Rabid (1977)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Early Cronenberg is fun Cronenberg

Feels redundant to Shivers, not for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rabid

Studio:  Cinepix Film Properties Inc.

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 8, 1977

MPAA Rating:  R


Why does it always come back to the porn theater for me?

A motorcycle accident injures Hart (Frank Moore) and mortally wounds Rose (Marilyn Chambers).  When a plastic surgery center uses an experimental technology to save Rose, they accidentally create a monster.  Rose is a carrier for a sexually transmitted form of rabies that is passed on through a stinger which emerges from her armpit.  The rabies is spreading rapidly and doctors are fighting to contain it…but Rose has an insatiable hunger that can’t be quenched!

Written and directed by David Cronenberg, Rabid was Cronenberg’s follow-up to Shivers (1975).  The low-budget film was executively produced by Ivan Reitman and like many of Cronenberg films, gained a cult following over the years.


Nothing is hotter than a porn star with a penis stinger thing under her arm!

I love Cronenberg and especially love early Cronenberg.  They are dirty, low budget, but have that gritty ’70s feel that make them even more horrific.  Rabid is a prime example of early Cronenberg and carries a lot of Cronenberg’s classic traits.

Cronenberg always carried a dirty sexual feel to his films.  Rabid is almost an expansion of his first major film Shivers (which went by tons of other names) but was also about a sexually transmitted disease in a yuppie apartment community.  The movie works very similar to this film and is almost a sister piece.  Rabid feels slightly bigger but Shivers is more original simply because it existed before Rabid.


Man, I shouldn’t have eaten that chicken burrito

The movie is largely driven by the fact that Cronenberg cast porn star Marilyn Chambers.  Chambers was known for starring in the porn chic Behind the Green Door in 1972.  Cronenberg originally wanted Sissy Spacek for the role, but Marilyn Chambers was suggested by Ivan Reitman to bring her sexuality to the role.

The movie feels a bit pornographic in its nature.  The style of shooting, sets, and film quality have a dirty cheapness.  Chambers does ooze sexuality in her scenes and that helps add to the porn-esque feel of the film…it is a fun, different style than some of the horror films you might experience.



If you haven’t looked at any early Cronenberg, I do recommend it.  It isn’t for everyone.  With its extreme nature and dark content, Rabid is still edgy today.  Cronenberg definitely has a style, and he began developing it early.  You will see lots of Cronenberg in Rabid.  If you are a Cronenberg fan, it is fun to see how he evolved from films like this into movies like Eastern Promises and A History of Violence.  Cronenberg followed Rabid with the comedy Fast Company in 1979.  Rabid was remade in 2019.

Related Links:

Rabid (2019)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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