003797Reviews & Counting
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Willard order
Glen Morgan

Crispin Glover
R. Lee Ermey
Laura Elena Harring


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Willard is an odd, reclusive fellow who’s been pushed around all his life. From his asshole boss to his senile mother, everybody laughs and picks on the poor guy. The result: he can’t stand up for himself, has zero self-esteem and just as many friends. Then one day, he befriends a white rat living in his basement and starts to slowly feel accepted as he trains the thousands of other rodents that also inhabit his home. What’s he training them for? Stay tuned…
I don’t usually use the word “brilliant” when describing a movie, especially if said movie should fall into the horror genre, but I am proud to add WILLARD to the few horror flicks that I have loved, which include THE OMEN, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974), THE SHINING and THE EXORCIST. It’s rare when all elements that make a movie work come together in such perfect harmony. The casting of the ultra-weird Glover was pure genius. Nobody, and I genuinely mean nobody else could have played Willard as brilliantly and dead-on as Glover does here. His voice, his features, the way he moves and even the way he stares, wonderfully captured the character of Willard. Add to that, the fact that Glover is a great actor and obviously took his role seriously enough for me to actually care about him, his furry friends and the movie as a whole and you’ve got a great start to an eerie, exciting and moving horror movie.

Morgan’s stylish, inventive directing is another element that helped make this movie extraordinary. The ghoulish opening credit sequence and the fantastic “cat-attack” scene to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Ben” are two of the many memorable moments in this macabre tale that encompasses themes as varied as revenge, self-worth and jealousy. The casting of Ermey as Willard’s son-of-a-bitch boss was another coup worth mentioning and Jackie Burrough’s (Willard’s mother) performance has surpassed the disgusting, horrible and evil mother precedent already established by Anne Ramsey in THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN. Laura Elena Harring as the woman in Willard’s life was another pleasant casting decision as I’ve been positively infatuated with her since MULHOLLAND DRIVE. She’s as enchanting as ever in WILLARD.

Whenever you’re totally engrossed in a horror film as much as I was here, and you can’t find a single flaw from the dialogue to the acting to the sets or special effects (the rats, natch!), then you know you’ve found a very, very special film. There is another word for it too: brilliant!
Filmmaker commentary (Glen Morgan, James Wong (producer), Crispin Glover & R. Lee Ermey): I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am a person that cannot get enough of Crispin Glover. The man is beyond interesting and as soon as he let it slip in the commentary that he’d actually written a book called Rat-catcher in the eighties, I was jotting it down like it was the meaning of life. Needless to say, I was as happy as a little girl upon seeing his name included in the commentary track credits. As for the rest of the gang, they really get into cool tidbits on the making of the film and they’re all hip enough to make this worth the listen.

The Year Of The Rat (Documentary on The Making of Willard) : Easily the most in-depth and satisfying “making-of” feature I’ve ever seen. Glen Morgan hired a film student (Julie Ng) from Toronto to shoot an hour long (73:15 to be exact) documentary on the making of Willard. Julie’s wide-eyed and inquisitive approach in filming this was also a breath of fresh air that made this more than your average "ho-hum" behind the scenes documentary. It really is a shame that the film only made a measly 4 million its opening weekend because when you see and experience what the entire cast and crew went through to bring this great film to life, you will truly learn to appreciate what it takes to make a movie. On its own, this documentary is a must-see for anyone, from film students to casual movie fans, as it tracks an entire year in the production of a major motion picture in a very thorough, interesting and loving way.

12 Deleted/Alternate Scenes With Optional Commentary : Hey, guess what? I loved these as well! Crispin and director Morgan’s optional commentary on these cut/alternate scenes were very much appreciated by yours truly. I like knowing why certain scenes weren’t left in the film especially if I happen to personally think the scene was badass. Some emotional and some gory shots were unfortunately cut out but are luckily included here for your viewing pleasure. Another nice addition is the original and alternate endings. Enjoy.

Rat People: Friends Or Foes? Too fucking cool! This 18-minute documentary features the rat lovers and rat haters (exterminators) of America. Jesus, some of the stories these exterminators tell are positively chilling (there is actual footage of a house literally infested by hundreds of rats). The lovers of these rats (some have as many as 200 as pets!!) also have pretty sweet and endearing stories to show the good side of these animals (one of them is trained to save a plastic baby from a burning building and put it into an ambulance – too cute!). The documentary is narrated by actor Bruce Davison, who played Willard in the original film in 1971. Another fantastic feature on this DVD set!

Music Video - Ben by Crispin Hellion Glover With Optional Commentary : Crispin Glover is the coolest cat in town. In his commentary to the ultra-slick and surprisingly very sexy video for Ben (his recording of the song plays at the end credits of Willard and is, in my opinion, a great cover of the song), Crispin speaks non-stop, spewing out bits of info at rapid pace about anything he can possibly think of; not forgetting to plug his own movie (What Is It?) about a thousand times. This is the funniest 2 minutes of commentary to anything I’ve ever heard. This man is really nuts! And I love it!!! The video, on its own, gets a 5/5 from me. A superb directing effort by Crispin, please check it out.

Theatrical Trailer, TV spots and DVD-ROM online features.
What more can I say? The folks at New Line have provided a fantastic film with extras deserving of its brilliance. This is one of the most atmospheric, well-acted, original and fun horror films I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Forget renting it, Halloween is right around the corner, plunk down some cash for this movie and have a blast all year round. Believe me, you’ll never set a rat-trap again.
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