17 September 2014

Willard (1971)
95 min.
Directed by Daniel Mann.
With Bruce Davison, Ernest Borgnine, Elsa Lanchester, Sondra Locke, Michael Dante, Jody Gilbert, Joan Shawlee.
"I've been good to you, Ben!"

This interesting and commercially successful horror was based on the short novel Ratman's Notebooks written by Stephen Gilbert.

Willard (Davison) is a lonely young soul who can't seem to relate to other humans. In fact, he feels downright estranged by them.

But he gets along fine with the rodents that plague his mother's decrepit old house. In fact, he even befriends a particular group of rats - and their leader Ben.

As the rats grow in number, Willard quickly finds he can control their army to his own advantage...including exacting some much-needed revenge on his malicious boss (Borgnine).

But Willard is about to find out that power doesn't come without a price...

Good performances from all (most notably Davison, Borgnine and Lanchester) complement a strange premise executed with sensitivity and pathos.

You won't forget the touching and violent climax which perfectly caps this '70s moodpiece.

Grossly influential on later horrors such as Jennifer (1978) and Stanley (1972), this was followed by the sequel Ben (1972).

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