Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,215
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Rabid Photos

Movie Info

For his second commercial feature, following a pair of experimental films and 1977's Shivers, Canadian horror auteur David Cronenberg continued to mine the themes of disease and mutation that were already becoming his perennial concerns. Marilyn Chambers stars as Rose, an attractive young woman who becomes horribly injured in a motorcycle accident. Spirited away to the clinic of Drs. Dan and Roxanne Keloid (Howard Ryshpan and Patricia Gage), a pair of experimental plastic surgeons, Rose becomes an unwitting guinea pig in an operation that grafts genetically modified tissue into her body. Waking from her coma to find she is unable to ingest normal food, Rose unwittingly feeds on human blood by means of a phallic organ that emerges from a vulval orifice in her armpit. Within hours of providing Rose with sustenance, her victims fall prey to an incurable, highly contagious disease that turns them into raving lunatics who foam at the mouth and attack others indiscriminately. Soon, Montreal is under martial law, but nobody can find the Typhoid Mary whose vampiric urges are driving the epidemic -- not even Hart (Frank Moore), Rose's befuddled boyfriend. Although she is best-known for her starring role in the crossover porn epic Behind the Green Door, Chambers actually received her start in features with 1970's The Owl and the Pussycat. Rabid also stars TV and stage veteran Joe Silver as Murray Cypher, a mutual friend of Hart and the Keloids. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

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Frank Moore
as Hart Read
Joe Silver
as Murray Cypher
Howard Ryshpan
as Dr. Dan Keloid
Patricia Gage
as Dr. Roxanne Keloid
Susan Roman
as Mindy Kent
Roger Periard
as Lloyd Walsh
Tony Angelo
as Dispatcher
John Boylan
as Young Cop in Plaza
Miguel Fernandes
as Man in Cinema
John Gilbert
as Dr. Royce Gentry
Bob Girolami
as Newscaster
Harry Hill
as Stasiuk
Una Kay
as Jackie
Denis Lacroix
as Drunken Indian
Kirk McColl
as Desk Sergeant
Gary McKeehan
as Smooth Eddy
Jack Messinger
as Policeman on Highway
Allan Moyle
as Young Man in Lobby
Robert O'Ree
as Police Sergeant
Murray Smith
as Interviewer
Vlasta Vrana
as Cop at Clinic
Victor Désy
as Claude LaPointe
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Critic Reviews for Rabid

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (3)

  • Here is an extremely violent, sometimes nauseating, picture about a young woman affected with rabies, running around Montreal infecting others.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • None of the other recent apocalypse movies has shown so much political or cinematic sophistication.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Ultimately Rabid boils down to zombified sluts and shock moments but it's an irresistible combination that Cronenberg handles well.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Cronenberg casts [Chambers] in a different kind of skin flick, and allows her to weaponise her seductive charms and to penetrate those who would do the same to her - all in the service of an animalistic lust (for blood) that is Insatiable...

    Jul 22, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Cronenberg tackles issues of a hypersexual society, in which bodily technology has far surpassed our moral capacities.

    May 1, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • "It's Cronenberg's best full-stop horror movie, I think, one where the horror comes first and the subtext is almost accidental. Later, it would be the reverse..."

    Jan 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Rabid

  • Aug 20, 2018
    A bunch of disconnected ideas don't make a film, and so this bizarre movie feels more like an amalgam of unripe ideas thrown together without a clear purpose (much like Shivers before it), making me wonder why Cronenberg cast a porn movie actress as a grotesque sexual predator.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 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.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2011
    5.3/10 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.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2011
    'Rabid' is essentially a new, sometimes intelligent and sometimes dumb but never dull, take on the classic vampire films. For a low-budget Canadian movie and for the time it feels pretty daring.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer

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