“I feel strong; I feel very strong.”
After undergoing experimental plastic surgery, a woman (Marilyn Chambers) craves human blood, and turns her victims into blood-seeking, zombie-like creatures.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Canadian Films
- David Cronenberg Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
David Cronenberg fans will surely be interested to check out this early “low-budget horror film”, a “lively, if stupid” flick which is “sloppy in spots and not particularly inventive” but shows ample evidence of Cronenberg’s ongoing obsession with horrific bodily growths. Porn star Marilyn Chambers — “satisfactory” in her first R-rated role — is perfectly cast as a woman who, after being badly burned in a motorcycle accident and undergoing an experimental skin-graft operation, finds “what looks like a vagina-like opening in the skin” beneath her armpit. In a gruesomely creative twist on vampiric longings, Chambers secures blood from her victims by a “phallus-shaped projection” which emerges from her new opening and draws blood like a needle. It’s all really too gross and inexplicable for words, yet evokes provocative sexual metaphors: Chambers (the ultimate “sexually liberated woman”) is given hermaphroditic abilities, yet her “sexual” rampages result in sickness and death, starting a rabies-like pandemic (pre-AIDS) around Montreal. Meanwhile, her victims turn into zombie-like creatures, thus tapping into this horror genre trope as well. It’s all silly and low-budget, but shows Cronenberg’s firm directorial hand and unique sensibility, and thus will probably be of at least passing interest to film fanatics.
Note: It’s interesting to know that Sissy Spacek was Cronenberg’s first choice for the central role; but Chambers, despite her limited acting chops, ultimately strikes me as the better fit.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A gruesomely provocative premise
Yes, simply as an early, representative Cronenberg film.