Thursday, October 4, 2018
Halloween 2018 #5: Rabid *** (1977)
David Cronenberg's Rabid features all the hallmarks of his early work: body horror, infection spreading like wildfire, and everyday life going off the rails into some bizarre detours. Marilyn Chambers stars as a woman who gets burned in a motorcycle accident and undergoes experimental surgery that gives her a thirst for human blood, a condition she passes on to her victims. Most of Rabid consists of kills in the most unlikely of places and these are not the clean kills of a 1980s slasher. In the context of the Swine Flu and Legionnaire's Disease scares of 1976, Rabid imagines an epidemic cascading through the 1970s with hints of Night of the Living Dead. The pale color palette puts off a distinct unsettling tone, realistic, yet distant and alienating. In saying that Rabid us not as graphic as it sounds, it's the sense of dread in every frame, from the opening motorcycle sequence to the final garbage collecting scene that fashions an unrelenting stream of disturbing imagery.