Rats: Nights of Terror

"…You are our friends, right?"


Rats: Nights of Terror

Bruno Mattei. What can we say? You love him or you hate him. I belong to the latter, or let me say I used to. After the monotonous Hell of the Living Dead and Zombie 3, I went in to this film with low expectations. Boy was I surprised. Not only is this film great, but a monumental effort for somebody like Mattei, which kind of makes up for his past atrocities and redeems him as an Italian director. The plot was cohesive, interesting, and engaging. Between Mattei's direction, Claudio Fragasso's writing, and Luigi Ceccarelli's score, the viewer gets a film that is a pleasure to watch. Albeit, the plot is silly, but it doesn't prevent the film to work on a few levels. I mean when you just ponder on the notion of rats attacking people, you laugh. Never the less the movie is a ride through the good old days and reminds you how movies were 15 years ago. The film was released in 1984 and was obviously an Italian production which when unleashed, bore the title "Ratti: Notti del Terrore". Here in the U.S., we got it as "Rats" or "Rats: Night of Terror". So the Japanese put it on disc first, again as they usually do, and they do an often unheard of film the wonderful justice it so rightly deserves. Check it out.


The film is presented in a non-anamorphic widescreen ratio that is correctly framed at about 1.78:1 and looks fantastic. The night scenes exhibit a clear and intelligible picture which is good as there are a lot of night scenes (hence the title). Better yet, there is no pixelation, artifacting or break-up of any kind whatsoever. The colors are perfectly saturated and there are no signs of bleeding. There is some grain in a small batch of scenes, but it doesn't distract and has more to do with the low budget and film stock used by Mattei. The print was in great shape here and was very clear and finely detailed ( as much as possible from a film such as this one.) Great job that can only be bettered by Anchor Bay in 2002 when their release will benefit from an anamorphic transfer.


The audio also rises to the occasion and is an English Dolby Digital 2.0. We got lucky here, and got the English track as opposed to the Italian track, which is becoming common over in Japan as to divert us from importing the Italian classics (it couldn't be pressure from American studios, could it?) Overall, the audio did the job and did it well; there was no hiss and no cracking. The biggest benefit from the digital audio is getting to hear the amazing score in full glory. The score rocks and is reminiscent of older Goblin works; if you like that kind of stuff- I adore them- you will find the score truly improves the film. I cannot rave enough about the score. Finally we have Jap subs, but for us, who cares?


The only extra included is a three and a half minute trailer, but it's a good one. It's lacks the same clarity, picture wise, as the film, but it is actually well edited and lures you in to the concept with ease. A little low in this department, but what else could exist for this film?


A great disc for an even better film. Everyone needs this disc, if you've seen the film or not. Everything is well done; the story, the gore (only a little), the music, and even the acting. It's uncut and complete, but does suffer from some optical censoring over naked parts which lasts for about seven seconds, but this is the absolute best way to view this film…or at least until next year. While the disc is NTSC, it is Region 2, but if you are capable of playing it and affording it ($70 USD), you will find a rare gem that more than makes up for the cost. Now if Beam Entertainment could only release his wonderful Robowar on disc. Well, we can dream…






Review by Dolph Chiarino

Directed by Bruno Mattei
Released by Beam Entertainment
Region '2' NTSC
Ratio - 1.78:1
Audio - Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Running time : approx 93 mins
Extras :