Ratman DVD review

This miniature mutant maniac reaches new heights in bad movies

Welcome to the world of bad cinema. A world where films about tiny killers tormenting swimsuit models are perfectly normal, and where dialogue like the following flows freely…

‘I hereby confirm that I will present to the next international genetics congress the new hybrid I have developed by introducing the sperm of 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 Lepto-spirosis. Its bite or scratch will kill a human being in just a few seconds.’

Sadly, the crazed scientist quoted here never gets to find out what this ‘genetics congress’ would have made of his hybrid (nor does he get to realise his true dream, ‘The first time I saw it I was convinced it was a miracle… I thought I would win the Nobel Prize’). Not because the rest of the world was appalled by his creation of a murderous mutant (do they really hand out Nobel prizes for making those?), but because with in minutes of him announcing his intentions, the little monster has broken free.

With the premise established, it’s clear that the filmmakers didn’t really know what to do next with its teeny-tiny monster (played by 27-inch tall actor Nelson De La Rosa). Instead, we get what appears to be a random assemblage of scenes following two semi-related storylines that don’t actually come together until the very end. The more interesting of the two threads follows a pair of swimsuit models and a photographer that are the target of the Ratman’s murderous desires. Cue dumb dialogue, amusing death scenes and busty mono-browed actress Eva Grimaldi treating us all to a lengthy and completely gratuitous shower scene.

Of course it’s complete trash. But it’s so much fun. The dialogue is hilariously awful, Ratman himself isn’t exactly the most terrifying of monsters and the direction is all over the place. It’s like the holy grail of bad movies and deserves to find a special place in every horror fan’s DVD collection.

The only caveat to this recommendation is that the disc’s transfer isn’t that great. Clearly hampered by the quality of the source material, the anamorphic 1.78:1 image lacks the detail and clarity of most of Shameless Screen Entertainment’s previous releases. At best it’s a slight step-up from VHS, but considering the film in question, it almost feels fitting. The mono soundtrack is a little better, although as with so many English dubs of Italian exploitation films, there’s very little relation between lip movement and the words you’ll hear. The only extras are trailers for other exploitation classics currently available on DVD from Shameless.

Shameless Screen Entertainment, R2 DVD, £13, On sale now