Monday, 14 May 2012


I must have gone completely insane. I didn’t hate RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR.

My pal Jay Clarke at has been championing RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR since the dawn of time. He only got ignorant groans in response. The film is famously directed by shit maker Bruno Mattei (HELL OF THE LIVING) and written by his partner in crime Claudio Fargasso (TROLL 2). I remembered RATS being a  turgid, dull and uninvolving post-apocalyptic snooze fest  with a lot of horrifying animal cruelty. The night Jay showed up with a grin and T-SHIRT embezzled with the the rodent covered poster I knew it was time to act  I’d better do something fast before he showed up dressed as a giant rat with a flamethrower raving about how he would re-enact the FILM FOR OUR PAINFUL PLEASURE. I needed to take steps before someone got hurt.

So, I watched it.

And I enjoyed it.

Something must be wrong with me. Horribly wrong. 

THE THRILLING PLOT: In the world AFTER THE BOMB a bunch of out of work Road Warrior Extras show up at an abandoned building to…party…I guess? Maybe they want to start a school! The wooden blocks with legs (actors) discover that the building is a sustainable habitat, but it’s just their luck, that a bunch of nasty rats are going to PUT UP A FREAKING FIGHT!  They board themselves into the building (What was the plan exactly?) but they can’t fight the menace that are RATS. Eventually, they all get eliminated and the viewer is forced to witness one of the most ludicrous twist endings of all time.

The film will not surprise you. It’s exactly as cheap, badly acted and grating you’d expect from an exploitation still-born from the Italian Exploitation Factory. Yet, at the same time there’s an unnerving charm to the whole affair.  I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely watch movies to laugh at them. I’d much rather something that was GOOD then something BAD. There are way too many films that are BAD BAD (It hurts my eyes. They bleed) as opposed to BAD FUNNY.  RATS hangs in the middle (with a lean to BAD BAD) while making its own surreal waves. It’s obvious that the director is really giving it his ALL and truly wants to ENTERTAIN (Mattei has admitted that RATS is his favorite film).  Madman Mattei truly believe that this film about Killer Rats (TM) has something to say. "It will be thrilling feature length ride along the likes of THE BIRDS" he told the stoned investors.

It’s not.

Let’s be clear here. These are not giant rabid rodents or super rats with fantastical flame powers. They are normal looking four legged vermin. There's just lots of them and they’re PISSED THE FUCK OFF! They're so angry that they'll bite you. Yea! Bite YOU! SCARED YET!? Really, that’s all the rats do. They bite people. Angrily. Everyone in this film gets killed by having a bucket of rats dropped on them – from the top of a ladder, from the roof, from heaven (I assume). The person screams, contorts and die. What do you want? There's only so many ways to be killed by RATS! Do you not feel THE TERROR!? The NIGHT OF TERROR!? 

By the time the survivors boarded themselves into the building NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD style while the hysterical blond woman screamed “RATS WERE GOING TO GET THEM!” I was completely enraptured.  It was moving at its own dream like pace, there were a dozen of annoying characters waiting to die, and the flesh was being gnawed. Plus, it looked pretty good. People always forget that when someone says that the film is “THE WORST EVER!” they don’t take into account the technical or basic storytelling skills of the director. Look at the work of Hershel Gordon Lewis and you'll see a man who NO IDEA how to make a movie. RATS may move sluggishly, be terribly acted and have some loopy special effects, but it’s all in focus, and there’s a real organ tinged mood to the proceedings.  I wouldn’t go far enough to call it ‘stylish’, but it has its…charm.

I keep coming back to that word like a rat to cheese. Charm. There’s something infectious about a director working his ass off, a game cast, and a clueless screenwriter (Oh, Claudio) that birthed this unaware piece of fun...turd...FUN TURD (TM)  It’s not filled with enough good to make you wish there was more, or enough bad to make you wish it was turned off, it just glides over the sewage with a smile on its face and a thump up in the air. If you’ve made it this far, you should give it a watch with a group of like-minded academically inclined individuals to dissert its true sociological themes*. If this shit was made by Bunuel, people would be praising it to high heavens.

Will I enjoy the stock footage fileld HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD next? Will I give up movies completely?  Will I wake up as pure energy and  sail off into the cosmos to find the true meaning of light?
Anything is possible now.  

*Don’t watch it if you have a problem with Rat Cruelty. It must have been cheaper to just kill real rats, cause they’re on the top of the stuntman’s head when he’s on fire, when a stuntman go out windows, and when the actors kick them across the room.   

No comments:

Post a Comment