Rabid - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rabid Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 1, 2008
Okay, but kind of off putting. A lot of blood and gore as you would expect from a movie about a freak case of rabies.
It kind of made me uncomfortable at times - it didn't seem all that nice towards women, for example the extra "mouth", a lot of female nudity and though the lead actress is good, it is interesting to watch the extra features on this disc and discover she was actually a porn star.
I'm a bit iffy on this director.
Super Reviewer
½ June 27, 2007
Hands down the best Canadian zombie film starring a porn star.
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2011
Yet more gross-out fun from Cronenberg. This is basically Shivers again on a much larger scale as the chaos and madness of rabies infected people plague the city of Montreal thanks to the vampirous Marilyn Chambers and her nasty armpit. If you liked Shivers and other infection/plague movies like 28 days Later than this is worth a viewing.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
Although this movie has the Cronenberg style of gory grotesque horror sci-fi, the story isn't very good, and the ending is bad. Overall, this movie is okay.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2009
David Cronenberg's second major movie can be viewed as a kind of sequel to "Shivers," which, in more ways than one, deals with similar themes and issues as that of the aforementioned movie. Whilst Cronenberg showed originality and a genuine talent during each of the movies he made in the 1970's and early 1980's, it probably wasn't till "The Fly" and "Dead Ringers" that finally confirmed him as one of the greatest and most talented film-makers working today. Whilst movies such as "Rabid" and "The Brood" merely suggest a strong and original presence of talent coming from behind the camera (With, perhaps, an edge of genius), if one is watch each of Cronenberg's movies from "Shivers" onwards (Ending with his most recent "Crash"), his career is an interesting one to follow, simply because its obvious how his worked has matured and improved over the several decades, whilst following virtually identical themes and motives throughout. Cronenberg's obessions and passions are obvious in every one of his pictures, making him the true author of all his movies.

"Rabid" is the mildly shocking story of a bizarre strain of rabies which spreads across many citizens of Montreal, following a revolutionary skin-graft operation which takes place on a beautiful, young motorcyclist (Maralyn Chambers).

In its favour, "Rabid" is an automatically above-par horror tale, simply because its fascinating in a way most horror movies are not. Cronenberg also shows more control and ability than with "Shivers" this time around, with an improved narrative and a better control over his characters. Considering its low budget origins, it's generally quite a well made picture, and, because Cronenberg is so very fascinated with 'The changing of the flesh' or 'The new flesh' (A theme in virtually all of his pictures'), it becomes equally as fascinating for his audience. We come away asking questions at the end of the picture; whilst "Rabid" may be a clear fantasy, it also works as a metaphore for the outbreak of any disease. It also has numerous disturbing and memorable images, now something we should come to expect in a Cronenberg movie. There's a wonderful air of sexuality in the movie, too, and, in the past, I've read some good writings on the picture, where themes such as loneliness and want play an important role in its narrative.

However, the film is also diappointing in many ways. The picture soon becomes repetitive when it should probably be taking a different Road altogether - Watching Ms. Chambers drain blood from victim after victim soon becomes tiresome (Though it's important to note that during such scenes, the movie is mostly un-gory and horrid - Being gruesome isn't what Cronenberg wants to do here). The movie also boasts some incredibly bad performances; whilst Chambers isn't bad (Her performance holds parallels with that of Natasha Henstridge from "Species), Frank More is truly terrible as her boyfriend. There is also big questions hanging over Chamber's motives in the movie - One can't help but wonder why she doesn't do one in a million things to stop her blood-obsessed rage e.g. Get her arm cut off! We're just not told enough about what the disease has done to Chambers; does she want to kill? If not, why doesn't she get help? If she does want to kill, what caused this? Has the strange penis-object taken partial control of her brain too?

Perhaps the film's most ameturish and significant aspect is in the way the script never actually explains how Chambers develops the blood-sucking 'Penis' in her arm - Whilst Cronenberg's original cut of the movie had a scene left in to give an explanation, it was eventually removed because he felt it broke the tension. It's probably the script that's the movies biggest fault, or maybe we can credit it more to Cronenberg's liking for cutting-to-the-bone during editing.

Overall, "Rabid" is a decent, unsettling horror movie that is well worth a look, and, even if its flawed and contains numerous faults, its far superior to the many hundreds of horror pictures out today.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2008
I get the message: don't let your girlfriend end up in a plastic surgery clinic, even on accident, because she will totally grow a retractable barbed penis in her armpit and give the whole world the clap, not just you. But btw, she will call to tell you that it was her all along, but only after everyone around you is dying or infected.

This and "Shivers" are so much thematically the same. "Shivers" is the beginning of that TLC "Waterfalls" video and "Rabid" is the middle part when the guy (in the TLC video) starts looking ill, and "Videodrome" is the final chorus.
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2007
For no explained reason some chick gets a skin graft and grows a tenticle out of her armpit that drinks human blood and infects them with a new strain of rabies. The idea of humans exhibiting rabies like wild animals if fun, and the girl isn't bad looking, but not really worth the time to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2007
Cronenberg's gratuitous zombies, sex and violence cocktail doesn't work as good as in his first feature, but still succeeds to crawl your skin. A very entertaining, disgusting and gratifying surprise.
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2007
Along the same lines as Shivers, but with much better acting. This works as a pretty scary zombie movie, and the Typhoid Mary angle was really interesting. Chuck Palahniuk's new book reminds me of this.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2006
An early Cronenberg that has bears many of his trademark themes, and has some interesting visual ideas, but little else. It doesn't seem to have any real direction or point, but is an interesting curiosity nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
Early effort from Canadian auteur David Cronenberg, Rabid sets to work establishing 'The Baron Of Blood's' themes pretty much from the get-go as we follow a young, independent woman's motorway accident, to her experimental operation, to her loss of self and consumption by virus, to full-on epidemic. Cronenberg took a gamble on casting porn star Marilyn Chambers for the lead, and it pays off quite well, she delivers best as might be hoped. Cronenberg also takes the time for little black comedy here, in particular the workmen who turn their pneumatic drill on a car door in search of blood.
DC's direction is taught, and cold as ever, leaving us in a world with precious little pity for Chambers' female/male/vampire hybrid (Rose attacks unwillingly from a phallic protrusion in a vaginal/anal slit in her armpit). Unfortunately, Cronenberg's sense of momentum seems to disappear from the final few acts of the picture, making it feel at times like an absurd documentary. Still, definately worth your time, Rabid is a weaker work from the body horror master.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ August 12, 2011

David Cronenberg is pretty much the Canadian God of the horror genre. I've loved him, I've liked him, and at times, I've even disliked him. I don't know. Sometimes, I just have problems accepting his execution, but I am always - and I mean ALWAYS - intrigued by his fascination with gory "body-horror" scenes and effects. He's good at what he does, and who am I to say he doesn't always make a movie that I like? Few of his films are truly bad, and that's because he is, in fact, a very good filmmaker. And like a good filmmaker should, he knows what he's doing; whether he's making a horror movie or a taut drama. Sometimes, he can juggle both at the same time and still get a good result.

"Rabid", an earlier Cronenberg film, is the director's attempt at telling his own little vampire story. There's plenty of the man's style and bloody whimsy to be found here, and his ambitions are both impressive and admirable. However, it's the execution that matters, and here's a film that lacks the right amount of substance to match its style. This could have made for a pretty good film, and to some people, it still is good. I don't know. Maybe a film like this is your idea of a good time, but it's not necessarily mine.

A fatal motorcycle accident puts Rose (Marilyn Chambers) in the hospital, where she is properly nursed back to health. The doctors insist on giving her transplants through plastic surgery, and the results appear to be unexpectedly positive, especially for the kind of operation that was done.

However, it is soon revealed that the surgery created something new inside Rose. Under her armpit is a stinger, which can come in, come out as it pleases. She uses the stinger to get blood from anyone she encounters, as she has developed a sort of craving for it. After she's done feeding, the victims' memories are erased, and Rose can continue feeding until she isn't hungry anymore.

The problem with this is that the victims don't die. Once they regain consciousness, the victims turn into rabid zombies; and soon, it's implied that an outbreak may be soon to come. And not long after that, we're seeing police taking action (shooting at the infected, missing, and instead hitting an innocent mall Santa); zombies take action, and plenty more chaotic behavior. There will be blood; oh yes, there will.

And...if you happen to like blood, then maybe this film is for you. I can't say it WASN'T for me, but there was about as much that I agreed with as there was that I didn't. Chambers is mediocre at best in her role, the leading role, which isn't surprising given she's a porn star at heart and probably wasn't pitch perfect for this role, but look at the bright side; at least she looks beautiful. Sleaze-bags might get a kick out of the film just for her nude scenes, which are thankfully, not entirely gratuitous; but existent only to be "money shots" nonetheless.

I'm sure this film is trying to say something. David Cronenberg's films are always saying something. His film "The Brood", another which I just didn't like, was nasty and violent but was ultimately the result of Cronenberg's rage. Instead of making something that we truly cared about - and no offense to anyone who liked "The Brood", as I'm sure there are a few of you that did - he made something so personal, yet so distant, that it almost wasn't worth seeing. "Rabid" is the same way. If you have seen it and you enjoyed it, then that's great; well, for you, at least. This isn't a bad horror movie and it makes for a fairly entertaining thriller, but it lacks the ability to be anything more than it is; decent body-horror with admirable amounts of flesh shown (in more than one sense of the phrase). But derivative movies are derivative, and I can't get in to anything that I feel fits the word's best description; that is, unless it does something wild and creative. I don't feel that this film is creative. But it tries, and that might be enough for part of its audience.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2009
Hmmm. Very similar to Shivers, only this one actually feels quite... campy?! Which is not something I'd normally associate with Cronenberg (even early Cronenberg). Time hasn't been too kind to this film and it feels quite dated - very of its period. The direction is very strong as expected, but some of the performances are just wretched. Unlike Shivers however, this film doesn't have the same repetitiveness feel about it - instead of a constant barrage of the same sequence from different angles or gender perspectives, Rabid escalates to a full epidemic, and with it the creative prosthetics get more impressive. Some very funny and clever compositions and a pretty damn fantastic music score help too.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2009
Nice early work from Cronenberg.
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2014
Rabid is actually really frightening, could almost be viewed as a sequel of Shivers. Of course, since it's a low budget film, the acting was pretty terrible, but it was fun to watch. I love the typical Cronenberg style of body horror, the intimate acts such as hugging can be the most fatal thing. The zombie subplot was great too, I just love how the infected attack others in the public. The scene where Rose attacked the girl in the spa was a classic.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2009
The story is good and bizarre and full of political and social context. The horror scenes are good and effective.
Chambers is beautiful and has a killer body, for sure, but she also delivers a surprisingly good performance.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2007
Cool horror and possibly the only rabies based horror i've seen! Its made by David Cronenburg so everythings not what it seems. When a young woman is hurt in a motorcycle crash she is given a new type of surgery, but during her comatose state becomes hungry for blood and starts infecting everyone around her but its when she escapes from hospital that the trouble really begins. This has its gory moments but its the strength of the story, writing and direction that make this good.
December 16, 2015
Decent early Cronenberg. Hampered by uneven performances and constraints of a clearly low budget. After a near-fatal motorcycle accident, Marilyn Chambers is subject to an experimental skin graft procedure (which actually predicts the use of stem cells by quite a number of years). For some reason Chambers develops a vaginal opening in her armpit. When she is sexually aroused a poisonous proboscis shoots from the opening, draining the human victim of the blood she now craves. The sting has the power to infect its recipient with a highly contagious form of rabies, and before long the city of Montreal, Quebec is overrun with frothing zombified lunatics who crave blood. Central conceit is actually confusing; this is one case where a bit of explanation may have helped sell the conflict. As it is, the idea is viscerally repulsive in the right way but basically incomprehensible and frankly kind of cheesy. That said, Cronenberg begins to show signs of improvement in crucial areas, but there was still a long way to go till the glory days of The Dead Zone, The Fly, and Dead Ringers. Elements of zombie invasion, apocalyptic themes, and social commentary predict Romero's Dawn of the Dead while being clearly influenced Romero's earlier Night of the Living Dead and The Crazies. Not a bad film for horror fans, but most others might as well steer clear as this film isn't likely to bring them around to the genre.
½ December 11, 2015
Using his early formulas, Cronenberg involves abnormality of bodies, hunger for blood and in touch with the health care in some way. Rabies in terms of vampyrism hits Monetral as the plague. Compared with his films just after Rabid, you can easily remark that Rabid, is somewhat beneath pair.
October 9, 2015
Early Cronenberg, and not very good, but kinda funny in parts. If I had seen it back then, I wouldn't have predicted that he'd have a future in film, and that Ms. Chambers would go back to her day job.
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