Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Burial Of The Rats (1995)

Reviewed By: Billy

Somehow this movie escaped me for far too long. I’d never seen it – never even seen previews or the box cover in stores– and didn’t hear about it until I read Adrienne Barbeau’s memoir There Are Worse Things I Could Do. She devotes an entire chapter to it, calling it only “The Rat Movie,” which is a hilarious account of no-budget movie making. Even still, my interest wasn’t that great until she wrote about the young leading lady, who she described in…shall we say…less than complimentary terms. So I looked the movie up and lo and behold, that young leading lady is none other than Tower Farm fave Maria Ford.

It held the number one spot on my Netflix queue that night.

Well, Burial Of The Rats is everything Adrienne wrote it would be…and more. For starters, the credits insist it's based on a story by Bram Stoker. Which is strange, since the lead character in this movie is named Bram Stoker. Did Stoker write stories about himself? Is this an autobiographical film? This much is never made clear. However, anytime a movie stars Maria Ford and claims to be based on the work of a classic author (see: The Haunting Of Morella, Necrinomicon: Book of the Dead), you know you’re in for a journey filled with insane dialogue, overacting, and lot (and lots) of boobs.

This movie scores big time within the first 10 minutes. Bram is kidnapped by Maria, who is wearing this period-realistic thong costume under her robe:
Maria is apparently part of an of all-women rat kingdom, ruled over by Queen Adrienne, who controls the ladies and hundreds of rats with her magical flute. Yes…you just read that sentence correctly. She actually calls herself “the Pied Piper’s twisted sister” – a line that must have Dee Snider pissed as hell over his missed opportunity at the greatest band name ever.
Oh, and for no specified reason, Adrienne uses an adorable mini-guillotine to behead rats sometimes:
The all-women kingdom is pretty awesome, and even boasts Linnea Quigley in a non-speaking role amongst its ranks. The ladies are generally either topless or wearing fur bikinis, and come off exactly like the centerpiece skit in the comedy Amazon Women On The Moon, which features the similar premise of an all-girl kingdom turned upside-down by men. In this case, Maria starts falling for Bram – a strange development, considering a) he killed her sister, b) she’s presumably been a lesbian until now, and c) Bram looks like this:
Nonetheless, you know where this is going. Leave it to a man to screw a good thing up.

Let’s talk for a moment about Maria. In short, she’s awesome. Making absolutely no attempt to appear like a woman from the 1700s (or 1800s? 1600s? Oh, who the hell knows…), she speaks in her patented 90s-California-sex-kitten voice and manages to bear her ass in every single scene by wearing a thong that rides so high on her hips it comes off like the most extreme locker room wedgie ever:
The other women are mainly Russian, I think (it was filmed in Moscow), and dubbed to wonderful effect (in other words, appearing drunk). Several of them also bear a striking resemblance to Julianna Margulies at various stages in her career…for example, this pair, who seem to be showing us how much Julianna has changed between Ghost Ship and “The Good Wife”:
The rat gals go around on nightly “raids” – attacking establishments that prey on women, such as a monastery full of lecherous monks and a brothel that recruits kids. While I think we’re supposed to dislike the rat women, they’re actually doing really good work, and had my full support. Unfortunately, Maria is kidnapped (during a sword fight which must be seen to be believed) and so Bram must be “initiated” into the rat kingdom so that he can go rescue her. This initiation, by the way, consists of drinking the blood of one of the women and then being stripped naked in front of the rest. Which, at least to me, doesn't actually seem that bad…until it’s revealed that he’s also been forced to paint this logo on his back, which is just embarrassing:
Anyway…blah blah blah…we finally get to the climactic battle between women, rats, and men in colonial-wear, looking about as authentic as those actors who walk around Colonial Williamsburg making tourists uncomfortable. In an incredibly stupid move, the Queen breaks her flute during a fit and ends up being attacked by her own rats. Well, that’s what we’re told happens. However, by studying the following screenshot, it appears that the rats actually just stumble upon a pan of spaghetti sauce:
So, anyway, clearly this movie is wonderful. I’d like to personally thank Adrienne Barbeau for making it, and even more for writing about it and bringing it to my attention. I'd like to think that if Bram Stoker were still be alive, he'd be really proud that something he wrote was turned into a masterpiece of boobs, rats, and Prego meat sauce. What more could an author ask for?



  1. If only they regularly produced true, vampid, campy, horrible-yet-awesome stuff like this still. A favorite from my Flick Video days as a boy. It and Timegate: Legend of the Saddle Tramps, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and those wretched, shot on video Eurotrash knock-offs of I Spit On Your Grave. Great, bad, shit.

  2. Static,

    Yes...the early-to-mid 90s were the golden years of straight to video. I miss those days, too...thankfully, I'm still discovering ones I missed, like this one.

    And God, I can't believe anyone else has seen those "I Spit..." knock-offs. They are so unbelievably cheap. My dad's home movies of me and JM in elementary school plays have higher production values.


  3. Wow - thanks for giving this movie the attention it deserves! I saw this back in the day when I worked at a video store. I took a screener copy home and instantly feel in love with it. I haven't watched it in ages but from your review, it sounds like my fond memories of it as a classic of mid-'90s direct-to-video cheese are dead-on.

  4. What an amazing cast! You must have been drooling. Haha. I don't think I'll ever see this movie; your review satiates all forms of curiosity!

    Would you recommend Adrienne Barbeau's? I hadn't heard of it, but it sounds like it would be a fun read.

  5. Wow, just looking at the photos makes me curious. And the review sealed it for me. I'm definitely adding this to my queue. This definitely sounds like your type of movie! Great write up!

  6. Jeff, remains as awesome as I'm sure it was when it came out. It's completely enjoyable from start to finish, and runs a perfect 74 minutes...gotta love a movie that can't fill 80!

    Yes...Barbeau's book is great. She's very funny and you can tell she actually wrote it (unlike other celebrity...ahem...memoirs) -- and she comes off as someone who really enjoys being a "Scream Queen" rather than complaining about it.

    You will not be disappointed. Especially if you're a fan of boobs and killer rats. And really, who isn't?


  7. "...this pair, who seem to be showing us how much Julianna has changed between Ghost Ship and “The Good Wife”..."



  8. I'm so happy you reviewed this and gave it the adoration it deserves. I've seen this movie at least four times and it gets better with every viewing. Thank you for mentioning Adrienne Barbeau's memoir, I now have new book to acquire. I worship the woman and it warms my heart to know that she not only accepts her place in the B-Movie Echelon, she revels in it. Keep on writing, reading your reviews always make crappy days bearable.

  9. Yeah Billy, I seem to remember there being like 5 of them I think (the I Spit knock offs.) Pretty sure I watched them all in one day... Along with the equally godawful (but far more fun) Boardinghouse. It's hard to not resist seeing 5 movies with nearly the exact same cover (a Playmate looking bimbo, bloodied, clutching a weapon, on the worst "forest" set ever) and titles... I Dance on Your Grave, I Spit on Your Corpse, I Dance on Your Corpse, etc.

    The shot on video horror renaissance was an interesting time for us fans of painful shit... I tell you one you guys should track down. It's called 555 and it is a true stinker in the most fabulous sense of the word. It's hard to even find proof that exists. But it's out there.

    It has an electric pink box, with a bloody decapitated head on the front. And the tagline is something like "Every 5 years... Every 5 days... Every 5 minutes... HE KILLS" And to top that the back says "Caution: This film may cause permanent damage to your brain cells"

  10. Hell, I just remembered, I own the damn thing, 555... somewhere... I think it really deserves some Tower Farmitude, cause it is BAD. If you guys like I can mail it to ya? Haha.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Adrienne Barbeau has a whole chapter of her biography devoted to the filming of this masterpiece. More than she ever says about John Carpenter!

  13. By all accounts and measures, this is definitely an autobiography about Stoker told in only the truest terms lol..