Wednesday, May 15, 2013

RABID - “All The Rage” (1977)

Greg Goodsell here! This h’yar film is known as RABID, aka RAGE, as this opus was known in French-speaking Canada. 

This was director David Cronenberg's follow-up to his international horror hit THEY CAME FROM WITHIN in 1975, and would capitalize on his theme of "body horror." 

Here we go -- this is the main reason we remember RABID today - porn superstar MARILYN CHAMBERS! From being the model that adorns the "Ivory Snow" detergent box, Chambers would rocket to stardom in the Mitchell Brothers' BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR in 1972! RABID was her bid to court more mainstream roles, but it failed -- she went straight back into starring in XXX-rated features well into her fifties! We imagine the adult film industry didn't treat Marilyn all that well -- her daughter discovered her dead several days after the fact in her trailer in Santa Clarita, aged only 56 years old in 2009.

In typical Cronenberg fashion, he names this plastic surgery clinic after something not many people know about. If you look up the word "keloid," this would be the absolute LAST thing to name your plastic surgery clinic!

Here is Howard Ryshpan as Dr. Dan Keloid, the head of the clinic. Those bushy eyebrows signify that he’s up to no good. One of the things I'm still taken about this picture is that it is so SEVENTIES it squeaks!

Long story short, Marilyn/Rose is out motorcycling with her boyfriend when she gets into a terrible accident and suffers terrible burns! Good thing that plastic surgery clinic is right nearby -- or is it?

Yet another Cronenberg-ian "in-joke." This fey patient is in fact the star of one of his first films, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (1970), Ronald Mlodzik! This under-utilized thespian would also star in Cronenberg's THE CAME FROM WITHIN (1975) as the slippery apartment manager. Mlodzik only has one line but it provides a much needed laugh --"Can't they put a sheet over her or something?!" he lisps!

All righty then, the Keloid Clinic does some emergency skin grafting on Rose. Reportedly a snippet of dialogue explaining why she has a vampire-like syringe in her armpit is rationally explained away -- but it was edited out at the last minute. It probably wouldn't make any sense either way.

Here is the bad boy. If you think that it looks like something else, it's intentional, Cronenberg says.

Marilyn wakes up in the hospital after a nightmare –

 -- a male patient next door runs in to comfort her –

-- and WHAMMO! She gets them with the vampire-like syringe in her armpit! Note the blood on the robe.

That swinger Marilyn swings all ways, so she sneaks out of the clinic at night and tries some minor bestiality with her armpit thingy on a cow in a barn! It doesn't work, as she strictly feasts on human blood.

Here's the thing: When Marilyn feeds upon her victims, they usually don't die -- they go on to become slavering, rabid maniacs intent on infecting others! Such is the fate of the randy farmer in the barn who interloped on Marilyn's humble attempts at quasi-bestiality!

Marilyn then returns to the clinic, and pursues some Sapphic action in the hot tub.

The brunette declines the love that dare not speak its name, there is a tussle, and Marilyn tosses her into a refrigerator! AAAAAAHHHHHH! One of the most searing images of 1970s horror!

Here is venerable character actor JOE SILVER, whose voice sounded like a 33 rpm record played at 16 rpm! He has a very tiny role, and the fate of his baby son is -- uh -- never mind.

Leaving the clinic, Marilyn is fixing to hit the big city -- to spread some more of her special kind of lovin'.

Soon, everyone is becoming infected, like this unfortunate Caknuckle-head policeman, gunned down while foaming at the mouth!

In a masterstroke of cleverness, Marilyn now stalks unwary males at a PORNO THEATER! Since this film is about a woman giving her partners the what for, and Marilyn Chambers was trying to leave her fleshy past in the past, this scene is ironic and highly self-referential -- long before Quentin Tarrantino had his driver's license! The movie on the screen is MODELS FOR PLEASURE -- and since this film is shot in Canada -- the movie must be strictly soft core!

AAAAAAAAAHHHH! Another shot of the syringe thingy! It's only onscreen for seconds, so get a good look!

Good night, sweet Marilyn! You probably didn't think it would end well, and it doesn't! Cronenberg would enter the realm of the hoity-toity and leave science-fiction and horror for good later on, but this flick has EVERYTHING. Check it out -- and if Cronenberg's THEY CAME FROM WITHIN is a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD variant, he would continue to steal from the best -- this is obviously based on director George A Romero's THE CRAZIES (1973)! Men in white contamination suits would become just as horrific as any zombie or vampire in this post-industrial society!


Craftypants Carol said...

i love this movie!!

and yeah - that crumpled up chick in the fridge shot was on the VHS box cover at my local video store and used to haunt my dreams.

Greg Goodsell said...

WOW! You got the Belgian one-sheet for this title. A classic -- they assumed anything with a Mercedes and a chainsaw would be irresistible to Belgians!

Eeegah!! said...

I've been forever fascinated by posters that have images not affiliated with the movie at all! Truth in advertising has never pertained to films!

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