Rabid (1977) – David Cronenberg

The next film in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies section is a Cronenberg body horror film that doesn’t really fall into the zombie chapter that it has been put in. It could have worked (kind of) in the vampire section just as easily, but either way, there is a terrifying outbreak happening in Montreal, and Marilyn Chambers is at the center of it.

Executive produced by Ivan Reitman, Cronenberg’s film puts adult film star Marilyn Chambers in the lead role as Rose, and she’s surprisingly good. After a motorcycle accident, Rose finds herself in a remote clinic that specializes in plastic surgery, and doing nips and tucks for the well off. As one of the characters implies, they aren’t so far from becoming the KFC of plastic surgery.

Using skin grafts from her inner thighs to repair damaged flesh, Rose awakens with an unusual new orifice, in her left armpit, which hides a very phallic looking stinger. This allows her to feed on and infect countless others,

The film is dark, bloody (though nowhere near as graphic as Cronenberg’s films would grown to be), and can serve as a parable for any infectious disease, though by using an adult film star, and the suggestion of phallic action from the stinger, one is more inclined to lean towards diseases of a sexual nature.


It has solid production value, but does very much look like a Canadian made film, which was something we apologized for at one time and now no longer have to. But this one very much looks like a product of the 70s, and its budget reflects that as well.

Through the course of the film, Rose’s boyfriend, Hart (Frank Moore) is trying to track her down, urged on by a troubling call she’s made from the clinic, despite the fact that she’s supposed to be in a coma. Setting off on a long convoluted journey to reach her, the infection spreads, and Rose refuses to believe she is at fault for it.

Even as she confronts the truth of the revelation, she dooms those who follow, and any hope of survival may be lost. It’s a bit of a downer ending, but totally works for the film.

Cronenberg has always been able to create unnerving images and stories, melding flesh with horror and commentary, and this film is no different, despite being very early in his film career.

It’s freaky, unnerving, and Chambers is pitch perfect as Rose, and it’s troubling to watch the world succumb to her, until it may be too late for all of us.

There are more zombie titles yet to come, so pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and find something macabre to watch tonight!


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