Friday’s Midnight Movie | ‘Of Unknown Origin’ (1983)
Weller’s patented ‘death-bat’ is available at all good hardware stores
Prior to having all of his limbs and most of his organs replaced by robo parts, Peter Weller tackled an ever so slightly mutated rat. Weller’s Bart has it all, a swanky Manhattan Brown Stone, a tall bit of blonde crumpet, a high powered 80s yuppie job, banter with the news stand lady, and his own corner office, oh yes Bart is going places. Talking of going places, Bart’s wifey is off to some kind of health spa retreat for the week and taking the kid with her. Cue beer, pizza, and getting the boys ’round right? Wrong. Bart knuckles down to some work, he has some 80s Gordon Gekko style bosses to impress.
However Bart’s new rat roommate has more gnawing plans in mind. Bart and his new rat pal do not have a lot of shared interests. Bart likes fine wine, interior decor and reading. The big rat however enjoys toilet water, man flesh, and remodeling furniture with his teeth. Needless to say Bart and Rat are at loggerheads. Time to lay some traps and sow some poison. Rat it would seem has other ideas, preferring to eat suits, flood the kitchen, and hang in the toilet bowl to scare the shit out of you when nature calls at 3am. Watch on as Weller’s Bart sinks deeper into madness as destroying the rat strips away his sanity, affecting his work-life and turning him into a loon circa Santa Dan Akroyd in Trading Places (1983). Needless to say all of those materialistic and vain pleasures that once seemed so important pale in comparison to getting one over on nature. It’s man vs nature and man needs to go caveman to win.
This is a great nighttime watch. Weller is on top form, as smarmy as he is crazy. Presumably the ‘message’ here is the frailty of man’s materialism when nature decides to bite back, and that comes across during the finale as Bart’s sense of house pride goes out-the-window in favour of all out attack. Personally I’d have liked it if old Ratty was a little bigger, at the size of a small cat its destructive power calls for the suspension of disbelief on more than one occasion. But if you like the idea of an 80s more violent version of Mousehunt (1997) or replacing the Home Alone (1990) burglars with a cat-sized-rat then this is the Friday Midnight Movie for you.