"Rabid" is a 1977 Canadian-American body horror film directed by David Cronenberg. It exhibits Cronenberg's signature style, blending elements of horror and science fiction to create an intense, disturbing narrative that explores the darker side of medical innovation.
The film revolves around Rose, played by adult film star Marilyn Chambers in a rare mainstream role. After a motorbike accident, she undergoes an experimental surgical procedure that leaves her with a mutated organ capable of drinking human blood and spreading a deadly, rabies-like disease.
Chambers delivers a surprisingly convincing performance. Her portrayal of Rose embodies the movie's themes of victimhood, transformation, and uncontrollable desire. She brings a certain vulnerability to her character that makes Rose's horrifying ordeal all the more tragic.
Cronenberg's direction and storytelling are exceptional, as he combines a truly original and terrifying concept with a commentary on the dangers of unchecked scientific progress. He uses the body horror genre to effectively illustrate how the human body can become a source of terror when it is altered or manipulated.
The film's pacing is relentless. Cronenberg maintains a constant feeling of dread throughout, with the outbreak spreading rapidly and Rose's condition worsening. There is also a palpable sense of paranoia and chaos as society crumbles under the weight of the epidemic.
The special effects, while somewhat dated by today's standards, still pack a punch. The scenes involving Rose's new appendage are unnerving, further adding to the horror and discomfort.
Despite its low budget and the explicit nature of its horror, "Rabid" still manages to pose philosophical and ethical questions about the role of medical science in society. While not for the faint-hearted, this film is a must-watch for fans of the body horror genre and Cronenberg's work.