The Curator of Schlock #306 by Jeff Shuster

Rabid

David Cronenberg ain’t right.

I’ve got nothing profound to say about anything at the moment. I’m cranky. I’m wishing I could time travel back to 1997. I miss my Nintendo 64, my bubbled out CRT TV, and a new X-Files to look forward to on Friday nights. Or had The X-Files moved to Sundays at that point? I don’t remember.

This is why I like movies. They can be miniature time capsules that let you wallow in a particular decade for a couple of hours.

Tonight, we’ll travel back to 1977 to experience a violent rabies epidemic that could have occurred on the outskirts of Montreal, Canada.

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1977’s Rabid from director David Cronenberg was released in not just a very important year for movies, but also a very important year in the history of the world as it is the year I was born.

Imagine if that hadn’t happened.

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You would not be reading this blog right now. What would you be doing with your life? Contemplating plastic surgery? Speaking of which, our movie begins at the Keloid Clinic for Plastic Surgery somewhere in the Quebec countryside. A young couple named Rose (Marilyn Chambers) and Hart (Frank Moore) are riding motorcycles near the clinic, but get into bad accident because some loser can’t get his RV started and he’s blocking the whole Canadian road.

The Keloid Clinic is the closest medical facility in the area. Hart’s injuries aren’t critical, but Rose is going to die unless Dr. Dan Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) tries an experimental procedure to that uses morphogenetic skin supplements to repair her skin and organs.

Don’t ask me what that is. I ain’t no doctor.

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Rose stays in a coma for a couple of months until she wakes up screaming. A patient named Lloyd (J. Roger Periard) at the hospital goes to check on her, and Rose asks him to hug her because she’s cold and he’s warm. Lloyd complies because she’s young and attractive, like someone out of Behind the Green Door, but then a tendril emerges from her armpit and sucks his blood. This Rose has a thorn.

Rabid - 1976

Lloyd wakes up later with no memory of the attack, but gets transferred to another hospital because his blood isn’t clotting. The next night, Rose leaves the clinic to feed on the blood of a cow, but, naturally, decides to snack on a purvey old farmer instead. Both of these men develop a nasty case of rabies and begin attacking people like zombies. If they bite you, it’s only a matter of time before you start foaming at the mouth too. Rabies shots don’t work either.

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Rose leaves the clinic and begins spreading the rabies as she takes the blood of one victim after another. Martial Law gets declared in Montreal as the rabies zombie army begins to grow. There’s a rather tragic scene of a police officer gunning down one of the infected in a mall, and a mall Santa Claus gets caught in the crossfire.

Rabies ruin Christmas.

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I don’t think this is going to end up well for anyone. Anyway, Rabid is a good little body horror/zombie movie from the late 70s. It’s no Dawn of the Dead, but this will keep your attention on a Saturday night.

Pray for David Cronenberg, though.


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.