Rabid (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Art House & International , Drama , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Concorde Home Entertainment


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
Richard W. Farrell
as Camper Man
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
Louis Negin
as Maxim
Robert O'Ree
as Police Sergeant
Murray Smith
as Interviewer
Vlasta Vrana
as Cop at Clinic
Mark Walker
as Steve
Victor Désy
as Claude LaPointe
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Critic Reviews for Rabid

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (2)

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

After the shock tactics of Shivers, Cronenberg's next venture into body horror is more subdued, but holds up surprisingly well.

Full Review… | January 30, 2015
The Skinny

Cinema as a sustained bout of fever, a melancholy defense of Pandora

Full Review… | February 24, 2013

Revolting, yes, but still, an intelligent predecessor to some more moronic efforts in the same genre.

Full Review… | October 19, 2009

While Chambers does add some resonance to the film as a sexual icon, her acting ability is decidedly limited.

Full Review… | October 19, 2009
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Rabid

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.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Hands down the best Canadian zombie film starring a porn star.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


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.

Lee ?
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

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