Taglines: If it can’t scare them to death, it will find another way.
Bart Hughes has a pretty good life, a beautiful wife, a young son, a good job with promotion prospects, and a renovated brownstone in New York. When wife and kid leave for a vacation, Bart stays behind to work on a project that will earn him that promotion, unaware that a certain inhabitant of his basement has other plans for his time.
Bart goes a bit bonkers trying to kill this rat, destroying most of his house in the process. Certain allegorical elements tie the household conflict to the “rat race” in his office, but the main event is certainly the night-and-day contest of wills between man and rodent.
Of Unknown Origin is a 1983 Canadian-American horror film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Peter Weller. It was written by Brian Taggert and based on the novel The Visitor by Chauncey G. Parker III. It was filmed on location in Montreal, Quebec but set in New York City. The film won two awards at the Paris Film Festival.
Review for Of Unknown Origin
Peter Weller, one of our best young stage and screen actors, is not at all bad in a rather terrible, Canadian suspense-horror film mysteriously titled ”Of Unknown Origin,” which suggests something from outer space.
The creature in ”Of Unknown Origin” is from inner space, namely the basement, being a rat that attempts to take over the recently gentrified house belonging to Bart Hughes (Mr. Weller), a hot-shot executive on-the- make who finds himself playing Ahab to this rather humdrum rat’s Moby Dick.
The comic possibilities of this are generally ignored in Brian Taggert’s screenplay and the direction of George P. Cosmatos, which features about as many shots from the point of view of the rat as of Bart Hughes. There also are a lot of close-ups of the rat’s jaws and front teeth, which, somehow, never seem as frightening as overly intimate.
Of Unknown Origin (1983)
Directed by: George P. Cosmatos
Starring: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Welsh, Louis Del Grande, Shannon Tweed, Keith Knight, Jacklin Webb
Screenplay by: Brian Taggert
Cinematography by: René Verzier
Film Editing by: Roberto Silvi, Hubert de La Bouillerie
Costume Design by: Paul-André Guérin
Set Decoration by: Serge Bureau
Art Direction by: Rose Marie McSherry
Music by: Kenneth Wannberg
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: November 24, 1983