RAT MAN (1988)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Giuliano Carnimeo

David Warbeck ... Fred Williams
Janet Agren ... Terry
Eva Grimaldi ... Marlis
Luisa Menon ... Peggy

Country: Italy
Runtime: 82 min
Original title: Quella villa in fondo al parco

My good friend Chris Watson (writer/director of Zombiegeddon, Dead In Love) and I got together late one night to enjoy what I consider the most obscure film in my obscure film collection. The film has been unavailable in the states since like forever, and hadn't even made it to dvd until the sick and wonderful folks at Apprehensive Films got a hold of it. This rare gem of Italian horror is unlike anything that came before it or after. I just wish they'd had a better script and more money in the budget for lights.

As this promising yet disappointing film begins we are introduced to the world's stupidest doctor who has brilliantly combined the semen of a rat and the egg of a monkey and created the Ratman. Many things about this genetic sloppy joe make no sense. First of all, there is no human material, so where does the man part come in? He should be called rat monkey, if anything. Secondly, why the fuck would you want to combine a rat and a monkey? The world would be a better place without rats and monkeys, so why add another species to the garbage heap? Okay, I'll stop there, you get the idea. Anyway, back to the movie.

On a small, caribbean island, a blond model is murdered by a mysterious animal (Ratman) and her death is reported to the American embassy. A woman shows up in town the same time that a mystery writer does. His name is Fred Williams (played the excellent David Warbeck, The Beyond) and they become fast friends when they share a cab. She is there to identify the body of her sister Marilyn, who was supposedly the model that was killed. He decides to tag along and they find out that the blond model that was murdered wasn't the sister after all. No, in fact, Marilyn is out in the jungles with her retardedly-dressed photographer, taking pictures of her and her camel-toe standing by trees. Marilyn and her photographer get into some kind of car accident and end up at the dilapidated estate of (guess who?) the scientist responsible for the Ratman. Meanwhile, her sister and Fred decide to stop playing amateur sleuth over the dead model's murder and try and find Marilyn for themselves. They head into the jungle and nothing else really happens with them until later. Back at the scientist's chateau, Ratman watches Marilyn takes a nice, long shower (see pic below) and then he goes nuts and kills the doc and his assistant and Marilyn's dumbass photographer. Marilyn flees from the Ratman and barricades herself in the kitchen. In the morning, still alive, she decides to open the fridge she used to block the door with to start the day off right with a refreshing coke. But little did she know that Ratman had clawed his way into the fridge and he jumps out and scratches her face and runs around all funny.

Fred and the sister track Marilyn's missing rent-a-car down to the Ratman hacienda and they get out to explore the place. Of course they find a ton of dead bodies, especially Marilyn's, who lays dead in a very stupid pose. What they don't find is Ratman. Anyway, they return to the police station back in the city and report the deaths. Fred and the sister decide to return home and forget this all happened (because the death of a sister is really something that should just be blocked out of your mind completely). Little did they know that Ratman had stowed away in her purse and as soon as their plane is in the air, all hell breaks loose. The film ends there, and don't expect a sequel. Think about it. He's in an airplane. If he kills everyone, then that plane is crashing and I don't think Ratman is airplane-crash proof.

Despite an interesting, dare I say awesome, premise, this movie was kind of a letdown. Why? Well, the most important reason why is that the goddamn Ratman is barely in his own movie! We see a clawed hand here and there, an extreme close-up of a black eyeball, but this Ratman's a sneaky bastard so we see him about as little as possible, unfortunately. The filmmakers also decided to go with a very realistic lighting scheme to the movie, so when it's night, it's pitch black. This is a problem, though, because most of the movie takes place at night and most of the kills are obscured. Half the time I was trying to figure what was happening on screen, so if this was an artistic choice, it was a bad one. Most likely they just didn't have lights and used what was at the location. I also felt that Warbeck was wasted. He was such a badass in The Beyond, that it seems a shame to have him play such a marginal, dare I say unnecessary, part in the proceedings. He doesn't even get to meet the damn Ratman! But all in all, based on the high weirdness and obscurity level alone, it's a must-see if you can find it. Go to AFCINEMA.NET and purchase your copy now, or make your idiot friend buy it (I was the idiot friend, by the way) and watch it at his place. It's not a great movie, it's not even that entertaining, but its definitely worth watching, especially if you're a geneticist. This way you'll understand why you should never, NEVER, EVER, mix rat semen with a monkey egg. The more you know...

- Jose Prendes


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