Willard/Ben Limited Edition Blu-Ray Boxset Reviewed by Steve Wells
Willard/Ben Limited Edition Blu-Ray Boxset is out on 30th October. Our guest reviewer Steve Wells casts his eye over Willard but don’t forget its sequel Ben is also included in the set. Now it’s over to Steve…
WHERE YOUR NIGHTMARES END… WILLARD BEGINS!
That was the tagline on this movie (rated PG in the US). It’s a bit of an exaggeration but don’t let that stop you from seeing it.
Bruce Davison, who later stole the original X-Men movie as senator Kelly, plays Willard, a young man who is a bit of a social misfit, working for the company co-founded with his now deceased father, with sleazy businessman Al Martin, played by Ernest Borgnine.
His sick mother (Elsa Lanchester – Bride Of Frankenstein) takes up most of his spare time with her constant demands. Even on his birthday she forces him to have a party which he clearly doesn’t enjoy, as it becomes clear that he has no friends, so she invites hers instead.
Rats are found in the back garden and when instructed to destroy them he decides to rescue them, lying to his mother that he has got rid of them, and befriends a few, naming them Socrates, Queenie and Ben. Then things pick up when he decides to use them to take revenge on those who have made his life such a misery. To tell you any more would spoil the enjoyment.
Willard is a film I haven’t watched in over 35 years, watching it late at night on ITV on a Friday night when they would show classic Sci-Fi and horror movies. I hadn’t heard of it before but it’s impact has never left me. Ernest Borgnine playing against type as a sleazy, cruel boss, is superbly cast and supporting roles by Sondra Locke and Lanchester are outstanding.
The Blu-Ray itself is wonderful. It’s only the home décor and fashions that make this film look dated. The transfer is superb, deep colours, no artefacts and a crystal clear soundtrack.
The Special Features include a commentary track by Willard himself, Bruce Davison, who is clearly passionate about the film. He is full of anecdotes about the film and film making in general, he rarely runs dry with his comments. It’s one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
All in all, Willard holds up well all these years later, and it’s so good to see it finally getting a release on home video.