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Rated R
Copyright 1983 Beatrice Film and IMP.EX.CI.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 30 May 2003

The Characters:  

  • Kurt - Leader of the gang. Seems to think things through with a level head. Eaten by rats.
  • Diana - Kurt's main squeeze who commits suicide (of all things). She did not want to be eaten alive by the rats. The furry monsters are not picky; they eat her anyway.
  • Deus - The group's mystic, as evidenced by his tattoo, partially shaved head, and yellow attire. Rat chow.
  • Taurus - Might have been Kurt's best friend. He becomes rat chow.
  • Video - Somehow male perms survived the apocalypse.
  • Chocolate - The moment I saw this name I knew it would belong to a black woman.
  • Noah - He loves plants and gardening. Weird for someone who has lived their whole life on a barren planet. Rat chow.
  • Lucifer - This man needed some anger management counseling. Falls and breaks his neck, then eaten by rats.
  • Lilith - She dresses like a magician's assistant. Guess how she dies. (All together now.) Eaten by rats.
  • Myrna - Every movie like this has a character who freaks out and that person is usually a woman. Grenade fodder.
  • Duke - Wears clothes befitting of Napoleon, if the legendary general ever shopped at a thrift store. Luckily, he is killed by a grenade before developing diabetes.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The narrator opens this film by informing us that, in the year 2015, nuclear war decimated our world. Humanity survived, but only by retreating underground. Some people eventually returned to the surface and now live as scavengers. The movie is set two hundred and twenty-five years after the war.

A pair of iguanas are disturbed by a number of motorcycles and an armored vehicle that looks like a poor man's M113. Now, since the entire surface of the Earth is supposed to be absolutely barren wasteland, the reptiles are mysterious. The humans supposedly survive on caches of food still leftover from 2015. Okay, so two hundred year-old food is a little preposterous. It is still mystifying what the iguanas have been eating for two centuries. Dirt?

Driving the motorcycles is Kurt and his loyal gang. They motor into an abandoned city (maybe just a town) and dismount. Taurus is assigned duties as their scout, which he takes care of in less than a minute. The hungry scavengers immediately enter a nearby building to look for food and water. What they find inside is nothing short of amazing. The facility is stocked with boxes of fresh food, a water purifier is located in the basement, and a modest nursery is home to a number of thriving plants. Shelter, food, and water - the place must seem like a paradise. The only worrying aspect is a number of bodies with the flesh gnawed off.

I wonder what could have gnawed on those bodies? Anyway, the characters are oblivious about the name of the movie they are appearing in. The bodies are heaved out the door before being burned.

The group retires after gorging themselves. Everyone relaxes except for Lucifer and Lilith; the pair climb into a sleeping bag and begin energetically screwing away. Not in a secluded place either. They have at it in the same room as everybody else. Kurt finally tells them stop the show and find somewhere more private. There is a little added comedy when the sleeping bag's zipper gets stuck (for those of you sleeping, having a stubborn zipper when killer rats are around is a plot point), but eventually the fornicators are relocated.

Lilith finally grows weary of the constant porking; she asks for a short respite. Lucifer flies completely off the handle, cursing and screaming. He storms out to find a bottle of hard liquor. At this point there are three people alone: Lucifer (drinking), Lilith (drowsing in the faulty sleeping bag), and Noah (tinkering around with the vegetables). All of them get et in short order, though the noise does wake Kurt and the others. They arrive just in time to see Noah covered in rats. The gang's leader carries a flamethrower, which he quickly turns on the much suffering man.

Already half-eaten by rats, then set on fire by the people he called friends, Noah chooses to stumble into the street and die alone. Hard to blame the guy. The surviving gang members follow the human torch onto the asphalt where one of them is kind enough to blast Noah's suffering form with a shotgun. What in the HELL did this guy do to deserve such treatment? Kurt and the others do not mourn for long, because they notice that the rodents have also vandalized the motorcycles. Taurus punts a rat in frustration.

The dramatic turn of fortunes gives Duke the perfect opportunity to wrest control from Kurt. However, the others understand that there is no way someone could see a horde of killer rats coming. The group barricades themselves into a room to wait for dawn.

Too bad that they forgot to board up one window... ...and Diana is standing under it when somebody dumps a bucketful of rats on her. Oh? Did I somehow neglect to tell you earlier? The effect of rats attacking someone is almost always realized by them screaming as buckets of rats are dumped over their heads. Just as funny as it sounds, I assure you. Not to get sidetracked by the special effects, but the rat attack leaves Diana covered in bites. Chocolate says that without water to clean the wounds, the woman may die of infection.

All of the males, with the exception of Duke, make a foray into the basement. They find the water tank is contaminated with rats and an army of the evil critters blocks their escape. To make matters worse, Kurt's flamethrower stops working. (Murphy, you bastard!) The trap is narrowly escaped by using a torch. Poor Taurus does not make it. Deus and Video drag Kurt away as rats rain down upon the poor guy.

It will come as no surprise that Duke refuses to open the door when the others return. The future looks bleak for the men trapped outside the room. A huge mass of rats is rushing towards them (actually, it looks like rubber rats on a conveyer belt). Chocolate turns the tables on Duke, just in the nick of time to save the others. I was amazed when Kurt did not gut his rival. Instead, he kicks Duke in the groin and says something like, "Don't do that again."

Plenty of silliness remains. Like finding Taurus' body and it subsequently turning into a rat cannon. Imagine rats being propelled out of a dummy covered in butcher shop scraps - you get the idea. Also, Duke trying to kidnap Myrna and freaking out when he finds the armored vehicle full of rats. The idiot throws a grenade at the rats. Good choice of weapon, but the rats are practically at his feet (moving away from them was an option). Pretty freaking stupid move. And, finally, Kurt and Deus make a last stand as Video and Chocolate look on. Get this, and you might want to sit, the rats batter down a door! Not to be outdone, the ending gotcha is completely ludicrous. Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Awakening" meets Italian directors (and their unique vision).

"Rats: Night of Terror" is really an Italian zombie film that forgot the zombies. I even think that the flamethrower turned up again in "Zombi 3," another movie that Bruno Mattei was involved in making. What sets it apart is, naturally, the numerous buckets of rats that our characters endure having dumped over their heads. It is almost like some weird crossbreed of "You Can't Do That on Television" and "Willard."

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Rolling opening credits are acceptable, just make sure the technician cleans the clear part of the matte.
  • Iguanas shall inherit the Earth.
  • When photographing rats, make sure to turn on the redeye reduction.
  • The post-mortem stain is caused by flammable compounds, mostly paraffin and kerosene, leaking from the body.
  • The primary cause of drinking water contamination is rodents mistaking cisterns for the local YMCA. (YRCA?)
  • If someone is covered in rats, the only treatment is complete immolation.
  • Superficial bites can incapacitate you.
  • Hand grenades explode on contact.
  • Insect foggers are the best way to destroy rat infestations.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 10 mins - About now he is wishing for a drink of water.
  • 18 mins - Commodore C64 coding language? (After research, it appears to have been from a game called "Zap.")
  • 34 mins - All of the other bottles broke after being dropped from less than four foot onto the floor, but this one survives a long fall into the stone sewer.
  • 46 mins - It appears that Duke has the drop on you.
  • 55 mins - Even spraying the rats with gasoline would be effective, but he throws the flamethrower down in disgust.
  • 76 mins - We are all a little confused about what Diana's exact plan was.
  • 82 mins - Your table is finally ready!


  • Video: "I must try and remember some of mom's old recipes. Baked mouse, rat pie, fried rats', really. If you cook them in vinegar they're fine."
  • Duke: "Damn rats are just about everywhere you look."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note ratsnight1.wav Narrator: "In the Christian year 2015, the insensitivity of man finally triumphs and hundreds of atomic bombs devastate all five continents. Terrified by the slaughter and destruction, the few survivors of the disaster seek refuge under the ground."
Green Music Note ratsnight2.wav Taurus: "If you must copulate, why don't you go outside and do it?"
Lucifer: "Why don't you just shut up? I was just getting ready to blast off!"
Green Music Note ratsnight3.wav Kurt: "The son of a bitch! We'll be eaten by rats!"
Duke: "Was it worth it Kurt? Did you get the water?"
Kurt: "It was polluted. The rats got there first and they're headed this way. Open the God damned door!"
Green Music Note ratsnight4.wav Recording: "The surface area is overrun by rats. They kill anyone not of the same race as themselves. Remember, human beings are their food."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipratsnight1.mpg - 2.0m
Noah suddenly becomes a victim of the terrible rat horde. I still have to ask: who is pouring the buckets of rats over that poor man's head? Mindless human slaves of the rat kingdom? A robot? Stagehands?

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