The rats are back.
Herds of rodents have returned to a pest-plagued corner of Brighton Beach a year after the city ended a nearby infestation.
"It's like a horror movie out here," said Mark Kuchinsky, a building owner who counted 30 on his Brighton 7th St. block one night last week. "The rats make my skin crawl."
Last January, a Daily News article exposed a massive rat infestation near Shore Parkway. City Health Department officials baited the area and killed the rats, ending the infestation - or so everyone thought.
Now the rats have returned, and residents say the situation is even worse than before.
The pests began to reappear in February when a construction project at the Eighth Street Bridge disturbed a huge underground rat's nest beneath the Belt Parkway crossing.
Since then, rats the size of small cats have taken over nearby streets after nightfall, frightening residents and destroying property.
Kuchinsky, 50, said rodents ate holes in his garbage cans and destroyed his garden. He's put out $250 worth of poison and traps, and removed 15 dead rats - some up to 18 inches long - from his property.
Sam Gomon, who also lives on Brighton 7th St., said the rats chewed through wires under the hood of his car when it was parked on his street.
Gomon, 63, had the wires repaired for $50, and his mechanic also removed a dead rat stuck to his engine.
When he starts the car at night, dozens of rodents scurry before his headlights.
"There're so many of them, as far as I can see," he said. "I can't take it anymore."
Some in the neighborhood have hired costly professionals to keep away the pests.