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


George P. Cosmatos


Chauncey G. Parker III (novel), Brian Taggert (screenplay)
2 wins. See more awards »





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


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


Peter Weller (Robocop) Turns his home into a battleground against an enemy... See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


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 »


Bart Hughes: You never said anything about rubber gloves, you boneheaded fart.
See more »


Featured in That Rat Movie! (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Of man and rat
10 June 2008 | by SuperunknovvnSee all my reviews

This is the story of a man (Bart Hughes played by Peter Weller) who becomes obsessed with a little rat problem he's having at his newly renovated house. Instead of focusing on Bart's growing insanity, the director unfortunately showcases the rat as a vicious and dangerous beast. Although there are some quite effective closeups of the rat-villain, we never really feel any threat emerging from this little creature. Bart's obsession seems all but unbelievable. It's implausible that he would not just move to a hotel or try (harder) to contact an exterminator. Also, the movie just doesn't seem to have any real purpose. After a quick showdown it just ends, leaving some plot lines (Bart's job, his relationship to his family) unresolved.

"Of Unknown Origin" is still a very watchable movie. The pacing is quick and Weller does a pretty decent job in this one man-show. Had director George P. Cosmatos added anything to make it more than a mere monster movie, "Of Unknown Origin" would no be the obscure left-over from the early 80's that it is.

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Release Date:

24 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Of Unknown Origin See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$540,446, 27 November 1983

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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