Now on Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack from director Daniel Mann and SHOUT! Factory is one of the creepiest films of the 1970s all because of “Willard.”
Willard (Bruce Davison) is the epitome of a social misfit! Taken advantage of by his boss Al Martin (Ernest Borgnine) who stole his father’s business out from under the family and mother Henrietta (Elsa Lanchester) who never lets up.
Feeling as if there is no hope in his life Willard meets Socrates, a rat who lives outside in the garden of his home. He finds solace in his friendship finding ways to spend more time with his long-tailed friend and meets another smart rat he names Ben.
When Willard’s mother passes away, he discovers that there is no inheritance and the taxes are due on the house. Inviting Socrates and Ben along with their friends to live in the house, Willard tries to find a way to get the money for the back taxes. Befriended by new employee Joan (Sondra Locke) tries to help Willard which costs her as well.
He also learns that Martin is up to no good trying to find a way to take more away from Willard. That’s when he gets the idea to enlist his housemates to get back and those who have wronged him.
That is until those he’s wronged come calling!
Davison as Willard is so innocent looking that it’s easy to see how he could be taken advantage of. Working for a man who clearly has taken his father’s business and a mother who just won’t give Willard a moments rest – it’s not surprising he would turn to something else. Socrates and Ben are totally different creatures and Willard comes to learn that the hard way. Davison carries the film from beginning to end!
Lanchester as mom Henrietta doesn’t give Willard a moment’s peace when no one is around and pops right up and becomes flamboyant when friends visit. Awesome performance! Locke as Joan does her best to be a friend to Willard and seems to be making headway but Ben has other plans.
Borgnine as Al Martin is clearly the most despicable character of the film. Taking advantage of Willard’s family stealing the business created by his father and then plotting again Willard shows that what goes around comes around. I love when Borgnine plays a bad guy because he does it so awesomely well.
Other cast include: Michael Dante as Brandt, Jody Gilbert as Charlotte Stassen, William Hansen as Barskin, John Myhers as Carlson, J. Pat O’Malley as Jonathan Farley, Joan Shawlee as Alice Rickles, Helen Spring as Mrs. Becker, Sherry Presnell as Mrs. Spencer and Alan Baxter as Walter Spencer.
SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite “Long Way North,” and the epic fantasy “Beauty And The Beast.” Also their own original horror film, “Fender Bender,” gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.
“Willard” is a film that is memorable in every way. So much so that here it is 2017 and I remember it like it was yesterday. Seeing the film once again reminds me of how amazing thrillers were during that film era.
This film is a thriller in every sense and that’s what I love the most. I don’t need tons of special effects nor do I need slasher gore instead suspense and originality which is what “Willard” gave and now on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack continues to give to a new generation.
The special features of “Willard” include “New Audio Commentary with star Bruce Davison,” “Theatrical Trailer,” “TV Spot,” “Radio Spot” and “Still Gallery.” The audio commentary is so cool to hear Davison speak about his role.
In the end — friendships can be brutal!