As a maker of sci-fi/horror movies, Cronenberg seems obsessed with the links between sex and violence as well as the Body Snatchers theme of a possessed community. His earlier combination of the two strains in Shivers was too mechanically lurid and derivative to be very effective, but Rabid is far more successful. This time Cronenberg has opened up his story so that it literally portrays the panic and slow devastation of a whole Canadian city: a new strain of rabies reduces its victims to foaming murderous animals, and Cronenberg examines the mysterious sexual agency behind the plague with bewitching ambiguity. Rabid is also far better staged than its predecessor, and the best scenes, including one classic episode in a chicken takeaway, are pitched ingeniously between shock and parody, never quite succumbing to farce. None of the other recent apocalypse movies has shown so much political or cinematic sophistication.
Cast and crew
J Roger Periard