It looks like the fall of 2016 has been a good season for fans of David Cronenberg. Not only did we get a new Collectors Edition and the Blu-ray debut of Dead Ringers last month, but this month we also get a Collectors Edition and the Blu-ray debut of his early film Rabid. Cronenberg’s early films have been long awaited on Blu-ray with some of them showing up in the UK but for some reason not here in his native land of Canada.
Rabid tells the tale of Rose (Marilyn Chambers in her first mainstream role), a young woman who suffers terrible injuries in a motorcycle accident in the remote countryside and is taken in to a nearby clinic and given experimental surgery to save her. Shortly afterwards though Rose finds a strange growth under her armpit and discovers she has an unquenchable thirst for blood. After attacking and infecting a fellow patient the growth spreads and the infection spreads faster and faster until it becomes a widespread epidemic across the city. After Rose escapes, police and health officials try to find a way to find the cause of the epidemic and stop it before it spreads to more of the population.
Rabid is a wonderfully twisted and disturbing movie anchored by an excellent performance by Chambers. Best known for her work in pornographic films, Chambers shows she really does have acting ability even though her legitimate career never took off after Rabid. Cronenberg keeps the pace fast, the attacks repulsive and done with inventive and pretty gross effects, and a horrifying story of infection that actually seems timelier today. Rabid is a highly effective thriller and one of Cronenberg’s very best.
The new Collectors Edition of Rabid sports a fantastic new 2K restoration, a new audio interview with author Jill C. Nelson (Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women Of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985) and Marilyn Chambers’ personal appearances manager Ken Leicht, a new interview with actress Susan Roman and tons of original special features including a commentary with Cronenberg himself. Rabid is a horror classic and a Canadian classic. Highly recommended.