Rayzor’s Retro Review: Rabid (1977)

Over the last few years I have been diving deeper and deeper into the annals of horror history.  I knew the task was large, but wow.  I have been researching older films and after a viewing of the Brood and the Fly, I checked out David Cronenberg’s filmography.  I saw a few I had heard of when I was younger and Rabid really stuck out to me.  I pulled up the poster and damn…it really doesn’t say a ton, but it was enough to get me interested.  Then, Scream Factory announces a Collector’s Edition and I planned to wait for the Scream Factory release.


A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.

Without delving too much into the story of the film, I wanted to kind of compare the tone to something that may surprise some people.  There things that make the world of the film, Rabid, feel like it belongs in the same realm as Re-Animator.  Of course everything is different.  But the doctors, some of the characters even what happens to the “rabid”.  I mean the ones who get infected by the epidemic almost act the same as the characters brought back to life in Re-Animator.  This is not a bad thing in any way, in fact it really made me want to watch Re-Animator and think that the director Brian Yuzna kinda made he creatures similar to the rabid on purpose.  Who knows?

Many things that really stood out to me in this film.  I really loved the build of and no one knew who was spreading the “rabies” and Rose, played wonderfully by Marilyn Chambers is just walking the streets infecting more.  Which was amazing, Patient Zero, strolling along the streets of Montreal looking to quench her hungry.  But, even before that it starts in the Hospital which leads to some amazing scenes.  The best part of Rose, Marilyn Chambers is so good, I mean surprisingly good.  She of course came from the porno industry.  I just really loved her character and you feel bad for her and sympathetic.  She was great in the role, from feasting to feeling helpless.  Her final scene was intense and kind of beautiful.  Part of that goes to the actor on the other end of the phone, Frank Moore.  He was screaming for her to run, but she didn’t.  Then the last scene was very bleak.

I think Rabid is a beautiful movie overall.  I love the Fly and the Brood, but Rabid could end up being my favorite by Cronenberg.  Sure there are some awkward and a little campy early on and some of the reasons for Rose to have this weird new ability were kinda flimsy.  Rose goes into the coma and when she comes out, the movie really gets very good and to me, I wanted more.  Seeing the breakouts happen all over town and the rabid attacking people.  The way Rose infected others was super strange, but totally Cronenberg, some penis looking thing that comes from her armpit and penetrates her victims.  Seeing so many points of view, there are so many characters, but it was great.  We have the doctors and the lawmen, Rose and Hart her boyfriend looking for her and it is told seamlessly.  Rabid also felt like the beginning of a film series and a sequel could have been cool.

Rabid is a terrific movie and it may be overlooked and under appreciated by the masses.  But it is possibly Cronenberg’s finest film.  Well, the Fly is hard to top, but man.  If you haven’t check out Rabid.  It is on Shudder and you can pick up the Scream Factory Collector’s Edition on Blu Ray.  Do yourself a favor!  David Cronenberg himself said Rabid is his first “epic”.

IMDB.com has a rating 6.4

I give Rabid a score of 8.6

On one last note, the Soska sisters were at one point on board to do a remake of Rabid.  I personally would love to see this happen sometime in the near future.



About Ray Marek III 655 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)