Hell of the Living Dead / Rats: Night of Terror

Production Years: 1980 / 1984
Release Date: 08/26/14
Studio: Blue Underground
Director: Bruno Mattei

You love Italian horror?  Than you're likely well versed in the works of Mattei.  That last name is synonymous with Spaghetti-sleaze.  No matter the director's pseudonym nor the genre of film, if you're watching a movie with Bruno at the helm you know exactly what you're in for.  Hell of the Living Dead and Rats: Night of Terror are two fine examples of the director's work, a perfect Italian exploitation double feature.  Even better, the fact that both films are presented in glorious high definition by such a prestigious company like Blue Underground. 



Hell of the Living Dead is my favorite of the two titles.  After the success Zombi (Dawn of the Dead) found in Europe it was only a matter of time before a number of directors were "inspired" to take a stab at the ideas presented in Romero's production.  Bruno's Hell does more than borrow from Dawn of the Dead, he straight up pulled plot points and music cues from the '78 film.  A Chemical plant accidentally unleashes a deadly virus upon a small island and it's up to a small group of skilled commandos to investigate.  When the group get to the island they are met with more than upset locals, they find a number of the people have turned into flesh eating zombies.


The squad enlist the help of a well endowed reporter (Lia; Margit Evelyn Newton) and together they try to survive.  Let's be realistic, Hell of the Living Dead isn't going to inspire greatness, the film has it's issues.  But it also has what I like to call that good ol' Italian charm.  I challenge you to not enjoy this film.  It's a glorious cheese-fest filled with stock footage, offensive stereotypes, gore, and yes, nudity.  If you like your horror with a good slice of camp Hell of the Living Dead is for you!


Rats: Night of Terror isn't quite as enjoyable as Hell but it's just as ridiculous.  In the distant future the world has been ravaged by nuclear war.  A rowdy group of bikers survive the apocalypse and go from place to place in search of supplies.  They manage to find an abandoned laboratory and for a moment they think their luck as turned around; they now have food and water.  But this is a horror movie after all, unfortunately for the bikers nourishment isn't the only thing lurking in the old building.


The group find themselves face to face with 1000's of small flesh hungry rats.  You read that right.  As if the deadly rodents weren't enough, turmoil and drama within the gang begin to tear the survivors apart turning them on one another.  A very strange take on the post-apocalyptic sub-genre.  As I mentioned earlier it's not as enjoyable as the previous film but it surfs along on it's own strange merit.  It also has one of the trippiest conclusions ever.



Over the last few years Blue Underground's track record has been impeccable, this double feature is no different.  For those who are weary about compression issues due to there being two full movies on one disc, worry not.  Each film is free of any kind of artifacts that compression would cause.  The two features are about even as far as quality is concerned.  At times Hell seems a bit superior, but things get bogged down a bit when the stock footage shows up.  Both features have good clarity, natural colors, and seem to be free of any real print damage.  Goblin and Luigi Ceccarelli provide two great scores, both of which sound excellent in these DTS-HD Mono tracks.  The scores never manage to drown out the actors, the dialogue is always clear and audible.  Great job Blue Underground!


Bonded By Blood (50:15 HD) - Claudio Fragasso (Troll II) served as the writer and assistant director on both features.  In this featurette Claudio discusses working with the director and the inspiration for the films.  There are also interviews with Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, and a handful of others.

Hell Rats of the Living Dead (08:39 SD) - An interview with the late director Bruno Mattei with Rats and Hell of the Living Dead being the two main topics of discussion.  This supplement was originally featured on Anchor Bay's DVD back in 2002.  I'm really happy to see it carried over to this current release.

Hell of the Living Dead International Trailer (03:46 HD)

Hell of the Living Dead Italian Trailer (03:47 HD)

Rats: Night of Terror International Trailer #1 (02:09 HD)
Rats: Night of the Terror International Trailer #2 (03:55 HD)

Rats: Night of Terror Italian Trailer (03:56 HD)

Hell of the Living Dead / Rats: Night of Terror Poster and Still gallery



When it comes to Italian cheese and sleaze there's no outdoing Mattei, Rats and Hell are two of the director's more favored films and it's nice to see them both presented in the same package.  Blue Underground has done a marvelous job with each film's transfer and included a few new supplements to boot!  As someone who owns both films on DVD I can declare this release completely worthy of the upgrade!  Click here to purchase the disc!

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