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Rabid  (DVD)


Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver, Susan Roman, J Roger Periard, Patricia Gage, Howard Ryshpan

Director: David Cronenberg

David (The Fly) Cronenberg's 1977 zombie movie opens with a bang. Rose (Chambers), badly injured and disfigured in a car crash, undergoes experimental plastic surgery. After a month in a coma, she reawakens with strange bodily deformities and an unquenchable craving for blood. At large in Montreal, her victims turn into zombie-like creatures with their own desires.

Perhaps simulating lust may be considered a near relation of simulating lust for blood: thus perhaps the thinking behind the choice of former porn queen Chambers for the leading role in this highly visceral gorefest. And rather good she is too, catching especially well the nastier and inwardly compelling aspects of the anti-heroine's compelling desires, and just about holding the centre of the film's rather too diversified plot together.

The movie is quite well put together, though, its director achieving an appropriately bleak ambience, but doesn't altogether escape the risible qualities of some of its dialogue. The scriptwriters unfortunately couldn't resist putting in lines about having a bite, and there's one riotous scene where a TV interviewer asks the city's medical chief if he has any advice for the terrified populace. 'Yes,' replied that worthy with an air of infinite wisdom, 'don't let anyone bite you.'

With colleagues like him, who needs enemies?

David Quinlan

Canada 1977. UK Distributor: Arrow Films (originally Viacom). Eastman Colour.
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 20 May 2020