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Rabid (1977)

Badly injured in a motorcycle crash, Rose (Marilyn Chambers, Ivory Snow girl turned star of the x-rated Behind The Green Door) is taken to the nearby plastic surgery clinic of Dr Keloid (Howard Ryshpan).

After extensive operations and an experimental process (the doctors use a special process of skin grafting to replace her abdominal organs), she recovers, but what is supposed to become her new stomach gets addicted to the blood plasma which she receives intravenously, and she turns into a modern-day vampire.

To feed the stomach, she takes her victim in her arms, hugs him and permits a penis-like organ hidden in her armpit to penetrate any part of his body and suck in blood.

Unfortunately, Rose also happens to be carrying a rabies-like illness which allows her victims only a few hours before they die, during which time they become feverish with desire for blood, foam at the mouth and bite someone else, thus transmitting the fatal disease. Montreal is hit with an epidemic.

Until the end, Rose doesn’t realise that she is the cause of the epidemic storming Montreal. When she finally begins to understand, she organises a little experiment to prove to herself that she is blameless. Bitten by her own victim, she dies.

Another formative exercise in fear and loathing of the human body from Canadian director David Cronenberg, which takes up the themes of his first “mainstream” (in the loosest sense of the word) success Shivers (1975).

This disturbing film lacks the stomach-churning claustrophobia of Shivers but is an altogether slicker affair – Shivers was shot for $185,000 while Rabid cost $565,000 – and the spiralling, random violence still shocks.

Marilyn Chambers
Hart Read
Frank Moore
Murray Cypher
Joe Silver
Dr Dan Keloid
Howard Ryshpan
Dr Roxanne Keloid
Patricia Gage
Mindy Kent
Susan Roman
Lloyd Walsh
J Roger Periard
Nurse Louise
Lynne Deragon
Judy Glasberg
Terry Schonblum
Claude Lapointe
Victor Désy
Julie Anna
Smooth Eddy
Gary McKeehan
Dr Carl
Jerome Tiberghien
Dr Royce Gentry
John Gilbert
Una Kay
Beatrice Owen
Madeline Pageau
Mark Walker

David Cronenberg