Saturday, March 20, 2010


Aw, rats!

In 2003 New Line brought out this little movie, originally intending it to be rated R. However as most R rated films don't make a lot of money it was reworked and dropped to PG-13. As such a lot of R. Lee Ermey's lines were cut.

Under the PG-13 rating the film was released, and still didn't make a lot of money.

Here's the movie poster.

I'd usually see movies with my brother, however at that time he was in New York so I saw this on my own.
At the conclusion of the film I was left with the moral of the story being it's best to not be a loner.
And I'd just seen the movie on my own! How embarassment.

Here's Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover), looking as dashing as ever. A nice suit and tie, hair trimmed and styled. Oh, and a nice little white rat on his shoulder. How lovely.

Willard befriends the rat, naming him Ben. Ben oversees the swarm of rodents who soon infest Willard's basement, and then ground-floor living space.
By the end of the movie the entire house is overrun with rats.
Willard also befriends a rat named Socrates (shown above).

Both the 1971 film and this 2003 film had Ben played by a Gambian Pouched Rat.
Gambian Pouched Rats, whilst fairly docile, can grow as much as 10-17 inches from head to base of tail, with a tail about the same length again or longer, and generally weigh anywhere from two to over six pounds.
When researching about the rats for this blog I could not believe what I was reading and seeing. That rat in the image above is just too big for words!

Here's the 1971 movie trailer, plus it's 1972 sequel, Ben.

The original Willard Stiles was played by Bruce Davison, who is famous these days for appearing as Senator Kelly in the first two X-Men films. From the trailer above it's nice to see his expanded his actor range...

Here's the Ben movie poster.
Ben was the catalyst for animal-themed horror movies. I'm yet to see the original Willard or this movie but I certainly would like to. They look like a hoot!

Here's Mr Martin (R. Lee Ermey). You can tell he really dug being in this movie as he frequently and thoroughly cuts loose.

Here's R. Lee Ermey's inspiration; the always fun to watch Ernest Borgnine (he played Manny the doorman on the TV sitcom, The Single Guy).
Ernest is always a fun actor to watch and has played a bunch of meaty roles in his time. Of particular rememberance is The Poseidon Adventure in which he played Mike Rogo. He was also in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. The man has talent!

Sitting next to Willard each day at work is Cathryn (Laura Harring).
Cathryn is somewhat of a love-interest type character in this Pied Piper movie, and Laura does a very good job with the scenes she's given.
She certainly kept my interest going.

But then, when you secretly look like this that's not that hard to do.
Can you imagine the fun times in the office each casual Friday? Yowzah!

Here's the movie trailer

Personally I prefer the 1971 movie trailer and feel that the Smashing Pumpkins song is a little much. But hey, that's the style the studio was going for, and I still paid to see the movie so it must've worked...
I saw this movie purely for Crispin Glover's involvement. I thought he was great as George McFly in the Back To The Future movie. As promotion for Willard he also appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien in which he talked about his love for antique medical equipment. Classy!
Here's the clip;

I'm giving this movie a 7 1/2 out of 10. For no particular reason but just because I can and no one will question me for it.

I'd love to own this on DVD, as well as the original movie. Unfortunately the original seems to be out-of-print at the time I write this, so if anyone can help me out, please let me know.
If you wish to purchase the remake on DVD, you can do so here
What did you think of this review? Please comment, or email me directly at
Til next time!

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