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Willard DVD


As accomplished as it is superfluous, Willard is a stylish horror film with plenty of style but precious little horror. Genre buffs will appreciate it as a visually superior sequel/remake of its popular 1971 predecessor, giving Crispin Glover a title role perfectly suited to his uniquely odd persona, in the same league as Psycho's Norman Bates. This time, Willard's the psychotically lonely son of the original film's now-deceased protagonist: a milquetoast introvert who befriends an army of obedient rats--lethal allies when Willard's pushed to his emotional breaking point by his abusive boss (R. Lee Ermey). In keeping with his memorably macabre episodes of X-Files, writer-director Glen Morgan excels with dreary atmosphere and mischievously morbid humor (including an ill-fated cat named Scully), and Glover gives his best performance since River's Edge. But even the furry villain Ben--an oversized rat with attitude--is more funny than frightful. With some justification, Glover's fans will appreciate the open door to a sequel. --Jeff Shannon

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Horror directed by Daniel Mann and starring Bruce Davison, Ernest Borgnine and Elsa Lanchester. Frightfully timid and completely submissive to both his aggressive boss, Al (Borgnine), and his controlling mother, Henrietta (Lanchester), Willard (Davison) finds comfort in the colony of rats which has taken up residence in his backyard. Led by Socrates and featuring a highly aggressive rat named Ben, the rats seem to heed Willard's wishes and, given confidence by this new-found power and the romantic advances of work colleague Joan (Sondra Locke), Willard vents his frustration at those who have held him down. However, things soon get seriously out of hand thanks to Ben's violent streak.

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