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The original 1970s "Willard" was something of a groundbreaking animal-horror film. Predating the snake-oriented "Stanley" and other psycho animal-trainer films, the flick is really a psychological thriller about a nerdy momma's boy who turns to homicide to solve problems in his life. The "hook" is that he uses an army of trained rats to do his dirty work...
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The original 1970s "Willard" was something of a groundbreaking animal-horror film. Predating the snake-oriented "Stanley" and other psycho animal-trainer films, the flick is really a psychological thriller about a nerdy momma's boy who turns to homicide to solve problems in his life. The "hook" is that he uses an army of trained rats to do his dirty work. Davison is both sympathetic and socio-pathic as the film's wimpy title character. Willard is a white-collar worker employed by an angry and arrogant boss (Borgnine), who stole the family business from Willard's now-deceased dad. The young man's mother and her friends are constantly pressuring him to stand up and act like a man, while temp employee Sondra Locke is trying to romance him. Borgnine, meanwhile, simply relishes in busting his balls each and every day. On his off time, Willard has struck up a bizarre friendship with a seemingly intelligent rat named Ben, whom he keeps downstairs in the basement and who leads his own army of other rats. Willard eventually uses the intelligent rats to wreck one of Borgnine's parties, setting the stage for … you guessed it … murder. When his mother finally passes away, Willard learns that he isn't about to inherit much money, and Borgnine moves in to take his property -- the same way he took the company away from Willard's father. It's too much for the young animal lover to take. Willard finally sicks his red-eyed friends on Borgnine in an orgy of rat violence. We also have the sequel 'Ben'
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