Revisiting David Cronenberg’s “Rabid,” Streaming Now On Shudder!

By on December 7, 2017

Night Flight is thrilled to announce our partnership with Shudder — the AMC Network’s horror streaming channel — and all this month we’ll be presenting our top picks from their cult horror library in a special row on their streaming platform. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PICK THE FINAL FILM!

We’ve been fans of Shudder for awhile — you can find it on all major streaming platforms — and have always been impressed by their eclectic collection of cult horror films, and to celebrate we’re offering 25% OFF on an annual subscription (regularly just $29.99 for the whole year) to Night Flight Plus (promo code: SHUDDER), and a free month of Shudder (promo code: NIGHTFLIGHT)!

This month, AMC’s Shudder has asked Night Flight  to curate a “guest row” of content on their streaming channel, and we’ll be releasing our picks in the next two weeks.

First, though, we’re going to need the Night Flight community’s help to vote for the final film in our list, so vote on our shortlist below and read more about David Cronenberg’s 1977 cult fave Rabid below.

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In Rabid, Marilyn Chambers — – star of the adult film Behind the Green Door (1972) and a former Ivory Snow soap box girl — plays Rose, who is badly injured when she and her boyfriend Hart Read (Frank Moore) have a motorcycle accident on a rural highway outside Montréal, slick with melting winter snow.

She’s taken to the nearby Keloid Clinic — the first in a line of franchised resorts for rich cosmetic surgery patients — after it’s been determined she wouldn’t survive the long three-hour trip to a better-equipped hospital.

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In order to save her life, Dr. Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) performs a radical emergency plastic surgery — a horrifyingly experimental skin graft procedure with tissue treated by a solution that makes it morphogentically neutral — but when Rose awakens from her coma a month later she learns she now has a retractable appendage in her armpit, some kind of crazy phallus/stinger embedded deep in a vagina-like cavity. She’s also suddenly developed a craving for human blood.

She escapes from the clinic, hitchhiking back to her home, but she must now feed on victims to satiate her desire for blood, turning them into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies with green foam spewing from their mouths.

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These zombies then proceed to infect others, and suddenly Montréal is suffering a citywide, rabies-like epidemic.

Because there is no known cure for this new strain of rabies, city officials eventually decide to declare martial law to keep this infectious zombie disease from spreading, but it may be too late from turning the most populous municipality in the province of Quebec into shadowy city of lurking horror (many would later see Rabid as a kind of metaphor for the budding AIDS epidemic).

Here, Rose is heartbreakingly portrayed by Chambers as a reluctant predator, using her sexuality to entrap her prey, injecting her unsuspecting victims during an embrace, while simultaneously drinking their blood (Cronenberg’s original treatment was titled Mosquito), her face revealing she’s in a state of near sexual ecstasy.

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Rabid was horror director David Cronenberg’s fourth feature, released in 1977, after he’d already directed another successful cult classic, Shivers (a.k.a. They Came From Within, 1975), and as he would continue to explore with much of his work, this film has strong sexual undertones mixed in with the bloody violence.

The film was picked up for U.S. distribution by New World after screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and promoted with movie posters taglined: “You can’t trust your mother… your best friend… the neighbor next door… one minute they’re perfectly normal, the next… RABID! Pray it doesn’t happen to you!”

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