Rabid is the David Cronenberg film that I’ve been craving after being disappointed with Dead Ringers. The film is a 70s mishmash of vampires, zombies and biological disorder. It also has lead actress Marylin Chambers showing off her splendid boobies. In conjunction with releasing Dead Ringers on Blu-ray, Scream Factory has also released Rabid in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray package with a substantial amount of special features and a damn fine transfer. Read on to see if you should take a bite out of this disc…
DISCS: 1 RUN-TIME: 91 min ASPECT RATIO: 1.66:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: English REGION: A/1 RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1977 RELEASE DATE: Nov 22, 2016
With Rabid, acclaimed director David Cronenberg (The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch) delivers a high-tension thriller filled with “zombified sluts and shock moments… an irresistible combination that Cronenberg handles well” (Almar Haflidason, BBC)!
After undergoing radical emergency surgery, Rose (former adult film star Marilyn Chambers in her first leading role in a mainstream film) develops an insatiable desire for blood. She searches out victims to satisfy her incurable craving, infecting them with an unknown disease which in turn swiftly drives them insane… and makes them equally bloodthirsty.
Follow the lovely but deadly Rose through her terrifying ordeal as victim by victim, the spreading circle of casualties grows… until no one can escape their grisly fate of becoming… Rabid.
After suffering a terrible bike accident, conveniently in front of a renowned plastic surgery resort, Rose (Marylin Chambers) is rushed into the complex for immediate skin graft surgery for her substantial burns. The doctor in charge, Dr. Dan Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) wants to perform a radical procedure that has never been done before, which results in Rose growing a weird blood sucking monster in her armpit. Well, I assume it’s the radical surgery that caused this, as there is no explanation given for the butthole looking thing in her pit.
Rose begins to drink the blood of her victims, which causes them to turn into rabid crazies who have a tendency to bite and infect other people. The disease starts spreading like wildfire and before you know it, Montreal (yay, Canada!) is quarantined and martial law is in effect.
Rabid is a part Romero zombie film and whatever good vampire film was out at the time. Cronenberg manages to combine the two genres of horror films into one solid, terrifying flick. The reason the film works so wonderful is that it feels real. By the time the outbreak hits Montreal, the streets are abandoned and the military is out in full force. It’s a scary sight to see and it works so well, especially nowadays.
The film does falter a bit in really capitalising on the outbreak and a chance for some really gory scenes. It’s a bit on the light side when it comes to the red stuff, which will be a disappointment for gorehounds. There are moments where the red stuff comes out to play, but those scenes are spaced out quite a bit.
Viewers may also be a bit disappointed with the rather bleak, cliffhanger of an ending. Personally, I would have loved to have seen a bit more of the fallout and cleanup process.
Things I did love, however, were the mall shootout with a poor Santa getting in the way of things and also the rather awkward driving scenes with Joe Silver and Frank Moore. They basically just sit and stare at each other for a good portion of the drive. On a fun note, be sure to look out for the cameraman in one scene as he tries his hardest to not hide in the backseat.
Scream Factory has done a wonderful job in both the transfer and audio quality. If you head over to the ever-reliable caps-a-holic, you can see the difference between the Arrow Video and Scream Factory release. To me, the SF release is miles (km) ahead, with a more even colour representation.
As for special features, you have a couple of new ones, not on any other release, which are two new interviews. You also have a fair amount of old ones as well. Seeing an Arrow Video special feature on a Scream Factory disc is a bit weird, but having it included is very much welcome. The feature in question is From Stereo to Video, which was originally included on Arrow Video’s Shivers release.
In the end, the biggest treat in buying this Blu-ray is for the new transfer, in the director preferred aspect ratio. It really does look awesome.
NEW 2K Scan From The Negative At Director David Cronenberg’s Preferred Aspect Ratio (1.66:1)
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
NEW Young And Rabid – An Interview With Actress Susan Roman
Audio Commentary With Writer/Director David Cronenberg
Audio Commentary With William Beard, Author Of The Artist As Monster: The Cinema Of David Cronenberg
Archival Interview With David Cronenberg
Interview With Executive Producer Ivan Reitman
Interview With Co-producer Don Carmody
From Stereo To Video – A Video Essay By Caelum Vatnsdal, Author Of They Came From Within: A History Of Canadian Horror Cinema
Original Theatrical Trailer And TV Spot
Radio Spots (U.S. And U.K.)
Rabid has plenty of disturbing scenes, with a story that keeps you interested throughout the 91-minute runtime. Cronenberg is on the ball with this one and Scream Factory has a wonderful looking Blu-ray for fans to pick up. Plus, Marylin Chambers’ boobs in the proper aspect ratio and colour are absolutely fantastic.