversive undertone. While the story ultimately resists a feminist reading, many of her victims are slimeballs who get what they deserve.

Despite some very dated make-up, the rabid attacks produce some memorable and shocking moments, notably when a mall Santa is machine-gunned down in front of screaming children. With that and an unforgettably grim ending, this welcome release from Arrow could be just what you need after Christmas. [Scott McKellar]