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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Chambers is beautiful and has a killer body, for sure, but she also delivers a surprisingly good performance.