Night of the Hell Hamsters (Short, 2006)

Night of the Hell Hamsters (click for larger image)Starring Stephanie Ratcliff, Paul O’Neill, the nice little brown one, and the little cream bugger

Directed by Paul Campion

15 Minutes

Few creatures can strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest souls faster than the hamster! Don’t believe me? Then you stick your bare hand into a cage full of the vicious little fluff-covered bastards and try to grab hold of one! I dare you!

You may think they are all cute, fuzzy, and snuggly, but you are wrong! I know the truth. I learned the hard way. I worked at a local pet store for several years, and every time a family would come in looking for a pet for their small child, they would always head toward the hamster cages. I always found myself torn between my duties as a faithful employee and those of a responsible human being. Do I take the commission, knowing full well that this poor innocent child was inevitably going to be screaming in the not too distant future, sporting bandage covered fingers and developing a fear of rodents that would stick with him for a lifetime? Or do I warn the deluded parents of what is bound to happen to their precious offspring’s digits and quite possibly their psyches and steer them toward a more suitable disposable pet?

I dreaded having to chase the diminutive demons around in the pine shavings, not knowing if the cute little brown one in the corner was going to be calm or if its fur was going to be quickly stained with the red of my blood. With my heart racing, I would feign bravery and reach for the less pointy end and hope for the best. Nine times out of ten the fiend would throw itself onto its back and plunge its razor-sharp incisors deep into my flesh. You see in reality hamsters are nothing more than furry little attitudes with sharp teeth! They are the epitome of true evil and are more than willing to let you know it!

Now reach into that cage! Go ahead! It’s fine … It’s just a hamster! You don’t mind the sight of BLOOD do you?

Well, if you do, then you definitely shouldn’t see a little film called Night of the Hell Hamsters! It’s a bloody brilliant, bloody good time, and just plain BLOODY! The blokes behind this movie know the truth about these tiny balls of nastiness! They have recognized the true malevolence behind those shiny, soulless black eyes and have brought it to light for the world to see!

Julie is a typical babysitter. She gabs on the phone until her (equally typical) horny boyfriend, Karl, shows up to raid the fridge’s beer supply. Julie had been hoping that Karl would bring his Ouija Board over for the couple to “play” with, but he wimps out and only brings the box. In her resourcefulness Julie uses a child’s alphabet puzzle and a shot glass to create her own version of the infamous board game.

Night of the Hell Hamsters (click for larger image)First blood is drawn when Karl tries to touch a pet hamster. (I told you they are evil!) Julie takes advantage of the wound and consecrates the colorfully lettered board with a drop of blood. Not taking the whole idea seriously, Karl summons “Spozgar” to speak with them. That’s where the story veers from typical and takes a speedy turn toward lunacy, and all hell breaks loose … literally! Julie and Karl now find themselves in a fight for their very lives against the family’s two pet hamsters!

So you think the idea is preposterous? I don’t! I’ve never known a hamster to need the excuse of demon possession to be a wicked little prick before!

Night of the Hell Hamsters is 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated, gore-filled entertainment! The premise may be a bit on the ridiculous side, but the direction and makeup effects are top-notch for a short film about hell-driven hamsters. So you can see the strings in a few shots. I don’t think they were trying very hard to disguise them, and besides, it’s a movie with levitating, demon possessed hamsters with glowing red eyes! Who cares about strings?!

From the moment I saw the title of this film, I was determined to see it! I was hoping it would live up to my expectations for the name, and boy, did it ever! It was all that I had hoped for and more! A fun story, respectable acting, silly creature effects, blood, gore, and disMEMBERment! Hell, the end credits were just as much fun as the film itself! Between the snippets of info about the hamster stars themselves and the fact that Hayes Petshop in Bromley supplied the hamsters and Hayes Butcher, also in Bromley, supplied the raw meat … coincidence? Hmmm? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Paul Campion is at the directorial helm of the Braindead-inspired Night of the Hell Hamsters, and there is definite proof of talent shown, with or without strings visible! Let me just say that Peter Jackson should be delighted with such a fantastically far-fetched homage to his early work, and who better to do it than a cinematic newcomer from New Zealand? One can only expect to see bigger and better things from Mr. Campion and the folks at Nimble Pictures, and I, for one, can’t wait!

4 out of 5

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