We all know that October is considered “Halloween month” and even all of the non-horror fans get caught up in the spirit, watching scary movie after scary movie. Well, as you guys know, Roger and I do that every day of the year, so October is no different. My first review of the month is for Bruno Mattei’s (going by Vincent Dawn) 1984 sci-fi killer rat film, Rats: Night of Terror.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world in the year 225 A.B. (After the Bomb), Rats tells the story of a small biker gang who come across an abandoned laboratory in their travels. The lab is inhabited by newly growing plants and fresh water, along with a rich stock of food. The group quickly learns, however, that they are not alone. Kurt and his group are quickly surrounded and trapped by thousands of rats that have a newly acquired taste for human flesh!
We’ve all seen our share of ‘killer animal’ movies, but Rats is like nothing I’ve seen before. Director Bruno Mattei was able to capture the essence of Italian giallo cinema and fit it perfectly into a sci-fi film. Imagine Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, but instead of hordes of zombies, swarms of rats are the enemy in which the characters are looking to escape.
Rats: Night of Terror has the perfect blend of giallo, slasher, and sci-fi elements to keep you entertained and distracted enough from the awful acting performances. We’re talking real b-movie level stuff here. The dialog in this movie is rather corny, but some of the lines are actually pretty memorable. The title of this review, “Come to the Slaughter,” is one of many goofy lines that will more than likely have you laughing out loud. Wait until you see gang member “Chocolate” covered in flour, dancing around declaring, “I’m whiter than all of you!”
The real shining stars in Mattei’s rat flick are the score by Luigi Ceccarelli and Maurizio Trani’s special effects. Not as outstanding as a Goblin-scored project, this film comes awfully close, with an awesome classic Italian 80’s horror soundtrack. The chewed up corpses, eaten faces, and exploding belly full of live rats is sure enough to please even the most outrageous gore hounds out there. I know I was certainly satisfied.
If you are an Italian horror fan, I definitely recommend checking this film out. It is fun and original, while still paying homage to the original zombie movies of the 60’s and 70’s. Blue Underground has done an amazing job of restoring Rats from its original film stock; There is no better way to experience the terror than with the newly released double-feature Blu-ray, which also includes Hell of the Living Dead, out now. Be sure to pick up a copy today!
I give this film 3.5 gas masks out of 5.