August 29, 2012

Willard (1971)

"A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only friends are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates."

"Willard" isn't part of my "50 Horror Movies Challenge". I only watched it on YouTube because I was interested in comparing it to the remake.

I don't really have a lot to say about it other than I wasn't very impressed by any of it. It was cheap-looking, obviously low-budget, and, apart from Ernest Borgnine as Willard's boss, I didn't think any of the acting was very good either.

The worst aspects about "Willard" were the scenes which felt truncated such as when Willard was going round trying to get money to pay his taxes. There was one in particular where the fat woman just walked away from him without saying anything. Maybe she was just being ignorant, but it felt weird.

I was actually bored with 90% of the the movie and couldn't wait for it to be over so that I could get on with doing something more interesting. It was so badly dated that I'm not surprised that it isn't available on DVD. I highly doubt that there would be anyone willing to buy it even if it came as a double-feature with the sequel, "Ben" (1972), which I haven't ever seen.

I'm not a big fan of rats. I used to have one of my own called "Boris" (named after the rat in Gene Kemp's "The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler" which, in turn, was named in honour of Karloff), but the poor little bugger froze to death in my parent's garden shed during a freak winter. I've always been more into cats.

Fortunately, there was a cat in "Willard" and nothing bad happened to her unlike in the remake. It was also interesting to see Sondra Locke, who gave Willard the cat, before she had really grown into her looks or could act.

Bruce Davison, who played Willard, did some horrendously bad acting in a style which even made Crispin Glover look restrained. I didn't like his character, didn't care about anyone else in the movie either, and the rat sequences were just stupid. Who the hell is scared of rats? Seriously? They are only big mice.

As a curiosity from the '70s, I suppose "Willard" is worth watching, but I don't recommend it. The original story, "Ratman's Notebooks", might have been a lot more interesting, but I've never read it.

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