Tuesday, April 19, 2016

70’s Canadian Swinger Zombies, or Marilyn Chambers in Rabid

Canadian director David Cronenberg made Rabid (1977), a bio-horror classic starring porn queen Marilyn Chambers (Behind the Green Door, 1972) in her mainstream debut as Rose.  Her first scene in black leather is reminiscent of Marianne Faithful in Girl on a Motorcycle (1968).  Regrettably she crashes but fortunately for her there’s an isolated plastic surgery clinic in the woods nearby, conveniently staffed by a mad doctor with controversial treatments.
The doctor treats her injuries with what writer Cronenberg calls “morphogenetically neutral” tissue, which mutates into a rather phallic stinger from her armpit that feeds on blood.  Mariilyn Chamber’s porn background and natural 70’s sex appeal becomes apparent as she uses her body and looks to attract her willing male victims, much like a vampire.  And once she gets her arms around you, you’re done.
The virus spreads with flu symptoms, including light sensitivity and bleeding from the eyes before going full 28-Days-Later-zombie, but with foaming mouths.  This is 9 years after Night of the Living Dead, exploring similar themes but without the supernatural element.  The mutation, infection, and outbreak is misdiagnosed in the press as rabies, and causes the inevitable panic and societal breakdown. Montreal tries to control the outbreak with hazmat suits, military checkpoints and martial law, but if we’ve learned one thing from this genre it’s all it takes is one infected to start up a new vector.
David Cronenberg made some of the creepiest horror movies of 80’s including Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983) The Fly remake starring Jeff Goldblum (1986), and Dead Ringers (1988) before going mainstream with violent crime thrillers like A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007).
Rabid crosses boundaries between science, sexuality, and horror in creepy and disturbing ways, themes the director also explored in Shivers (1975) with STD zombies.  He almost single-handedly developed the bio-horror genre, but what’s really strange is seeing all the doctors and patients casually smoking in the hospital like it’s no big deal. 


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.