Burial of the Rats

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“That whirring sound you hear, is Bram Stoker spinning in his grave.”

This can only be described as utterly mad. Bram Stoker is kidnapped by a group of bikini-clad female vigilantes, ruled over by “the Pied Piper’s twisted sister” (Barbeau), who can control rats with her flute (when not decapitating them in her rodent-sized guillotine, I kid you not). He is coerced into becoming one of them because the Queen decided his writing skills could aid their PR skills, striking fear into their targets with his eye-witness accounts of the raids where the extract vengeance on evil men. Of course, one of the clan (Ford) falls for him, but when she is captured by the authorities, her colleague must mount a raid to rescue her. Meanwhile, Stoker’s father is trying to find his son. Oh, and I did I mention the topless ballet which is apparently the women’s chief source of entertainment? No wonder Barbeau permanently wears a pained expression. [Though she now looks back and says, “It was great fun but even at the time I was able to stand back and think, this is bizarre.”]

Obviously, it’s stupid as all get out: I didn’t realise Bram Stoker had a heavy American accent, while these rats apparently have piranha DNA, judging by the speed they turn their victims into skeletons – actually, I think they’re all the same skeleton… Still, as a lurid B-movie, it’s entertaining nonsense. Might have benefited from more OTT direction, to lift it up into the realm of something like The Perils of Gwendoline – I can’t help wondering what someone like Ken Russell might have done with this. As is, it boasts good production values [Corman was among the first to take advantage of cheap Eastern bloc labour and materials] and a couple of half-decent swordfights – especially when you consider most of the cast were likely chosen for their physical attributes more than their physical ability. There’s cameo appearances from B-movie icons Nikki Fritz and Linnea Quigley, but I didn’t notice them until the end credits. Taking it seriously would be a huge mistake: taking it with some beers and a pizza makes much more sense.

Dir: Dan Golden
Stars: Kevin Alber, Maria Ford, Olga Kabo, Adrienne Barbeau

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