Is 'Rats' the Grossest Movie Ever Made?

The doc from Morgan Spurlock features parasites, skin diseases and millions of the dreaded vermin — and some screenings serve cooked rat.

In 2004, a filmmaker came out of nowhere with a documentary about a seemingly familiar topic — McDonald's — that managed to upend public perception of the fast-food giant while bringing it to its knees. His next subject isn't likely to bend so easily.

In Rats, Spurlock weaves a horror-film-like portrait of the scourge of big cities: Rattus norvegis, or the common brown rat, which proliferates in metropolises across the globe. Highly adaptable and incredibly cunning, the vermin, Spurlock suggests, may very well outlive us all.

The film, which bowed at TIFF and recently had screenings at Fantastic Fest in Austin (where the Sept. 24 audience was served actual stewed water rat) and in Los Angeles, is being touted as one of the grossest ever made.

There are scenes of oozing parasites being pulled out of rat carcasses; shots of "pustular flesh" caused by diseases carried by by the creatures, according to The Hollywood Reporter's positive review; a visit to an English town where terriers shred them alive for sport; and a peek inside the kitchen of a Vietnamese restaurant that serves them the way, well, McDonald's serves cows and chickens.

At Fantastic Fest, no one threw up, according to Scott Wampler, a film writer and weekend bartender at Alamo Drafthouse, which hosted the screening. Says Wampler: "Fantastic Fest crowds are pretty f—ing metal." Think you have the stomach for it? Then tune in to Discovery Channel on Oct. 22 at 9 p.m., when Rats will scurry into the comfort of your living room.