Review of Rabid (1977)

Moving picture, 91 minutes

David Cronenberg (writer-director).

It would take three hours to transport a woman caught under the flaming wreckage of her boyfriend’s motorcycle to the nearest proper hospital. She would die after thirty minutes. It seems fortunate that a privatized plastic surgery clinic is within line of sight of the terrible accident, but the only way they can save her is by transplanting some of her own skin and, in the process, using a new technique to revert that skin back into the vapid technobabble equivalent of stem cells. The woman wakes up with a monstrous urge and a new organ. Later, soldiers patrol Montreal from atop garbage trucks repurposed to collect the bodies of an epidemic. Is it rabies, or some pathological mania?

Morbid sexualization, though less fulfilling to its victims than in The Parasite Murders (1975), and therefore more conventional. Perhaps unique in seriously predicating horror upon hugs.

I didn’t know the antagonist was played by a major porn star until after I saw it, but I noticed she couldn’t act out the important monster/innocent duality for shit. The genesis and concluding climax are also crap. One reason why the film as a whole is still very amusing has to do with my remembering a video cover (depicting only the first female victim) back when horror material could produce a genuine fear response in my childhood self. Those weren’t the days.

moving picture fiction