If You Make a Better Mousetrap, I Know Some Folks Who Could Use It

Dr. Seuss once wrote a book called And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street about a boy named Marco who dreams up a huge fantasy about what he saw walking down the street to tell his father, but Marco decides to just tell the truth instead. Seuss wrote it to illustrate how adults can stifle a child's imagination, and how much better it would be if they didn't. Well, I'm pretty sure of all the things Marco thought about walked along that Giant Killer Rat People was probably not part of it.... or maybe it was, maybe Marco was a twisted little kid.

Mulberry Street (2006) starring Nick Damici, Bo Corre, and  Ron Brice. Directed by Jim Mickle. 

The movie opens in an apartment building in New York where all the occupants have been given their eviction notices. There we meet Kay (Bo Corre) and her son Otto, war buddies Charlie and Frank, swishy neighbor CoCo (Ron Brice), and tough guy Clutch (Nick Damici). The apartment building is not in good shape as it is and the Super in the basement trying to fix the water gets bitten by a rat that appears to be dead. The residents of the apartment soon learn there have been attacks in subways all over the city where rats have attacked people in swarms. Meanwhile, Clutch is eagerly awaiting the return of his daughter Casey from Iraq; she has finally gotten out of the hospital and is on her way home. The news keeps getting worse and worse as the hours progress with the rat attacks giving way to people attacking each other and the eventual halting of the city's subways stranding people all over the city. On one of the broadcasts of the news in a blink and you miss her cameo is Scream Queen Debbie Rochon who starred in director Mickle's short film The Underdogs

The zombie outbreaks finally reach one of our characters as there is an outbreak in the bar that Kay works at. This scene is particularly memorable for how her boss, Big Vic, beats off the rat zombies with a frying pan. The super has turned full on rat at this point and Clutch and Coco trap him in a closet, and Clutch tapes his hands up and leave the building to bring Kay home while brawling with the zombies all the way. (For any  DC comic book nerds out there: Nick Damici's boxing work made me think immediately that he should star in a Wildcat movie.) We see a bit of how all the residents are coping, and it puzzled me when roomies Charlie and Frank have their windows open. There's only a massive outbreak of killer rat zombie people, by all means, lets make sure we still have fresh air.
Clutch finally manages to make it to save Kay and bring her back, and on the way there he finds his daughter who has been having a hell of a time getting home to say the least. There is a moment there that will always stand as one of the best horror quick twists I have ever seen. They do make it home and after a tearful reunion its time to get down to some serious rat stomping. There's some great scenes in the third act of this flick including Frank and Charlie proving without a doubt what the greatest generation was made of.

Mulberry Street might take a while for the action to get off the ground, but in that time we get such nuanced character development that it made everything that came after it so much more poignant. I do wish the crazy rat bastards had been shown a bit more full on, but rats do tend to live in and around the shadows. The music they use in the movie is also very good and a careful ear can pick up things in the songs that enhance the overall experience. So if you like zombies, but are tired of the same old same old, or you're just looking for some good horror thrills, then this is one movie that the totally Bug approved.


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