Sunday, 7 August 2011



This is a monumentally silly hooters-and-gore movie from the 1990s, set in France but shot in Russia by Roger Corman's Concorde-New Horizons outfit: despite the stupidity and the fact that many members of the cast are, to put it delicately, not the planet's foremost thespians, it is intermittently amusing while remaining utterly terrible. Mercifully free of CGI and the dreaded synth score (the music is credited to veteran Russian composer Eduard Artemyev, three-time collaborator with Tarkovsky!) it's actually a fair bit of fun if you can get down to its chosen level.

Burial Of The Rats' big name is Adrienne Barbeau, Queen of the Rat Women: a secret all-female society of outcasts, runaways and victims of Perverted Men. Like the Pied Piper, she also has control over an army of rats who can strip a man to his bones in seconds (offscreen). Enter wannabe writer Bram Stoker (Kevin Alber), who is abducted by the Rat Women when he kills one of them in defence during a rat attack, leaving his father lost in the forest and his coachman dead. He falls in love with cute but giggly bimbo Madeleine (Maria Ford) at the moment of his execution, incurring the wrath and jealousy of bitchy Anna (Olga Kabo); the Queen hires him to write up the exploits of the Rat Women starting with their raids on the local church and the local brothel - but Madeleine is captured and taken to the town's torture dungeons....

I'm not a massive fan of the possessory credit - I'll make an exception for the authors' names on the Coppola Dracula, the Branagh Frankenstein and maybe the Luhrmann Romeo And Juliet for the sake of clarity but there aren't four versions of Burial Of The Rats that need to be handily distinguished - but the actual onscreen title card states "Bram Stoker's Burial Of The Rats". And apparently (I haven't read it) the film is very different from the story, so it's really Bram Stoker's Burial Of The Rats in the way that Moonraker is actually Ian Fleming's Moonraker.

It's a hopelessly shoddy (Madeleine's hairstyle changes from scene to scene) and unspeakably silly film: the Rat Women are all fabulous hotties parading in anachronistic fur underwear (or dancing nude for their Queen). But there is some fun to be had: there's a bit of energy in the fight scenes, grue in the torture scenes, the skin is plentiful and there's no knowing wink to the audience to convey how clever-clever they think they're being. It isn't very good, but it isn't eye-gougingly atrocious either.



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