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Blu-Ray Review: Rabid (Collector’s Edition)
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Rabid
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: David Cronenberg
Screenwriter: David Cronenberg
Cast: Marilyn Chambers, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan, Patricia Gage, Susan Roman, Lynne Deragon
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 91 Minutes
Release Date: November 22, 2016

Written and directed by David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Fly), Rabid stars adult film star Marilyn Chambers (Behind the Green Door) as Rose, a young woman who develops an insatiable thirst for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery.

While driving through the Quebec countryside, Rose and her boyfriend, Hart (Frank Moore), get into a motorcycle accident. They’re brought to the nearby Keloid Clinic for Plastic Surgery for emergency treatment. Hart’s banged up with a broken hand and a separated shoulder, but Rose is severely injured and burned by the fiery crash. Dr. Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) decides to perform a new radical procedure on the burn victim, one which uses “morphogenetically neutral” grafts to replace the damaged skin and organs.

The experimental procedure causes a mutation in Rose. A new organ, which looks like an insect stinger, emerges from an orifice that has developed in Rose’s armpit and pierces her prey to draw blood, her new source of sustenance. Rose leaves the clinics to feed, turning her victims into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who go on to infect others, leading to a city-wide epidemic.

Released in 1977, Rabid, like most of Cronenberg’s work, explores our fears of body mutilation and disease, and the psychological trauma that results from a biological transformation. What’s interesting is that Rabid is also a unique spin on the zombie movie – a precursor to 28 Days Later, where the zombies act more like rabid animals than reanimated corpses. It appears to be heavily inspired by George A. Romero’s early films, Night of the Living Dead (1968) and The Crazies (1973). Cronenberg’s film also shares some thematic elements with Romero’s Martin, released in the same year, about a young man who believes himself to be a vampire and drinks blood to survive.

While Rabid is Cronenberg’s fourth feature film, following Stereo (1969), Crimes of the Future (1970), and Shivers (1975), it’s his first great one; a movie that served as a launchpad for the Canadian filmmaker’s unparalleled output of iconic films in the late ’70s and early ’80s, including The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), and The Fly (1986).

Chambers, in her first leading role in a mainstream film, gives a great performance as Rose, and the unsettling practical effects are impressive for a low-budget feature – a promise of what was to come from Cronenberg, who is known for his fixation with “body horror.” Now available on Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory, Rabid is a must-own for film fans. This release is spectacular, with a new 2K scan from the film negative, presented at Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono soundtrack.

Like their recent Dead Ringers Blu-ray, this is a definitive release of a Cronenberg classic, packed with new and archival special features, which you can read more about below. Rabid (Collector’s Edition) is available at Amazon.

Bonus Features

– 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)
– 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.)
– Still gallery

Trailer

Clip: The Pool

Cover Art

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