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.
February 06
1958—Plane Crash Kills 8 Man U Players
British European Airways Flight 609 crashes attempting to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane is the Manchester United football team, along with a number of supporters and journalists. 20 of the 44 people on board die in the crash.
February 05
1919—United Artists Is Launched
Actors Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, along with director D.W. Griffith, launch United Artists. Each holds a twenty percent stake, with the remaining percentage held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo. The company struggles for years, with Griffith soon dropping out, but eventually more partners are brought in and UA becomes a Hollywood powerhouse.
1958—U.S. Loses H-Bomb
A 7,600 pound nuclear weapon that comes to be known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the U.S. Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, near Tybee Island. The bomb was jettisoned to save the aircrew during a practice exercise after the B-47 bomber carrying it collided in midair with an F-86 fighter plane. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost, and remains so today.
February 04
1906—NYPD Begins Use of Fingerprint ID
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph A. Faurot begins using French police officer Alphonse Bertillon's fingerprint system to identify suspected criminals. The use of prints for contractual endorsement (as opposed to signatures) had begun in India thirty years earlier, and print usage for police work had been adopted in India, France, Argentina and other countries by 1900, but NYPD usage represented the beginning of complete acceptance of the process in America. To date, of the billions of fingerprints taken, no two have ever been found to be identical.
1974—Patty Hearst Is Kidnapped
In Berkeley, California, an organization calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps heiress Patty Hearst. The next time Hearst is seen is in a San Francisco bank, helping to rob it with a machine gun. When she is finally captured her lawyer F. Lee Bailey argues that she had been brainwashed into committing the crime, but she is convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, a term which is later commuted.
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