Deadly Eyes theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Clouse|
|Produced by||Paul Kahnert
|Written by||Charles H. Eglee
James B. Douglas
|Music by||Anthony Guefen|
|Edited by||Ron Wisman|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
Fortune Star Media Limited.
|October 28, 1982 (Canada)
May 16, 1983 (US)
Deadly Eyes (Also known as The Rats, Rats and Night Eyes) is a 1982 Canadian horror film directed by Robert Clouse, very loosely based on the horror novel The Rats by James Herbert. It was also Golden Harvest's only horror film. The story revolves around giant black rats who begin eating the residents of Toronto after ingesting contaminated grain.
The plot and subplots center on the movie's leading man, Paul Harris (Sam Groom), a divorced high school teacher and basketball coach and his interactions during a killer rat infestation with a health department inspector Kelly (Sara Botsford); a high school cheerleader, Trudy (Lisa Langlois); his students; and his friend, Dr. Spencer (Cec Linder), a college professor and rat expert.
Giant rats the size of small dogs living in mountains of grain full of steroids are rendered homeless when a health department inspector orders it burned. The Rats migrate to a suburban home occupied by unsupervised high school students. The Rats begin to kill a toddler left unattended in a high chair as well as a senior citizen, walking the snowy streets alone late at night. Scatman Crothers, who briefly plays a health department field inspector, is destined to become the next victim. Inspecting the bowels of the city's sewer system, he encounters a pack of rats. Scatman commences with 'the running of the rats' in the sewer, followed by his demise.
Paul telephones his friend, a professor who is a rat expert, who instantly concludes that the steroid feed had spawned a new breed of 'super-rat' that had migrated into the sewers in search of food. Upon hearing this information, the Health Inspector immediately orders the fumigation of the entire city sewer system, which is immediately and efficiently carried out with no apparent effect. The futility of this action is confirmed when the rat expert himself is attacked and killed. The Rats then move on to a bowling alley and a movie theater and make their first brazen mass attack on the unsuspecting public. The Rats select the viewers of a Bruce Lee movie, resulting in numerous deaths and a scene of fleeing film patrons.
Meanwhile, the city's mayor prepares to make an inaugural run of a new subway section - straight into a hungry pack of rats. While escaping the Rats, and sacrificing the other delegates, the mayor stows away on the empty subway train. Paul attempts to stop the festivities. He is forced to assault a cop and take his revolver. Paul proceeds down the tunnel and finds a disabled subway train with passengers just emerging from the cars.
Paul finds Kelly and his son just as the rats attack. The three are able to escape down the tunnel and find refuge in a fenced-in maintenance area which is the rats nest. Fortunately, they discover cutting torches and drums of flammable liquids and soon, the three escape from the tunnel as the rats are seemingly killed during a flammable explosion behind him. After the three survivors re-board the subway train to reach safety, the train reaches the platform and the party-goers for the new subway section approach the train and to shock, it's revealed that the three had boarded the same train as the Mayor did, which shows a small amount of surviving rats eating the body of the mayor as the final scene shows a bloody rat hissing at the train window.
Dachshunds wearing rat suits were used in the filming of Deadly Eyes to achieve the effect of super-sized rodents. However during filming, one of the Dachshunds playing the rats died on set, possibly due to suffocation from being trapped in the rat suit. Although the dogs were generally treated well during production, this was an unfortunate exception.
James Herbert, who wrote the novel upon which the film was based, was displeased with what the filmmakers did to his story, and described this and The Survivor as "terrible ... absolute rubbish."
- "Losing My Head: An Interview with Lesleh Donaldson - June 1999". The Terror Trap.