This isn’t an exaggeration: It’s been close to 2 years since we first got wind of a remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid, to be helmed by Canadian filmmakers Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska (aka the Twisted Twins). But as Jen explained to me personally not long ago, such is the slogging nature of moviemaking-especially in the Great White North. Still, fans of the dynamic duo can celebrate yesterday’s news that Rabid has officially gone before cameras in Toronto, where the movie is being shot. The news was accompanied by a press release which includes casting updates.
“Canadian production company Back 40 Pictures announced today that production has begun in the Greater Toronto Area on the feature film Rabid. Written and Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker in A Trunk, American Mary) and John Serge. Rabid stars Laura Vandervoort (Jigsaw, Bitten) as “Rose” a demure seamstress who goes through a radical transformation after electing for plastic surgery following a disfiguring accident. Ben Hollingsworth (Code Black) is “Brad” a fashion photographer. Rabid is a remake of the classic David Cronenberg 1977 horror feature film which was executive produced by Ivan Reitman. Rabid also stars Hanneke Talbot (Playing Dead) who portrays Rose’s best friend Chelsea and Mackenzie Gray (Legion, Riverdale) as arrogant fashion designer “Gunter”. Rabid will also feature WWE superstars CM Punk as “Billy” and his wife New York Times best-selling author AJ Mendez as “Kira”.”
Cronenberg has long been considered the Godfather of body horror, and the Soskas have reinvigorated the bloody subgenre in the 21st Century. In an interview with Dread Central last March, Jen described body horror for the uninitiated:
“For me, the easy way to describe body horror is it’s scientifically based, or medicine-based horror. The fear that we all have is when we see blood is that it’s going to be our own blood; when you see someone getting hurt, you’re thinking about your own flesh being hurt. That’s something that’s universal for everyone.”
Cronenberg’s Rabid follows Rose (played by Marilyn Chambers), a woman who becomes a biological vampire after being subjected to experimental gene therapy following a disfiguring car wreck. With plastic surgery becoming normalized, gene therapies advancing, and “transhumanism” becoming a cultural buzz-word, Rabid is an ideal film for a 21st Century reimagining. The Soskas’ penchant for penetrating body horror, illustrated in their indie breakthrough American Mary (released in 2012) makes them the ideal candidates for helming the project.
“A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic.”
It’ll be a while before we get a trailer or a release date. In the meantime, fans of the Soskas and enduring horror classics would be well-advised to revisit Rabid, currently available to stream on Shudder; there’s also an incredible Blu-ray reissue from Shout! Factory that’s a must-have for collectors.