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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shivers, again, 11 Jan. 2006
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This review is from: Rabid [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
"Rabid" is the story of a woman who, inhabited by an alien entity, feeds vampire-like from her victims using a proboscis located under her armpit. In doing so she infects her victims with a rabies-like alien virus which turns them into rabid creatures who then go on to attack and bite others, thus spreading the infection.
I've seen this film before, and it's Cronenberg's 1975 film "Shivers". Where "Shivers" was set in a swanky hotel-like housing development, "Rabid" is set in a hospital, but basically it follows a very similar storyboard, that of the parasite/virus realeased in a contained environment which eventually drives everyone into a state of zombie-like mania.
(One anecdotal observation: in the opening scene where the girl is rushed in to the emergency room, a member of the public goes to the desk and asks "What was all that about?" to which the E.R. administrator replies "Somebody said something about an accident." - Probably the stupidest conversation that could occur in an Emergency Room).
The acting varies from the completely lame (e.g. the girl's baby-faced boyfriend) to the better (the innocently seductive vampire herself).
It's probably quite an engaging sci-fi/vampire horror and if I'd never seen "Shivers", I'd probably have enjoyed it much more. As it's repetitious it didn't really do it for me.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Aug 2013 14:27:39 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Aug 2013 14:30:49 BDT]

Posted on 6 Aug 2013 14:30:35 BDT
Zmb-68 says:
"(One anecdotal observation: in the opening scene where the girl is rushed in to the emergency room, a member of the public goes to the desk and asks "What was all that about?" to which the E.R. administrator replies "Somebody said something about an accident." - Probably the stupidest conversation that could occur in an Emergency Room)."

About your comment above, just needed to point out it's a private plastic surgery clinic, not a general hospital, therefore it wouldn't have an Emergency Room. So the conversation between the patient and the nurse on the reception desk (not an E.R. desk) is perfectly valid and not in the least stupid.

Posted on 6 Aug 2013 18:56:38 BDT
As Shivers was DC's first 'proper' movie, it is understandable that this was a progression from that, and some themes are shared.
However, your observation that the parasite was released in a contained environment is completely wrong when applied to this movie,
it is practically a road movie (spreading the disease?)
Rabid is a much better film, helped enormously by Marilyn Chambers' affecting performance (I had no idea she was a porn star) as others have pointed out.

Now, proboscis, that's a great word, had to look that one up...

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2013 00:40:29 BDT
Thanks for pointing that out - being a UK viewer my assumption that all hospitals are likely to be public ones with an A&E (ER) was wrong!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2013 00:41:30 BDT
Thanks for your feedback, some fair points :-)

Posted on 14 Dec 2014 17:55:22 GMT
Lone wolfe says:
I only hope Arrow Video, do not mess this release up as the did with Shivers Steelbook [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray] fingers crossed!

Posted on 21 Feb 2015 12:04:25 GMT
Euromancer says:
Please note there are spoilers here for anyone who has not seen 'Rabid' or 'Shivers'.

Although 'Rabid' and 'Shivers' do have undeniable similarities, your assertion that the latter is 'repetitious' of the former is rather underminded by the fact that your review is incorrect in details. Aside from the 'emergency room' point, Rose (Marilyn Chambers) is NOT 'inhabited by an alien entity' - instead, she undergoes a spontaneous mutation triggered by Keloid's experimental plastic surgery techniques that results in the development of the phallic blood-siphoning organ that nestles in her armpit. I'd suggest closer attention to the details of dialogue and settings might improve your viewing of the film.

The endings of each film are also both quite different: in 'Shivers', the inhabitants of Starliner Towers are all infected by the blood parasites but emerge from the building in their cars smiling, happy and unrepressed - their inhibitions have been destroyed by the parasites and they are about to go out and infect the world, resulting in a new society where (perhaps) everyone will be happy indulging in carnality without censure. Cronenberg's message here seems to be that of the creator of the parasites - that man has perhaps become too civilised to be happy.

'Rabid', however, warns of the dangers of medical men experimenting without proper trials - although Keloid initially saves Rose's life, his actions doom dozens of people (including himself). HAd he stuck to traditional menthods, Rose may have died, but the populace at large would have remained safe. The rabies-like infection spread by Rose is depicted totally differently to that of the arguably 'benign' carnal parasites of 'Shivers'. Unlike the celebratory ending of 'Shivers', 'Rabid' has an undeniably bleak and tragic feel, an emotion Cronenberg deepens in his next auteur film, 'The Brood'.

The comments by various reviewers here about 'Rabid' being a 'zombie' film are also a bit simplistic. 'Shivers' does resemble Richard Matheson's novel 'I Am Legend' (and its first, best and most faithful film version, 'The Last Man on Earth') in that it does present the idea of "infected" human beings on the brink of forming a new society to replace the one they have overrun or are destroying - while 'Rabid' does not. George Romero once described 'Night of the Living Dead' as a depiction of what happens when 'a revolutionary group overthrows the existing society', a clear nod to his debt to Matheson's novel and 'The Last Man on Earth'. In fact, Romero's 'zombies' are NOT zombies at all, but Ghouls (this term is used 6 times in 'NOTLD') and the word 'zombies' does not arise in Romero's ouevre until 'Dawn of the Dead' (and then it is used once). It is the Italians who mis-used the word 'zombie' in Ghoul movies -such as in their titles for 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' -'Zombi' and 'Zombi 2' respectively. Zombies are strictly speaking Voodoo-spawned undead revenants that don't eat flesh, while ghouls hang around graveyards and do eat human flesh (remember the opening scene of 'NOTLD'?). The nomenclature everybody is using is wrong - a small, but important point. Just because the disease infected denizens of 'Rabid' lose it and start biting people, this doesn't make them zombies or ghouls - hence the title 'Rabid'.

Why not try watching the film again and looking at the way the characters are depicted? Cronenberg is far more interested in them as human beings affected by tragedy in 'Rabid' than he is in 'Shivers'. You could say that 'Rabid' is more conservative than 'Shivers', since it conforms more to the 'Frankenstein' school of traditional SF as a a warning in meddling with technology, while 'Rabid' is more engaged with the transformative psychology of New Wave SF usch as the sex/science clashes of J G Ballard's work.

Stephen E Andrews, author, '100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels'
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