A pretty entertaining time capsule from the early '80s, "Rats" is way better than that other VHS classic from Mattei: "Night of the Zombies" (aka "Hell of the Living Dead"). Italian filmmaker Mattei may be best rememberd for that atrocity. Zombie fans just love Italian living dead films, no matter how lame they are. He definitely fared better directing this strange little horror film inspired as much by "The Road Warrior" as "Day of the Animals."
In the future, after an atomic war has wiped out most of humanity, a group of renegade bikers wearing ridiculous Road Warrior-like clothes discover an abandoned research facility full of food. They decide to stay there, only to learn to their horror that the building is infested with super-intelligent rats that eat people from the inside out. Best scene in the movie has a female victim produce one of the mutant fur animals from her mouth. The bikers are forced to spend a "night of terror" trapped in the facility, hence the monicker of the movie.
With gore, some pretty explicit sex and some predictably bad dubbing, "Rats" is an entertaining sleaze fest from the Reagan era. The bikers are laughable, looking a lot more like '70s-era actors than the post-Apocalyptic punks they were supposed to be. Apparently seventies hairstyles took longer to disappear in Europe than they did in Australia or the U.S.
There haven't been many killer rat films since this one. Although nowhere near as interesting as "Willard" or "Ben," "Rats" is just cheesy enough to deserve a rental – if, that is, you like sleazy Italian horror films. Like many spaghetti gore fests, it sports a decent prog-rock score. But unlike most Italian exploitation films, "Rats" also has a kick-ass ending. Anchor Bay went to the trouble of digitally mastering the film for a DVD release in 2002.