Short film adaptation of the story. Made by myself and friends over the course of 2010. Rats follows the decline of our hero into dark and arcane realms.
This adaptation remains fairly true to the text throughout, but is fleshed out with extra detail (often borrowed from other MRJ tales) as required. Visit www.luddite-films.com for more on our film work.
Craig Malpass ... Thomson
Theresa Roche ... Mrs Betts
Review by Professor David Punter, University of Bristol
M.R. James is the greatest writer of ghost stories in English, and indeed perhaps the only one in whose work the unfortunate hero/victims have done nothing whatever to deserve their fate. Thus it is with ‘Rats’: the protagonist is perfectly innocent, but then he finds himself in the midst of an appalling horror. This short film depicts this horror in both graphic and also suggestive detail – there are moments of pure revulsion, and others where events from history swing in the sky like hallucinations, like effects of blindness. It treads a difficult path between stock horror nastiness and psychological tremor, and does it brilliantly: James is the trigger for this film, and it could not have been made without him, but nonetheless the haunting landscapes, the disorienting music, the suddenness of action, the appalling proximity of various doors (which I will not go into now) are the film’s own.