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Burial of the Rats

USA / Russia 1995
produced by
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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD