Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Nights of Terror #16 - Of Unknown Origin (1983)

Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Director: George Cosmatos
Starring: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Walsh, Shannon Tweed
Format: DVD (Warner Bros)

- It's Peter Weller, four years before Robocop.
- And Shannon Tweed, the year after being named Playboy's Playmate of the Year. It was around about this time she started her relationship with Gene Simmons.
- Director Cosmatos' resume is sparse but includes a box office smash in Rambo: First Blood Part II, a cult favourite action flick (Cobra) and a fantastic western (Tombstone). He would also work with Weller again on the under-rated Leviathan. He died in 2005.
- Holy crap, now that's a rat trap.
- Anyone else agree that Peter Weller is a vastly under-rated actor? Buckeroo Banzai, Screamers, Leviathan, Naked Lunch, not to mention Robocop 1 and 2... all good stuff.
- The only thing uglier than a rat. Hairless baby rats.
- Uh oh, you messed with the babies. Now you done pissed off mama.
- Is this movie horror? My answer is yes. Although it's mostly a psychological thriller, it uses good suspense and has a few quite effective scare scenes.
- The rat-perspective shots are really well done.
- If you have any kind of fear of rats, this movie probably isn't for you.

Overall thoughts: I've seen this movie in discount bins forever. Heck, I finally picked it up for $3. The DVD cover was bland. All this pointed to a bad, bad movie. I was pleasantly surprised to find instead a simple-but-effective little psychological thriller about a man's obsession with a rat. Not just any rat. A big bastard with evil intent and intelligence to boot. There's probably some subtext about this man's battle with a rat affecting his progress in the business world "rat race" but forget that. Essentially Of Unknown Origin is a great little flick that'll creep you out, make you laugh and, if you've got any kind of fear of rats or mice, probably scare the living crap out of you.

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