Lightning Video | Review by Dan Taylor
is the virtue of the strong."
pseudo-intellectual bullshit from a man
about to be eaten by rats... hungry rats.
What do you think of rats?
Personally, I could do without them. They
occupy that lower rung of the food chain/evolutionary
cycle along with child molestors and lawyers,
their tails are too long, and if you have
mice and gerbils/hamsters, what is the point
of having a vicious and ill-tempered cross
between the two?
Well, filmmakers have always
found the rat to be a good ol' standby whenever
they needed to totally skeeve out an audience...
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE finds the ever-macho
James Bond flinching at a tunnel full of
them under the Kremlin; Steven Spielberg
used them a few times in the RAIDERS series;
and the films OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, DEADLY
EYES, WILLARD and BEN were good examples
of how rats could be used to full effect
as main characters.
However, it would take an
Italian filmmaker to show how the rat genre
and the post-apocalypse film could be merged
together to form one unholy union... and
that filmmaker would have to be Vincent
Dawn (aka Bruno Mattei), director of the
maligned zombie classic NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES,
in RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR.
You see, the bombs were dropped
in the year 2015, and they subsequently
brought about a period of the "second
human race." Some people went underground,
others went above to live life like our
prehistoric ancestors. Our story takes place
in 225 AB ("After the Bomb"),
and it's comforting to know that 250 years
into the future, motorcycles and bad fashion
sense will still be useful. Take good care
of those hogs boys and girls!
Kurt is the leader of a gang
of marauders, and they accidentally stumble
upon a deserted town that has a mysteriously
well-stocked supply of food, fresh water,
and vegetation. This, of course, leads to
much dancing, celebrating, and general rejoicing.
Until, that is, they discover that the town
also comes well-stocked with ill-tempered
post-nuclear rats and freshly gnawed corpses!
Wha... talk about putting a damper on the
party!!! And like the zombie rat at the
beginning of NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES, these
buggers go right for the ol' jugular!
Upon further exploration of
the town, the post-apoc marauders turn up
rats, more rats, and LOTS more rat-munched
corpses!!! Soon enough, Mattei (who also
wrote the story) has
set the stage and allows the rats to go
As expected, there are some
nifty scenes of rats munching on the gang
members, and ol' Bruno even pulls off a
really creepy scene involving a rat emerging
from the mouth of a fresh corpse while the
rest of the gang members stand around with
their mouths agape! Don't open too wide!
Other highlights include euthanasia by flamethrower,
a little behind-the-scenes political infighting,
and a gang leader who could easily pass
for a member of the Bee Gees!
The funniest thing about RATS
though, is the post-apoc setting. Introduced
so somberly at the outset, it was a plot
point that I thought would have some future
bearing on the flick. In actuality, the
only reason this plot condition exists AT
ALL is to provide Dawn/Mattei with a "shocker"
ending in the last 38 seconds.
While not as violent, gory
or bad as one might expect, RATS: A NIGHT
OF TERROR kept me awake and entertained,
somewhat of a rarity these days. I'd recommend
this fun and chuckle-filled Italian horror