Burial of the Rats
USA / Russia 1995
Mike Elliott, Anatoly Fradis, Roger Corman (executive) for New Horizon, Mosfilm
directed by Dan Golden
starring Adrienne Barbeau, Maria Ford, Kevin Alber, Olga Kabo, Eduard Plaxin, Vladimir Kuleshov, Leonid Timtsunik, Maya Menglet, Katiya Batanova, Aleksandr Pyatkov, Nikolai Penkov, Elena Puzova, Inna Khokhlushkina, Pavel Ostroukhov, Yuriy Kutsenko, Sergey Galkin, Dan Golden, Vladimir Badov, Oksana Ignatova, Gabriella Tkach, Anastasia Simakova, Marina Kuzmina, Tatiana Alekseenko, Elena Bulekova, Anna Shappo, Tatyana Polezhaykina, Tamara Tsotsoriya, Amy Segal, Anzhela Ptashuk, Vera Valge, Marina Zajtseva, Natalya Titarenko, Natalya Ryzhikh, Natalya Yudina, Elena Yudina, Julia Sipaylova, Olga Pashkova, Tatiana Rusova, Natalya Lozovskaya, Irina Sosunova, Olga Leonova, Ilona Belyaeva, Elena Zavadskaya, Inna Shulgina, Nora Genelin, Jay Copeland, Melinda Wesley, Marie Laurin, Nikki Fritz, Linnea Quigley, Natalya Medvedeva, Olga Popovich, Yuliya Zhiveynova, Jodi Sulzman, Lisa Salazar, Ilenora Trafimova, Eugenia Strogonova, Svetlana Panasyk, Svetlana Pirova, Marina Kvartalova, Evgeniy Degtyarenko, Brian Katkin, John Gilbert
screenplay by Somtow Sucharitkul, Tara McCann, Adrien Hein, based on the short story by Bram Stoker, music by Eduard Artemyev
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Wannabe writer Bram Stoker (Kevin Alber) and his dad (Eduard Plaxin)
travel the countryside when their coach is attacked, their driver killed.
Bram, trying to defend his father, kills one of the attackers and is taken
captive as a consequence (his dad comes out of it unscathed). Bram is
brought before a council headed by the Queen of Rats (Adrienne Barbeau),
who rules over a tribe of women hiding in the woods, and he's condmned to
death by pendulum, but when he's about to be torn apart, one of the women,
Madeleine (Maria Ford), stops the execution, claiming she can't kill him
because he only tried to save his father. Bram is thrown into a cell,
where he and Madeleine start develop feeling for one another. Anna (Olga
Kabo), formerly Madeleine's best friend, is furious and urges the Queen to
have Bram slaughtered - so the Queen sends him on a raid of a church with
her girls, figuring he'll try to escape and can be killed while attempting
an escape - but against all odds he proves to be an asset during the raid.
Later back in his cell, he writes about it on paper Madeleine has brought
him - and the Queen when she finds out is very pleased about this, grants
Bram some privileges and makes him court writer - as long as his writing's
really gruesome and will strike fear of the women in the forest into the
male readers. Bram really enjoys his new role as writer, so much so that
he suggests raiding a brothel next - and during the raid, Madeleine is
captured. Of course, Bram and the girls free her, but not before she could
give away the location of the girls' hideout to Bram's dad, who's
naturally worried sick about his son. During the raid, Bram's dad is taken
captive, and as a sort of initiation rite, Bram is to execute him - which
he of course outright refuses ... and then the soldiers from the nearest
village attack and a big battle ensues the girls aren't likely to win - so
the Queen of the Rats lets herself be devoured by her own rats. Madeleine,
Bram and his dad try to get away but are stopped by Anna, whom
Madeleine defeats in a duel only to then be shot by a soldier - but she
will live forever on in Bram's stories ...
In her highly
entertaining and likeable autobiography There Are Worse Things I Could
Do, Adrienne Barbeau doesn't mince words when it somes to her dislike
of Burial of the Rats, to the point where she never mentions the
film's title despite dedicating a full chapter to it - but of course, her
view is at least partially tainted by the chaotic shoot and shooting
conditions. That said, I'd be hard-pressed to say Burial of the Rats
is a good movie, as there's really much wrong with it, from its total lack
of character development to Maria Ford and Kevin Alber's irritating
central performances that seem to not at all take into account that this
is a period picture, to a few too many poor excuses to show girls in
skimpy outfits and/or topless. But that said, the film's some campy fun at
least, from the very trashy plot to the girls skimpy outfits, to really
the anachronistic acting of the leads that sometimes borders parody. So
it's really a film that's at least somewhat enjoyable - enjoyable for all
the wrong reasons, but enjoyable still.
By the way, the plot of
this film has nothing to do with the Bram Stoker story it's supposed to be
based on, other than the motives of rats gnawing humans bare to the bones.