Wednesday, 26 August 2009



Writer/Dir: David Cronenberg (The Brood, Videodrome, Eastern Promises)
Cast: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan, Patricia Gage
Canada, 1977

Seen: August 22, 2009 thanks to

Reason to Review: Vampathon: Vampire Film Marathon *

I found out about Rabid on this list of top 70 vampire films, ranked at #40. Seeing that it was directed by David Cronenberg, Canadian, from the 70's and a film I'd never seen I knew I had to include it in the Vampathon. I quite enjoy Canadian horror film from this time period, I love how the landscape is Canadian, the 70's pacing and the occasional heavy French accent.

The strength in the film is that it is steeped in interesting ideas that not only has a great horror angle but also brings up questions regarding moral decisions. How Canadian is that? It's scary, yet also opens a dialogue on topics of medical experimentation, control and human behaviour. It does a great job of pointing the camera back the audience to reflect human reactions to horrific scenarios, including ones we may not be comfortable with.

All that and a vampire film to boot? Well... calling it a vampire film is skating on some pretty thin ice. I'd say it is a vampire hybrid film and one that does not adhere to most of the vampire lore. It is a great film to ease into the Cronenbergian style if you are unfamiliar with his work, it plays well as a straight up horror drama but also has the signature grossness that is executed with vivid effects and provokes a visceral response.

It was refreshing to see a female protagonist, which is unusual in vampire films and a nice change of pace and power play. After researching I found out that Marilyn Chambers, who plays the character Rose, was an adult film star. This possibly explains the nudity in the film which is not gratuitous but rather unexpected and consistent throughout.

I am curious to how this film would read to newer audiences, if they would understand or just accept some of the medical references that were much more prominent at the time than now. However, fear based in medical issues and the will of survival are themes that crop up time and time again so in that sense it would be accessible.

Overall I would say it's a great horror film, but keep the vampire expectations as a bonus touch rather than the focus to keep things all good.

Warnings: visceral gore, medical procedures and scenarios

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it horror fans

Return to Film Reviews, See all Vampire Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* Vampathon is a 16 week marathon explore vampire films from Nosferatu (1922) up to the upcoming release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon


Unknown said...

I started this on the weekend and was pulled away before the halfway mark. Really enjoyed what I saw so will be finishing it - hopefully tomorrow night.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Looking forward to hearing what you think about it Marina! It was very different from what I expected but still very good.

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