Rats are a well-known, diminutive species that have always been the archenemy of humanity. They once plagued mankind with an epidemic, and now they’re destroying households. Some scientists believe that rats would be the most suitable species to repopulate the world, which might lead to a global catastrophe. This might be a joke, or Henry Kutter’s “Graveyard Rats” was way ahead of its time. “Cabinet of Curiosities” Episode 2, “Graveyard Rats,” is based on the same gruesome story and is directed by Vincenzo Natali. The story centers on Masson, who was the caretaker and gravedigger of a cemetery in Salem. Masson’s gambling addiction and greed for money only increased his debts, and thus he was forced to dig graves and steal valuable possessions from dead bodies. He stole jewelry from a corpse and took them to Hans Overfist (as listed on IMDB), a henchman for a moneylender. Hans, furious with Masson, told him that these jewels were in no way sufficient to cover his monthly installments. Since Masson had done the same things several times, he was given only one week to cover his debts, or his corpse might be found in the same cemetery that he used to dig.
Were The Rats Real Or A Figment of Masson’s Imagination?
Masson caught a glimpse of a rat while stealing pieces of jewelry from the corpse. However, those rats were not total strangers to him because Masson had done a little research about their origin and history. When Masson paid a visit to Hans, he blamed the rats for not being able to collect those jewels. He claimed that the rats in the graveyard were not typical rodents. Over hundreds of years, these rats have traveled here from far-off countries. They got here by ship from countries like China, Malaysia, and the Ivory Coast, where they dwelt in the cemetery. These rats dragged the corpses deeper into the graves. That’s why when Masson frequently dug the graves, he found them empty. Furthermore, Masson said that these rats were considered sacred vermin in other nations. Surely these rats might have possessed some sort of mystical ability. Although Mason claimed that he had read about Black Churches and believed that these rats might not necessarily be the keepers of positive energy. These kinds of rodents are sometimes found in the deeper graveyards where Satanic cults and members of Black Churches carry on their evil practices.
Hans thought Masson’s description was complete nonsense. But the question remains: is Masson’s rat theory true, or was it just a figment of his imagination? When Masson arrived at his apartment, he began to hallucinate a rat attack. He could have been slowly going insane out of anxiety that he wouldn’t be able to pay back the loan. When Masson finally dug up the ground to steal the jewels and saber from the shipping merchant’s corpse, he found those rats again, carrying the corpse deeper into the grave through a hole. Blinded by the urge to pay off the debt and seize the surplus, Masson followed them and eventually found a giant rodent larger than himself. While he was trying to escape the giant rodent, he fell deeper into the abyss and finally saw the deity of the Black Church.
The Graveyard Rats might be some kind of guard for this Black Church. Perhaps they transported the bodies and fed them to a demon that had been summoned by a cult of Satan. Otherwise, the rats’ existence can be pure fantasy. It is more likely to be an illusion because not only Masson, but other gravediggers, used to steal jewelry from these corpses in the graveyard, but they have never been victims of rats, for sure. Only Masson could see them, which may be a delusion stemming from childhood trauma. He even admitted to Hans that he had experienced something terrible in his childhood that was not depicted in the episode. Masson’s greed gradually drove him mad; therefore, he started seeing rats everywhere. His research and rigorous studies of historical records might have fueled his illusions and given shape to his imagination. Maybe Masson’s greed pulled a joke on him. His greed had crossed the boundaries when he saw a priceless necklace around the neck of a skeleton within the Black Church. When he went to take it, the skeleton unexpectedly came to life and yelled, “mine.” Like Masson, perhaps this skeleton might have fallen victim to his own greed and been trapped in the Black Church. Finally, Masson lost his life in an attack by a group of rats and was turned into a corpse. Ironically, Hans had predicted a similar fate for Masson when he told him that he would turn him into a corpse if he failed to pay his debts on time.
What Was the Black Church?
History does not specifically mention Black Churches or what Masson referred to as Satanic Churches. But, in Massachusetts, Salem earned notoriety for its infamous witchcraft trial. Many of the people of Salem in the 16th to 18th century were almost immersed in the darkness of witchcraft and satanism, which became an element of this story. This Black Church may have been a place where the occult rituals had been practiced. The deity, seen at the end of the episode, looks very much like the demon of “Lot 36”. However, I am not claiming that it is in any way related to “Lot 36.” Perhaps it was a deity worshiped in witchcraft who granted the wishes of the worshippers in exchange for the corpses.
“Graveyard Rats” depicts an entity that exists beyond any religion or belief of mankind. In “Lot 36,” we found several satanic elements such as the seance table, candelabra, or the four satanic books which surprise people’s conventional beliefs. Similarly, in “Graveyard Rats,” rats were represented as a mysterious species. Although the basic plots of “Lot 36” and “Graveyard Rats” may differ, these two stories eventually show how the human tendency for greed and desire leads to their inevitable destruction.