Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ratman (1988)

Caution: Spoilers Galore

“I hereby confirm that I will present to the next International Genetics Congress the new hybrid I developed, by introducing the sperm of a rat into the ovum of a monkey.

This hybrid has – in its teeth, and under its nails – a very potent poison, one that produces a kind of instantaneous Leptospirosis. Its bite or scratch will kill a human being in just a few seconds.”

The lead-in is impossible to miss. Mad Scientist gives his Greasty Manservant feeding instructions for the beast, who reveals that “Mousy” has been growing crazy-strong on his strict raw meat diet. The Scientist and Greasy leave the rat warehouse, and in the very next frame, Mousy’s cage is empty! Buckle your seats, kids. Giuliano Carnimeo's Ratman is going to be a gnarly ride!

The flesh-eating hybrid snacks on a tasty, meat Popsicle while peering through tropical foliage at a sunny scene of swimsuit models frolicking on a beach for a sufficiently douchey photographer named Mark (Werner Pochath), who is snapping off shots of their sand-covered crevasses. Everything is going along swimmingly with the shoot until the lovely Marlis (Eva Grimaldi) discovers a decomposing body hidden within a rock formation. Team Beach Baby recovers from the gruesome find quite well; there are drinks to be drunk at the sand bar, and island men to be had.

Peggy (Luisa Menon), the New York Doll, is already running late for a date when the taxi cab she is riding in blows a tire. Incredulously, the driver tells her that “it’s the third one today, and I just don’t have any more spares!” She will, most unfortunately, have to walk the rest of the way. At night. Through the rough part of town. In a backless, mock snakeskin dress, and plastic pearls. To cap it all off with a glass of Pee Soda, the cabbie still makes the Senorita pay for the ride! Ahhh, ZUT!!!

While on her midnight stroll, the Doll hears an unearthly screeching sound coming from one of the buildings. She peers in the window just in time to see a fresh corpse being dragged out of view. Just then, she realizes that there is a brooding, shadowy figure approaching, so she runs off in search of a place to hide. Ducking inside a remarkably well-kept abandoned house, she huddles in a dark corner as the marauder drags the dull blade of his big, scary knife across the building’s frame. Screeeeeech. The tension of these several minutes’ worth of stalking is most delicious.

Peggy's would-be assailant turns out to be a sketchy-looking Latino dude with huge he-hooters. Definitely not the kind of guy you want to have to do a striptease-at-knifepoint for, if ya know what I mean! Unfortunately, the New York Doll snags her string of pearls, and the beads come crashing to the floor around her, one by one, in a violent cacophony of unwanted sound. Luckily (for the viewer, not so much for the broad), Ratman gets to taste her pretty flesh before the creep-o with the ugly knife does. The model’s blood-curdling screams cause the lurker to think twice about fucking around in abandoned buildings, and he takes off back into the night.

Fade to an airplane landing in the late afternoon sun. Fred Williams (David Warbeck), All-Amerian Writer Hero, shares a taxi cab with a stunning, young woman named Terry (Janet Agren) on her way to the morgue to identify the body of her missing sister. A true, old-fashioned gent, Fred accompanies the woman while she attends to the loathsome task of seeing a loved one laid out on a slab like cold cuts at a cheap buffet. But, wait…

“This isn’t my sister.
You’ve frightened me for no reason!”

The police are dumbfounded. Who can it beeee now?? Although they have no idea who the victim is, they believe they have caught the murderer, and instruct Fred to leave the investigating to “us professionals.” Yeah, buddy. Okie dokie. Later, the odd couple are forced to endure a do-over when the cops invite them to identify the body of yet another dead, blonde, clawed-to-shit girl that could be Terry's sister.

“This isn’t Marlis, either.
She’s in the jungle, on an assignment!”

“Feel the jungle! You’re an animal! You’re wild!”

Back to the modeling… The next shoot is a steamy (if not a bit jerky), full 4 minutes’ worth of Marlis prancing around, wet and braless, in an ill-fitting tank top, and (hello!) cut-off jean shorts. A walkman is clipped to her hip for added flair and a hip, sporty jaunt. Accessorize!

After slipping into a nearby cave while possessed by the driving, primal urges conjured by the photo shoot, Marlis discovers her second body on the job. Who's a lucky girl?

She blows off with the photographer (never in any hurry to inform the authorities about their grizzly finds) to grab their pal Monique, and get the fuck out of Dodge. But lo, and behold: Ratman climbs up out of the toilet and attacks poor Monique just as the dude is getting to her door (which rests at the end of a labyrinth of dangerous safety hazards, I might add).

“What happened to her?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s horrifying!”

Coincidentally, shortly after discovering Monique’s body, The Mad Scientist, Ratman’s creator, smokes Mark with his car and then takes him to his swanky lair so that he may attend to his wounds. Meanwhile, Marlis engages in one of the most viewer-friendly shower scenes these glow-in-the-dark Kitty eyes have ever seen. Post spritz-bliss, she hears some freaky, squealing noises coming from outside the window, and bolts out of the bathroom in fear. The beast's shadow is spotted darting across the hallway. At last, the hybrid has returned to his Master!

It’s Marlis’s presence; the Ratman is drawn to her, because he wants to spawn with her. It’s typical rodent behaviour, really. After narrowly escaping his bestial advances in the boudoir at The Mad Scientist’s lair, she rushes to Mark’s side for comfort and safety. After climbing into bed with him, she realizes that he’s already been shredded up pretty thoroughly by the Ratman. At this point in my discussion of the film, I should add that Eva Grimaldi is quite adept in the Art of the Terror Face. A face like hers makes one long for the next bloody disposal, simply to catch a glimpse of the wonderful ways in which her sinuous features will contort.

Mark the Photographer lies dead on the bed (his chest still moving up and down quite perceptibly, however) while the Scientist and his Manservant begin combing the joint for Ratman. Don’t worry, baby. I’ll explain it all to ya later.

Silly mortals! You think you can foil Ratman in his desperate search for world domination and bloody revenge on those who first created, and then caged him? Nofuckingway! The hybrid brute goes on a feeding frenzy while his unliberated rat pals look on from their cages, crying to get in on the action.

“Mousy” finally bites the hand (erm, face) that used to feed him, tearing a big ole strip off of the Scientist before taking him down to finish the job on the floor. Nice moves, little guy! Marlis hears the commotion from outside, and realizes that she is now alone with the horny, hybrid murder-monster. And also, that the recently departed Dr. Demento has the car keys on him! She makes a valiant attempt at retrieving them in order escape, but everything is coming up Ratman!

Marlis manages to put some wood between them (pardon the pun), but the Ratman claws through the door like it’s made of cardboard, which actually appears to be the case. Again, she stealthily gets away, and rewards herself by going into the fridge for a cold, refreshing Coca Cola Classic. Seriously! Meanwhile, Fred and Terry are still tooling around like a pair of idiots, trying to solve The Mystery of the Model’s Whereabouts.

Finally, day breaks back at the Rat Ranch. Marlis greets the dawn in a pair of pastel yellow shorts, and a flirty blouse tied at the midriff. Back to the fridge for some more… Ratman!!! Starsky and Hutch finally zero in on the missing model, just in time to find her lifeless corpse lying face-down and bloodied in the kitchen, having fallen prey to Ratman’s mighty paw.

The pair (who actually don’t seem that perplexed upon discovering Marlis’ body) head to the police station with some information that could crack those other homicide cases wide open. For some reason, the po-po just don't want to buy a story about a half-rat/half-monkey creature who feeds on human flesh. They are given Marlis' personal effects (which contain a Super Terrific Bonus Prize), and instructed to go back to America and get on with their lives.

All aboard Flight 106 to Ratsville! Please be sure to check all your flesh-eating monsters at the baggage claim. Thank you for flying Bloodcrazy Hybrid Airways, and have a safe and pleasant journey!

3/5 Kitty Skulls = Wait for this one to hit the Bargain Bin.


Anonymous said...

At the end she bites it emm err dies!? I thought the crazy rapey half-monkey/half-rat wanted to mate with her?? Was he too rough? Was she a lousy lay? All right we are going to re-write the ending of this movie for a good sequel.

Rat-Monkey-Boy breaks through the door as she is enjoying her Coke (most get the sponsors products in) and then attacks tearing her clothes to shreds - camera fades to black with her tortured screams as rat boy paws her prone body in suggestive ways. Cut to the cops/detectives/whoever is supposed to be solving this here mystery - they hear her screams, they break another suspiciously cardboard door down and shoot rat man down. Then running to comfort and cover poor prone naked chick and take her to the hospital for cleaning up. We then cut to a few months later and our little lass is now boarding a plane very much pregnant while enjoying another ice cold refreshing coke- fade out with appropriate ominous music.

And now we can write the upstanding awesome sequel - Son of Ratman - an original picture brought to you by the sci-fi channel.

Karswell said...

Well it's obvious to me why lil Kitty pounced upon this title! What a glorious freakshow. And "The Critter from the Shitter" might actually be the single greatest movie tagline of all time. But the critter on the box cover doing his "Bruce the Shark" imitation looks more like a cute widdle hamster though.

This appears to me like another "must see," or "must borrow" sometime, as unfortunantly netfux doesn't seem to have it for rent.

And here's a couple pre-code stories from June for you to accompany this one, that is if you're still in the hungry mood for delicious rat peoples to pounce upon (I know how hungry a kitty can get!)

Tenebrous Kate said...

Mmmm... rapey manbeasts!

The elegant shot-framing, the careful costume choices, the nuanced acting... Wait--no, that's not this "Ratman"--that's Merchant-Ivory's "Ratman." I get them confused...

This movie kinda reminds me of the "Scare Tactics" prank at the research lab. "Do you need help, little man...?"

Kitty LeClaw said...

I thought the crazy rapey half-monkey/half-rat wanted to mate with her??

I KNOW!!! I wondered about that, too. Maybe that's what happens when you play too hard to get: you get dead. Could also be that Ms. Grimaldi awoke from a roofies-induced stupor, realized that a Ratman Rape Scene had been written into her contract, and threatened to walk if it wasn't removed. I wouldn't imagine being "that chick who got banged by a rat" would be much of a career thruster.

All disappointment aside, I am convinced that the idea for SNAKES ON A PLANE was inspired by the final, harrowing moments of RATMAN. Truly, this is a flagstone film we're talking about.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Kate: Yes, this thar be the 1988 RATMAN, of Primordial Dwarf Forced Into Slave, Low-Budget Labour fame.

RE: Scare Tactics, I love it. It's a not-so-guilty pleasure. Shattering Joe Average's mental stability is what it's all about! Didn't see this one, though. The hybrid rat beast certain has been improved upon over the years! Thanks for the linkety-linkage!

Kitty LeClaw said...

King Karswell: Actually, I realized last evening that I had regrettably omitted something (small and insignificant, but still) from your KittyMail Packet that just got posted. What I should probably do is bleep you off a copy of this fine, furry film, and dump it into an envelope with the other junk. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Yeah...

In other news, why you gots to talk about Carnal Knowledge With Ratman in such a way as to make me think: that's hot ??? If I end up thinking of this "scene" of yours next time it's Happy Hour... You're in big trouble, Son.

You kind of are anyway, though, just fer bein' you.

kindertrauma said...

Oh Kitty you are very brave! I have always been too freaked out to watch this one!

Kate, I remember that scare tactics episode it is insane!

Here be it:

kindertrauma said...

Again on Scare Tactics:

I love when he says
"Do you need help little man?"

Karswell said...

> am convinced that the idea for SNAKES ON A PLANE was inspired by the final

Actually, ever see Fer de Lance ('74)?? ...snakes on a submarine!

>why you gots to talk about Carnal Knowledge With Ratman in such a way as to make me think: that's hot ???

Because making you hot has become Karswell Priority #1.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Kindertrauma: Ratman does not look much like either a monkey or a rat. If you ever had an upsetting encounter with a dirty-faced dwarf with a dental problem, however, you might want to continue to avoid this movie.

Karswell: I have seen that movie, but let's not talk about it. I have a paralyzing fear of pretty much all forms of watercraft. Which is a shame, because August in Kitty Land has been one of the stickiest ever.

Karswell said...

>August in Kitty Land has been one of the stickiest ever.

I hear you... some days are so sticky I never think I'll get unstuck.

Don't want too.