Ratman / Quella villa in fondo al parco (1988)

3.0 out of 5

Notable for starring Nelson De La Rosa, then the world's smallest man, this low budget production shot in the Dominican Republic showcases little of the visual flair director Guiliano Carnimeo displays in his Sartana westerns, with the result that the weaknesses in Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti’s script come through more.

De La Rosa plays the titular product of an experiment in combining rat and monkey DNA, who gets loose and kills people. Terry, Janet Agren, arrives from the US to identify the latest victim, but finds the body is not that of her sister, Marlis, Eva Grimaldi. Learning that Marlis, a model, went inland for a fashion shoot she picks up the trail. Sensing a story writer Fred Williams, David Warbeck, tags along.

Besides being borderline offensive in the way that real-life freak films almost invariably are, the sight of the tiny Ratman menacing and clawing his victims is somewhat ludicrous, more liable to induce laughter than horror.

The filmmakers seem to recognise this also having him leap from unexpected places, like a toilet,“He's the critter from the shitter”, and a fridge -not the sort of thing you'd want impressionable children to watch and emulate.

There's also a gratuitous shower scene from Grimaldi for good measure.

Worth a look for horror fans and those intrigued by the idea of Midgetsploitation all'italiana.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics