Release date: April 8, 1977
Written and directed by: David Cronenberg
Produced by: John Dunning
Distributed by: Cinepix Film Properties New World Pictures
Starring: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver and Howard Ryshpan
The plot: Rose and her boyfriend Hart get into a motorbike accident somewhere in the Quebec countryside because a van parked in the middle of the road and wouldn’t restart. Rose and Hart are sent to a Plastic surgery clinic. Rose is severely burned while Hart suffers minor injuries. Rose is in a coma.
Rose then wakes up from the coma and a patient named Lloyd tries to calm her down and he suffers some sort of injury to his arm that later has him transferred to another hospital because the bleeding won’t stop.
Some sort of red stinger appears in Rose’s axillary which apparently can penetrate the skin and draw blood from others. Rose feeds off of a farmer who later turns into a zombie.
Martial law is declared in Montreal claiming a new strain of rabies is afoot. Rose refuses to believe she is the carrier and that she alone infected many people.
My Impression: The movie is defiantly has the feel from the 1970’s with the costumes and moreover the language and tone of those in the movie. The first question I have is why on earth would a severe burned woman in a coma be sent to and treated at a plastic surgery clinic rather than a hospital which would be more equipped to treat her other than the fact that the plastic surgeon wants to try a new transplant procedure on the patient. Even after the surgery the woman is not transferred to a regular hospital.
I suppose with the amount of medical knowledge during the 1970’s that perhaps some of this might make sense however if you are anything like me, you will find that the medical knowledge used in the film is not so believable given the advancements in medicine that we have all become accustomed in the 21st century.
I would classify this as a B horror movie. Take no offense but some B horror movies can be even better than grade A horror films. The suspense music happens right on time which is classic from this era of horror.
Secondly, why would a patient, especially a woman be laying in an intensive care bed naked? In other movies and even television shows from that era, patients either are still wearing their clothes or they sport a hospital gown. This is one of those things that also have me classifying this as a B rated horror flick unless this is just how Canadian film makers and more over hospitals back in the day did things.
Rose has finally woken up from her coma and escaped the clinic. Her first stop is at a farm where she tries to feed from a cow which makes her ill. The farmer comes in and treats her as one would expect men to treat a woman from that era (that she is just a sex machine.) She ends up using her little stinger to feed off him instead. That makes a statement in itself that women won’t stand for being treated in such a manner! This was back in the day when woman power or feminism was just starting out.
Now we have Lloyd who after checking himself out of the clinic turns into a zombie and eats the cab driver’s brain which causes an accident between a cab and a semi-truck. The accident itself was pretty good however eating the brains- well that was classic!
This movie is worth the watch if you love zombie movies and especially if you like older movies from the 1970’s. In this case, the film doesn’t so much reflect consumerism rather innuendos and blatant imagery of the political state of mind during the time.
Watch the entire film here.
-Roberta J. Downing
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