RABID / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAVID CRONENBERG / STARRIN: MARILYN CHAMBERS, HOWARD RYSHPAN, FRANK MOORE, PATRICIA GAGE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Special Features: The Quiet Revolution: State, Society and the Canadian Horror Film – Part One / Audio commentary with Jen and Sylvia Soska / Audio commentary with David Cronenberg / Audio commentary with William Beard / Audio commentary with Jill C. Nelson / Interviews / The Directors: David Cronenberg / Trailer / Limited edition booklet
While horror hounds are currently eagerly awaiting Jen and Sylvia Soska’s vision of Rabid – that movie having now begun to play at festivals ahead of an October UK home release – the fantastic folks over at 101 Films have served up a new two-disc release of David Cronenberg’s original Rabid from 1977.
For those not familiar with the feature, Rabid centres on Marilyn Chambers’ Rose. After a motorcycle crash sees her undergo emergency surgery and experimental plastic surgery, Rose begins to develop a bloodlust that soon has major ramifications as victim after victim contract a rabies-esque virus that causes chaos and carnage for all involved.
Like so many Cronenberg offerings, Rabid is laced in dread and claustrophobic atmosphere as the filmmaker explores body horror, mutation, and the very base level of human instincts. When considering just how early in Cronenberg’s career Rabid was and just how small the budget afforded for the movie was – a reported Canadian $500,000 – it really is remarkable to see the ultimate end product that was delivered back in ’77.
The director himself deserves a whole host of plaudits for how he truly made the most of what he had at his disposal for Rabid, with Cronenberg at his bleak and clinical best at times during this movie – not least in the picture’s gut punch of a conclusion. But one other element that makes Rabid work so well and be so impactful is the performance of Marilyn Chambers as Rose. Best known as an adult actress at that point in time, Chambers was absolutely perfect in the role of Rose as she put in a true powerhouse performance that ran a gauntlet of emotions.
Cronenberg’s movie still holds up just as well today as it ever has, but the biggest selling point here for most fans will be the new special features included in this two-disc release. Front and centre, the audio commentary from Jen and Sylvia Soska alone is worthy of the price – the Twisted Twins, as ever, proving to be a hugely knowledgeable, entertaining and charming choice to guide viewers through Cronenberg’s 1977 classic. Elsewhere, the first part of The Quiet Revolution documentary exploring Canadian horror cinema is absolutely fantastic and most certainly leaves you wanting more.
The rest of the bonus material has been on previous releases of Rabid, yet that doesn’t mean that the content isn’t great to check out. In particular, the chat track from Cronenberg himself is a fascinating one, and the 1999 Cronenberg edition of The Directors is always great to revisit.
All in all, this new release of Rabid is an utter delight of a package from 101 Films. For fans of David Cronenberg, fans of horror, or simply those looking to explore Rabid for the first time, this is a brilliant overall release and one definitely worth adding to your collection.