Synopsis

Deadly Eyes (Night Eyes/Rats) begins with a simple lecture hall as Professor Spenser (Cec Linder – IMDB) discusses rats and their propensity for taking over the world.

The students attending are not paying any mind to the instruction. A blonde girl, Trudy (Lisa Langlois – IMDB) gets a note from her friend, Martha (Lesleh Donaldson – IMDB). Note that Langlois and Donaldson were also in the extremely fun Happy Birthday to Me which filmed the same year.

The note has a heart with an arrow with the names Trudy + Harris. Martha makes kissy faces at her. Their teacher, Paul Harris (Sam Groom – IMDB), turns around to see what the commotion is all about.

The students calm down and the lecture ends. Everyone leaves the auditorium, and Paul walks out with Professor Spenser, thanking him for the lecture. Trudy tells Paul goodnight, and longing looks after him as he leaves. Martha smirks at her friend’s crush. They all get on the bus and Trudy makes sure to sit next to Paul. He is completely oblivious to her crush.

Her boyfriend Matt (Joseph Kelly – IMDB) knows something is up but is unsure what. His friend Skip (John Wise – IMDB) knows something is up as well.

At a feed processing plant, Kelly Leonard (Sara Botsford – IMDB) and George Foskins (the incredible Scatman Crothers – IMDB) tell the owner of the facility that his corn feed will need to be destroyed because it has steroids and is unhealthy. George pets a plot-device cat.

George releases the cat, which runs to its inevitable death by puppet rat. Later, George checks the tunnels, but doesn’t see the rats watching him. And finally, we are at the credits sequence, and Scatman Crothers seems really happy to be watching all that corn burn. He looks especially happy to have his special appearance credit be during his sequence. He’s like, “holy shit! I’m in this motherfucker!”

Presumably that night in another part of town, an angry neighbor (Guy Sanvido – IMDB) storms next door to tell some rowdy teens to keep it down. Spoiler alert: They don’t. Hoserman (Kevin Foxx – IMDB) answers the door and tells him they’ll be quiet. Though he plays broom guitar at him when he closes the door so the neighbor storms off.

Hoserman heads inside to tell them it’s all clear and plays swiffer guitar at Trudy. In this picture, you can see the opulence of 1980s teenage fun. Broom guitar. Check. Miller beer. Check. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Check. Twinkies. Check. What appears to be a girlie magazine. Check.

Hoserman is a rare talent. Almost as rare as the music playing on the record player, which was recorded by Chuck McDermott and sadly never released.

Not gonna lie, though. Trudy looks comfy as hell here.

Trudy and Martha chat about how hot Paul Harris is because he’s an older man who knows what he wants. She calls his house to listen to his answering machine, holding it up to Martha’s ear so she can hear as well. She leaves kissy noises on the machine, which must have been weird as hell for him to listen to later. They bet a month’s allowance on whether or not Trudy will make it with Mr. Harris.

In a bedroom, Liz (Wendy Bushnell- IMDB) and Motorman (maybe? Not sure – IMDB) are making out. She stops making out to feed her baby sister, Caroline (Jaime Hyland – IMDB). She tells Hoseman to turn it down, but has about as much impact as the neighbor on his broom playing prowess. But if you want to know how much of a different time the 1980s were, check out how Lisa leaves Caroline in her high chair, as was the fashion in the 1980s when you didn’t want to deal with your siblings.

Half out, not strapped in. And Caroline comes to a respectable end due to her sibling’s parenting techniques. In the basement, the puppers in rat outfits growl menacingly.

Lisa feeds Caroline, and then decides to let Caroline eat her baby food on her own because that’s always a good idea. Listen, I don’t have kids, so I can’t really give much parenting advice, but if you leave your kid in a high chair unattended to smoke pot with your BFFs and giant mutant rats eat the kid. It’s on you, buddy. See, she’s toking up with her friends.

Bad Liz! I’m sure things will go well for you in the coming minutes of the film. They’re hungry and stoned so they decide to go and get food. Liz has to stay and take care of Caroline, so everyone leaves.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the rats have come up the stairs and are pulling at Caroline’s high chair.

Liz heads inside and into the kitchen where she finds a blood trail down to the basement.

Fearing the worst, as she absolutely should, Liz runs down to the basement where she is attacked by a rat. Death from above!

The next morning, at the Department of Health, Kelly goes into the office to talk to her boss, Mel Dederick (James B. Douglas – IMDB) who is practicing his casting technique with a fishing pole and his garbage. He lectures her on not causing problems with the business community since the city is in financial trouble. The mayor wouldn’t like it.

He is going on vacation and leaving her in charge, which he hopes is not a mistake. Across town, that night, Hoserman and Skip pick up food for the basketball team. Hoserman reaches for his bike and is bit by a rat puppet!

At the gym, the team is practicing and the cheerleaders are doing whatever the hell they’re doing. They will not be Bringing it On any time soon.

The cheerleaders take a break and Trudy and Martha chat about Mr. Harris. He’s so dreamy in his sweaty basketball getup.

Hoserman and Skip come in and Paul stops practice. Hoserman shows him his hand, and Paul sends him to the emergency room. He cancels the rest of practice and the team leaves. Matt catches up with Trudy and is like, “WTF?” And she just goes, “I’m not that into you.” And leaves. There is more to it with slightly better dialogue, but that’s the gist.

In the shower room Paul is freshening up. He puts on his towel and gets on a scale to check his weight. Trudy is there, waiting in the background. I don’t know if she was watching him shower, but let’s go with that. She’s a creeper, so being a peeper makes sense, too. Peeper creeper.

She tells him she loves him, and he’s like, “um. No.” And tries to get the hell out of stalkerville. She follows him to the locker room and continues to awkwardly seduce him as he rebuffs her. If this were made in the 1970s, there would be a softcore shower montage because he would be compelled to have sex with his high school student as his duty to being a teacher in a movie. It becomes his duty with a hit of scandal if he is a principal or school board member. Anyway, that is not this movie, and Paul Harris comports himself well, dodging her advances masterfully. I’m sure she will give up her allowance money and not pursue this failed crush.

He goes to the hospital to see how Hoserman’s doing. He chats with Doctor Gordon (Roger Dunn – IMDB), who he seems to know by name.  Dr. Gordon explains that the bite seems to have been the teeth of a rat but with something built more like a great dane. Like a dachshund in a rat suit, perhaps? He walks into Hoserman’s room and the musical cue for soft and romantic music begins. Yes, Kelly is here, too. Paul gives a basketball signed by the team to Hoserman. She is looking for, as Hoserman puts it, “what bit David Hoserman?”

Across town, a nice older gentleman, Henry Younger (Charles Jolliffe – IMDB) bids his lady friend, Mrs. Catherine Trumbull (Dora Dainton – IMDB) good evening and heads across the park.

He happily strolls while being chased by a POV camera with rat-growl voice over and a bass drop to a tense minor key in the background music complete with the Psycho (1960) slasher sound crash. The POV camera bits him and he falls in the snow. A rat puppet bites his neck and he gains his footing again. He screams for help as the rats approach him.

He falls over the railing and the rats run down the steps to consume him. Poor Henry. It doesn’t seem like Catherine will get a second date.

The next day, George meets Kelly in her office. She tells him to investigate the tunnels to see if any rats escaped from the feed facility. George is annoyed because he wants to play while the big boss is away. But acting boss, Kelly Leonard will have none of it. To the tunnels!

George tells her he saw a huge rat, but I like to think he’s referencing something else. Because I have the brain of a 12 year old.

The next day, Paul is at the park with his son, Tim (Lee-Max Walton – IMDB).  As Paul gives him a piggyback ride, Kelly comes jogging up next to a bicyclist with a magnificent porn stache.

Paul introduces them and then tells Tim to go and play hide and seek with the other kids. They flirt a bit as the scene shifts to children running around the park. In the tunnels, George drives his utility truck, trying to find the rat infestation. Tim finds a tunnel to hide in.

Cue rat growls. Kelly jogs off and Paul starts looking for Tim. In the tunnels, George peers into a pipe only to get bitten by a giant rat! He runs through the tunnels and up a utility ramp to a gated area. He makes it inside just in time. The rats hiss and growl menacingly at him as they bite the wires. He falls down, feeling faint and losing a lot of blood. He sees rats coming from another entrance. They overpower him and give him a hearty nibble.

Paul finds Tim and takes him home. Kelly finishes her jog at her apartment and bids Catherine good morning. It seems she lives downstairs and still doesn’t know that Henry isn’t going to be calling her anytime soon.

She tells Kelly that looks don’t last forever, and Kelly, as supportive as she can possibly be, says, “well, that’s true.” Kelly goes inside and takes off her coat. Inside, we finally see her house. And she has a dizzying array of marionettes hanging on her front stair. I mean, look at them.

Narrowly avoiding being murdered by the marionettes, Kelly pulls off her many layers of clothing to her tank top. She then conjures ancient magic to look up Paul’s number in a mystical tome.

Paul is in the process of making a TV dinner, but puts it away as she invites him to dinner.

See Kelly. See Kelly Flirt. Flirt, Kelly, flirt!

She does say that she met him that morning, though it was actually the night prior in Hoseman’s hospital room. Because Henry was attacked shortly after they met…at night. Later that evening, they take a walk in the park, holding hands. It’s cute and your typical 1980s one-day romance lead-in.

They kiss and she invites him up for a drink. He drinks brandy and then they have sex in a strangely awkward yet somewhat tender way. Being the early 1980s, I don’t know if Sara Bodford had a nudity rider in place, but I hope she got paid well for a short but sweet sex scene. If you have a hankering to see Sam Groom kiss Sara Botsford’s nipple, this is the movie for you.

The next morning, the phone wakes them up. It is bad news, and they rush to get ready.

They go to the crime scene where the body of George has been recovered. Afterwards, they go to breakfast and she tells Paul about George seeing a colony of rats that were huge. Paul explains that rats, even sewer rats, wouldn’t attack a man. Kelly invites Paul and Tim to the subway opening. Paul takes her to breakfast, but the mood is clearly broken by the death of her friend and earnest work subordinate. They decide to go to talk to Dr. Spenser, the lecturer from the beginning of the film.

Spenser recommends sealing up every escape route where the rats killed George and gassing them. But if even the smallest hole exists, they will find it and escape to live and kill another day. His  speech isn’t as dire, but he also hasn’t seen the rest of the movie like I have. So, Kelly decides to use her power as acting head of her department to close the sewer tunnels and fumigate them.

Because of this closure, her boss, Mr. Dedrick is forced to come back early from his fishing trip, so he is really not happy. In fact, the mayor had called him directly, so he expects Kelly to apologize in person at the big subway station opening.

Meanwhile, in the steam tunnels under the museum where Dr. Spenser works, he is putting away some books. As is expected in creepy old steam tunnels under a decrepit museum, he hears strange sounds. He also hears the subway and has a realization that the rats have survived and made it into the subway tunnels!

Back at Paul’s place, Tim rushes in and lays on the floor to watch cartoons.  Paul goes to take a shower. When he comes out, he checks on Tim, who is watching B.C.: A Special Christmas. HELL YEAH! B.C. Rocks!

You can watch it too, to get the most out Deadly Eyes.

Paul goes into his room and finds Trudy on his bead in panties and a lacy camisole.

Paul’s bedroom is very interesting. There are cigarettes on the nightstand and in the ashtray, though we have not seen him smoking at all during the course of the film. Anyway, she knows he did not come home last night and he just wants her out of there. Tim busts in and Paul tells him to go get back in front of the TV, but he happens to see Trudy. This was also the look on my face back in the day when I saw Lisa Langlois in her panties.

Tim goes back to continue to watch the B.C. Christmas Special. Paul tells Trudy to get dressed, and she continues to lure him with her hot undersage assets.

Paul is firm, though. I mean, resolved. He tells her to get dressed. As luck would have it, Kelly comes up to the door and Tim lets her in.

Paul ushers Trudy out of his room and is caught by Kelly. She, of course, assumes much more is going on and that she has made a grave error in judgment taking him home last night. I do find it interesting that she isn’t more upset that he is a high school teacher supposedly having sex with one of his students, but it was the 1980s in Canada, so maybe it wasn’t as big a deal then or happened all the time. I don’t know much about Canada.

Trudy leaves and Kelly bundles up Tim and takes him to the station. She tells Paul he can catch up later. Even though she is short with him, and seemingly upset, she puts on a brave face for Tim. Or she finds it mildly amusing and more embarrassing for her. I’m not sure which. He runs out to the balcony to tell her it is all a mistake, but she just waves and takes off in her car with his son. So, yes, Paul is letting his young son, who he has shared custody with go with, go off with a woman he met yesterday. This film is ripe for a visit from Child Protective Services, or since it’s Canadian, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

As he is on the balcony, Dr. Spenser tries to call, but gets the answering machine. He says that Kelly was completely right about the rats! She drives off and he gets the message. He calls Spenser back, but Dr. Spenser has decided to head into the tunnels again. He hears the evil rat voices as he wanders about. Then he sees this rat:

And he’s like:

So he runs and runs as they follow him. Somehow he ends up in an alley with a locked gate, where they overtake him.

Cut to the main event! Mayor Rizetti (Michael Mark McManus – IMDB) is meeting with reporters by a subway train. It will take the first ride to the new subway station. He does his public relations speech and invites everyone on the train.

Kelly and Tim arrive at the last minute and block his photo op on accident. They get on the train. At the new station, there is already a celebration going on. Elsewhere in town, Trudy goes to the Bruce Lee retrospective because Martha’s mom said she would be there.

The director of Deadly Eyes, Robert Clouse (IMDB) even added a Bruce Lee retrospective as the movies the kids go see. Supposedly, none of the actors who were in the theater scenes knew he had directed those films. He directed Enter the Dragon (1973) and Game of Death (1978).

He basically referenced his own previous films in this one. As the kids say:

Trudy tells Martha she is over older men, and Matt shows up. She apologizes to him and he accepts and takes her up the stairs to the second floor of the theater. Martha says she’ll wait for Skip. Meanwhile, Paul is driving through town like a bat out of hell. He stops at a subway entrance and runs down to get inside. He is told that the mayor’s train already left.

At the bowling alley where Skip works, he is nearly off shift. Unfortunately, he got there late, so the manager wants him to go and clear a jam in the lane equipment. He goes back to look, and surprise, surprise! He is attacked by rats and dies. Much like poor downstairs neighbor Catherine, Martha won’t have a date tonight.

The death effects turned out pretty good, though.

At the theater, Martha checks the door to the cinema and sees that the movie is well underway. She’s missing it while waiting. Inside, Trudy and Matt start making out. As is the case with all truly manly men, Matt wants to watch Bruce Lee a little more than making out. Trudy pulls him back, though.

And here, we get to my favorite sequence in the film.

The train rolls down the tunnel with bigwigs inside, you know, doing what new trains do.

The rat is like, “not in my fuckin’ tunnel!”

So it kills the power to the train.

“I love it when a plan comes together! Mwahahaha!”

The conductor has to tell the mayor that they have to wait for the power to come back on. The mayor isn’t having any of it and tells the conductor to get the train moving.  The conductor can only hope that a miracle occurs since rats are running the show now.

Back in the theater, Matt goes to put his popcorn on the floor and a rat bites his hand!

Rats begin flooding the theater and attacking everyone. The theater erupts in chaos. Matha is pushed on the stairs as panicking patrons run for the exit. Matha gets pushed through a glass door.

People die and Trudy ends up getting trampled on the stairs. I presume she will become rat food at some point once  they get their fill in the cinema. All over town, emergency services are being called to respond to the attacks. In the new train station where people are waiting, an announcer tells them the mayor’s train has been delayed due to mechanical difficulties.

The conductor tells everyone on the train that they need to evacuate and walk to the station. The mayor pulls his mayor card and tells the conductor to get it moving because he didn’t spent $100 million to get there on foot. The conductor tells him it could be 10 minutes or 10 hours, so they begin leaving the train. Paul rushes into the station and tells the cop (Michael Hogan – IMDB) guarding the entrance he needs in, but the officer, upstanding gentleman that he is, doesn’t let him in. Paul does what any battle-hardened ANTIFA-sympathizing high school basketball coach would do in that situation: he feloniously assaults the officer, steals his second amendment, and runs into the station. Oh wait, it’s a Canadian film. Right. Paul punches him, steals the gun, and runs to the tracks.

The cop follows him onto the tracks and Paul raises his gun to shoot. The cop fears for his life, but when Paul shoots, it is at a giant rat that was about to kill the cop.

Paul runs down the tracks. Further down, the procession is getting closer to the station. Paul yells to warn them to get back on the train. The conductor is like, “he’s gotta gun!” Tim and Kelly run to him as the rats charge the larger group. Pauls grabs the conductor’s flashlight when he drops it and is attacked. Even the mayor gets killed in the rat action.

Paul, Tim, and Kelly run away from the horror unfolding on the tracks as rats attack and eat the mayor’s group. Dederick runs back to the train and just happens to make it on board. He slams the door before the woman with him can get on the train.

Dederick crumples in fear in the train like the wimpy man he is. Further in the tunnels, Paul, Kelly and Tim search for safety.

Paul shoots a couple of rats, but knows he can’t keep it up since he is nearly out of bullets. They run down the tunnel filled with flammable barrels and find a chain-link cage. If this were a first-person shooter, Paul would already have a plan. It is not, and Paul currently does not have a plan. They hear sounds on the other side of a grating and realize it is the rat nest. Rats charge them down the hallway so they lock themselves in the cage to buy a few moments of safety.

He even shoots the lock off with his last bullet. At least it didn’t ricochet into those flammable barrels.

The rats are biting their way through the wire, so Kelly finds a welding torch, which is a pretty sweet find. Paul lights it and starts roasting rats.

They begin backing down the hallway. Paul gives Kelly the torch to keep the rats at bay as he and Tim overturn a barrel.

They roll it towards the rats and light it on fire.

Then they run like hell because the entire place is about to blow. Everything is explosive. Paul, Kelly, and Tim run back to the train and get on it without incident. Paul even says, “they’re all dead. Nothing could have made it through that explosion.” The power comes back on. Paul can’t figure out how to get the train moving, but Trainmaster Tim knows that he has to release the brakes. They roll into the station, and everyone claps. But the people start screaming as they see rats in the car in back feasting on Dederick. A rat jumps at the window in a final freeze-frame to credits.

That is a frame that I remember from my childhood as well. I loved it so much! And thus, began my love of giant rat movies.