6.2/10
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40 user 48 critic

Of Unknown Origin (1983)

A man becomes destructively obsessed with killing a dangerous rat, which has taken residence in his, recently renovated, house.

Director:

George P. Cosmatos

Writers:

Chauncey G. Parker III (novel), Brian Taggert (screenplay)

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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Weller ... Bart Hughes
Jennifer Dale ... Lorrie Wells
Lawrence Dane ... Eliot Riverton
Kenneth Welsh ... James Hall
Louis Del Grande Louis Del Grande ... Clete
Shannon Tweed ... Meg Hughes
Keith Knight ... Hardware Salesman
Maury Chaykin ... Dan Errol
Leif Anderson ... Peter Hughes
Jimmy Tapp Jimmy Tapp ... Meg's Father
Gayle Garfinkle Gayle Garfinkle ... Janis Wycoff
Earl Pennington Earl Pennington ... Mr. Thompson
Jacklin Webb Jacklin Webb ... Newspaper Vendor
Bronwen Mantel Bronwen Mantel ... Florence Riverton
Monik Nantel Monik Nantel ... Secretary
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Storyline

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. Written by Chris Holland <stomptokyo@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If it can't scare them to death, it will find another way. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Origem Desconhecida See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$540,446, 27 November 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,080,470, 4 December 1983
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film won two awards at the Paris Film Festival in 1983. They were the Best Actor award for Peter Weller and the prestigious Grand Prix award for the film's director George P. Cosmatos. See more »

Quotes

Meg Hughes: [Meg sees the house is a wreck] Oh, my God! Bart, what happened?
Bart Hughes: I had a party.
See more »

Connections

Features The Old Man and the Sea (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Not to be Underestimated!
4 October 2006 | by Nick_DetsSee all my reviews

This movie is about a large, smart rat threatening to undermine everything a worldly wall street climber (Peter Weller) has worked to create for his world. The movie is like it's clever rat...creeping up with more intelligence than should be expected.

Great movies work equally on separate levels so that a wide audience can take what they will from it and still enjoy it immensely. Although technically a B-movie punctuated by 80's camp, it is unmistakable that "Of Unknown Origin" is truly special.

It's unfortunate that this movie has enough unattractive elements to deter a viewer's interest. First of all, it's a "rat movie". When has that ever been a favorable genre? Second of all, Shannon Tweed's involvement, however early in her career, emits an odor of genericness and illegitimacy.

Don't be turned off by all these potentially fatal bad traits. Director George P. Cosomotos and Peter Weller had an interesting, artful collaboration going on in "Of Unknown Origin". The film has a tight focus on theme and story, and goofy, highly entertaining, cult-status-worthy performance bits from Weller. It's a fun film- there's no doubt about that. There may be cheese, but there's also sincerity in how the film refuses to take itself seriously. Also, the familiar moral of the story is shown in so fresh a form that you won't even care.

For a story that works so well on an intellectual level, it's a blessing that the actual rat combat scenes are a great time. As Weller's lost yuppie starts to lose his sanity, his battles with his furry foe become more and more extravagant. Let's just say the conclusion is incredible.

The title refers to the clouded evolution of rats. It also speaks of the burning, unavoidable core of our hearts that is pure and determined to defeat our dark sides. Our consciences? Our God? Or is it just a fear of a big friggin' rat? Ponder that if you'd like, but enjoy "Of Uknown Origin" regardless.


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