Much like Shivers, Rabid is a film where Cronenberg has fun with the familiar and conventional ideas of your standard zombie film – in that he manipulates it into something that is not so much like a standard zombie film. As with the majority of Cronenberg’s films, Rabid serves as a metaphor of the idea of the body being invaded and turning on itself.
The acting performances are generally awful – which was typical of the early Cronenberg films – but, like many films released by Arrow through the years, this is cult viewing. Despite this shortcoming, there are moments that truly distinguish the Canadian auteur, who appears to have grown in confidence since his previous outing with Shivers. The sight of the stinger appearing from the opening in Rose’s armpit can be quite disgusting to some viewers, and is most definitely Cronenberg-esque. The victims spitting and spewing multi-coloured ooze from their mouths, is reminiscent of Lamberto Bava’s Demons (1985) – or should that be the other way round? – but it intentionally stops short of being a full-on gore-fest. Rabid is certainly not Cronenberg’s strongest film, but it does count as cult viewing amongst fans – hence this Arrow release – and could also be considered a forerunner of such modern horror films as Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and other comparable films.
In addition to the High Definition presentation of the film, a whole host of features and extras come with this release. Two audio commentaries – including one with Cronenberg himself – archive interviews with the writer/director, as well as brand new interviews are included. A featurette and documentary on the filmmaker are also included in the mix, as is the always informative collector’s booklet, which contains new writing on Rabid and Cronenberg.
Rabid is available on UK BluRay and DVD from February 16th.
By Andreas Charalambous - 14th February 2015
Following the release of Shivers late last year, Arrow Video is now following this up by bringing Canadian director David Cronenberg’s second commercial feature film – Rabid - to BluRay. Typically of Arrow, they are releasing not only a film that is just a few years shy of turning 40 years old, but are also breathing new life into it, with a whole host of “Arrow standard” features and extras.
Rabid stars adult film actress Marilyn Chambers as Rose, a young woman involved in a motorcycle accident. Rose receives experimental plastic surgery as treatment for her horrific injuries, which come with bizarre side-effects – namely a stinger growing in her armpit, which attaches itself to anyone Rose gets close enough to and feeds on their blood. This in turn, changes the victim into a zombie-like creature that spreads infection through its bite. As you can imagine, it is not long until we are presented with a city over-run with these things.