Ah yes, Eurotrash cinema! One of my delights, and today we talk about an out of print work of genius called Rat Man. The film is dark, not in story but in visuals, devoid of anything now known as high definition. This one is going to be hard for most to find and see, but for those willing to venture out of their way to see exploitation film, this will be another instant classic.
Finding this film would have been impossible before, but since moving back to Los Angeles I've managed to find a much better selection of movies they meet the criteria of this blog. This particular film I found at cinefile, as it is the type of film that is not going to be seen by anyone that doesn't want to see it "all".
Much like other monster movies this film follows the work of a mad scientist. He spliced the sperm of a rat into a monkey to create our unholy beast. Fans of Weng Weng will probably think that the rat man is in fact him, but all signs point to someone else.
As the film goes through the simple story of a photographer in location taking pics of women, to subplots involving our man of science and a killing spree the viewer is treated like an idiot, throwing caution to the wind in order to get gag reflexes going with gratuitous gore.
The film seems dubbed, and the acting is sub par. You really feel like you're watching made for cable horror as the shots, acting, and low light make for something straight out of The Hitchhiker or early HBO studio films. Many will find this low quality style boring and crude, while horror buffs will love the constant use of the damsel in distress, mixed with laughable violence.
The actual rat man is not scary, the idea and premise lends itself well to nightmare worlds, but the execution is too clumsy to make it more than a low budget horror piece. The film is so dark that most of the time you won't even see the creature.
All that being said, Rat Man is worth checking out. It's got some sick moments, an while as a whole it fails to scare, there are points in the sound design and visuals that will stimulate the imagination to scare even the most jaded of scary movie fans. I kid you not, however, this film is very hard to find. You won't see this in Blu ray any time soon, and I had to really seek it out. Fans of Argento and Bava will appreciate the tense pieces, as the director here uses the same rubric as the other Italian masters of suspense. I liked it, you might too.
After writing this review I found several copies on dvd, rather than the VHS rip that I received as a rental. I apologize for over hyping this film as a rare gem, as you can find this one online and through random dvd stores across the nation. However, the vhs rip is the one I saw, and will testify as being awesome. Who needs dvd? VHS FTW!