Rabid or Rage ( do American's therefore not know what Rabid means ) begins and ends like Lawrence of Arabia: a motorcycle crash and a high body count. The similarity ends there.
Marilyn Chambers - the woman who occupies the dreams and fantasies of millions - seemingly recovers from this accident only to develop an appetite for blood.
Rabid is a modern, urban vampire film, and who better to direct it than Cronenberg.
In the hands of another, this film would be horrifically mediocre. The lonely country lane, the frozen body, the subway attack, the Santa shooting in the mall and the dark movie theatre - Cronenberg knows how to imbue a sense of emptiness and despair into each scene. The film is full of pathos and 70's paranoia. Fear of woman (especially such a sexual one - Eve and such like), fear of government and fear of those around us - Cronenberg feeds off such hysteria, just as Chambers feeds off her victims. The underarm worm is quite clearly a female penis.
I don't mean to make Rabid sound grand or profound. It isn't really. It's just Outbreak meets Vampire Circus. I do think, however, that Cronenberg always seeks to challenge Western values and boundaries by using hidden evils, distortions and deformed humanity.
Marilyn of course looks fantastic, and she is frequently topless. As an adolescent I was attracted and haunted by the idea of being attacked by such a woman. "No, no, don't go, it's freezing cold - hold me." You know that if you do, death will shortly follow, but who could resist?