Vintage Pulp Aug 24 2021
RABID FOLLOWING
Marilyn Chambers converts the masses.


Zombie movies go back a long way. All the way to 1932's White Zombie. But David Cronenberg's 1977 horror thriller Rabid, along with The Plague of ZombiesNight of the Living Dead and a few other films, was a precursor to all the zombie apocalypse movies and television shows of today. The bizarre Italian promo poster you see above certainly gets across one element of the movie—its grim violence. As you can see, it was retitled Rabid sete di sangue when it played there. It originally premiered in the U.S. in 1977, but didn't reach Italy until today in 1979.

The concept is weird: a woman played by Marilyn Chambers receives an experimental skin graft and as a side effect develops a stinger in her armpit and an insatiable (see what we just did there?) appetite for human blood. When we later glimpse this stinger, it's ensconced in an anus-like cavity of a type that filmgoers would see again and again in Cronenberg's movies. Yeah, that stinger is freaky, and this flick hits on other levels of horror. There's dread, such as when doctors make ready to slice skin off Chambers' thighs with some sort of electric peeler. There's revulsion, which Cronenberg specializes in with his lingering takes on physical deformities. And there's pure terror when infected victims run amok.

Chambers is pretty good in this, with her acting holding up as well as that of the other performers. She also looks quite beautiful, a requirement for the role, since she's essentially a vampiress, using her looks to attract prey. Of special note is a snippet of her classic disco song, “Benihana,” which has aged well for dance music from that period. We should also mention that though this is a pure horror film, the plot also has a disease vs. vaccine element, perfect for the COVID era. We've written superficially about Rabid a few times in the past, and if you're interested you can see those mentions here, here, and here.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 22 2011
INNER CHAMBERS
When a woman says she’s ready.

Above, a super rare promo photo of American actress Marilyn Chambers, who we’ve discussed several times previously. Chambers, who starred in the mainstream horror film Rabid but is better known as the girl from the porno films Behind the Green Door and Insatiable, was born today in 1952, and died in April 2009. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 3 2010
FATAL POSITION
And now the screaming starts.

Japanese poster for David Cronenberg’s 1977 foam-flecked horrorfest Rabid, starring Marilyn Chambers. It's a two-sided B2 style promo, which means it's double-sided. We’ve already posted two Rabid one-sheets here and here, but each one we find is better than the last. We were not anywhere close to an age to have seen this when it was released, but we've seen it on DVD since and it's very effective, in a ’70s low budget way. What's clear watching it is that Cronenberg was headed for bigger things. You might even have thought the same of Chambers if you didn't already know her mainstream film career didn't work out. Along with the poster flipside we also have three rare promo images from the film. Rabid premiered in the U.S. in April 1977, and reached Japan today in 1978.

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Vintage Pulp May 29 2009
UNDERARMED AND DANGEROUS
She'd like to teach the world to sting.


We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking she has a penis coming out of her armpit. But no, it isn’t a penis—it’s a stinger. However, like a penis, it isn’t much to look at until it gets excited and wants to play. The game it prefers is the one where it gives you a dose of rabies so advanced you turn into a frothing homicidal maniac. We showed you the American promo art for Rabid not long ago, but you didn’t get a cockpit shot in that one, so we figured we’d be completist and post this amazing Thai art. Also, we figured another tribute to the recently departed Marilyn Chambers was appropriate. She’s been eulogized mainly as a porn star, but the best film she ever made was this one, in which she pricks the boys and makes them die.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 8 2009
RABID SEASON
Welcome to the Chambers of horror.


Marilyn Chambers doesn’t often get sufficient credit for what she did here—she made the first leap from porno vixen to mainstream lead. Yes, Rabid was low budget, but it was also general release, a modest hit, and pretty damn convincing as well, from both the acting and special effects standpoints. As a bonus, it features possibly the grimmest poster of all time. Plenty of adult actresses have tried to accomplish what Chambers did, including Sasha Grey in Steven Soderberg’s upcoming The Girlfriend Experience, but Chambers was the first and—based upon early word on The Girlfriend Experience—remains the best. Though Canadian director David Cronenberg has gone on to helm high-budget masterpieces like A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, Rabid remains a compulsory component of his catalogue. As for Chambers, she never really got another shot in a mainstream movie. The rest is (porno) history. Rabid premiered in the U.S. and Canada today in 1977.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 28
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.
September 27
1964—Warren Commission Issues Report
The Warren Commission, which had been convened to examine the circumstances of John F. Kennedy's assassination, releases its final report, which concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy. Today, up to 81% of Americans are troubled by the official account of the assassination.
September 26
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
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