Rabid (David Cronenberg / Canada, 1977):

Freud and Camus and the great Canuck fuck, a David Cronenberg bash. It begins with an abstruse dash of Dreyer (They Caught the Ferry) and briskly gets down to business, a biker chick (Marilyn Chambers) mangled in a road crash and pieced back together via "very experimental" skin-graft surgery. She awakens from her coma bewildered and bloodthirsty, under her armpit now lurks a quivering little Venus flytrap equipped with a peekaboo stinger; helplessly lunging at victims, she embraces, penetrates, and contaminates. The road to Montreal is littered with oozing cannibals snapping at each other, martial law is declared and machine-guns are brought out. On TV, the voice of Science weighs in: "So, uh... don’t let anybody bite you." The venereal upheaval that bubbled up within the high-rise community in Shivers logically spills out into a foamy Quebec apocalypse, a wintry landscape smacked with tremor upon omnisexual tremor. The atmosphere of all-pervasive breakdown is salted with angular anarchic gags, the bright blood spurting from a surgically gloved hand, jackhammers chiseling away the side of a stalled limo, a department-store Santa Claus slumped on his bullet-riddled throne. At the center of this whirlwind is Cronenberg’s droll study of Chambers’ provocative, weirdly affecting blankness, his camera following the dazed vamp into a adult theater named "Eve," where a lonesome clod can’t believe he’s sitting in the dark next to a porn queen. Cinema as a sustained bout of fever, a melancholy defense of Pandora, a world getting forcibly acquainted with new desires and new diseases. The pestilent aftermath is nothing but a quiet gray morning where the heroine is literally thrown in the trash, T.S. Eliot’s "heap of broken images." With Frank More, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan, Susan Roman, Roger Periard, and Terry Schonblum.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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