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View Poll Results: What's the better film in the series?
Willard (1971) 2 28.57%
Ben (1972) 2 28.57%
Pity, I haven't seen either. 3 42.86%
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:15 AM   #1
rhett
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Rat Pack: Willard vs. Ben

Had a fun weekend watching WILLARD and BEN on VHS and liked what I saw. Pretty tame now (and I guess it was then, too, both being Rated GP) and rudimentary when it comes to what they do with the on-screen animals in regards to storytelling (close-up of innocent rat walking around, ominous music/squeaking sounds, dudes getting rats thrown on top of them) but they both have a simple, harmless charm. Surprisingly it doesn't look like they harmed any rats in either too, so the Ruggero Deodato's of the world take note.

But for those (few?) who have seen the two films, which one is your favorite? Personally, I think I might have to lean towards BEN for a few reasons:

1. A little more mayhem this time out. The rats stage several attacks en masse, like eating through a grocery store or taking out a spa. More deaths this time out, too.

2. Michael Jackson's theme. Still a great tune, and until NORBIT it probably gave BEN the distinction of being the worst movie ever nominated for an Oscar.

3. Longer, more elaborate climax. The first film was pretty insular in that it was just pretty much about a guy, his two pet rats and his evil boss. This time it's pretty much the rats taking on the city by the end of it. Plenty of fun sludging through the sewers. WILLARD had a rat beaten with a broom stick...in BEN the last 20 minutes are pretty much RATS BEING LIT ON FIRE WITH A FLAME THROWER. That is awesome.

The knock against BEN compared to WILLARD might be that it's a little too kiddie, but I think the relationship works quite well, and it's probably a little more believable than the whole scenario in WILLARD. Plus, they work the themes in capably, with "Ben's Song" and the fact that the kid has an ailment that provides him with the wherewithal to help Ben during the finale.

I'd love to get other opinions on one or the other or both. I wish these would be released on digital in some form - a Scream Factory double feature seems like a slam dunk. Maybe everyone's afraid that nobody will buy PG rated horror films from the early 70s? Rats!
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:11 AM   #2
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I like both a lot - but I give the edge to Ben just because that is the one I remember the most seeing as a kid and how it stuck with me long after watching it.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:10 AM   #3
fattyjoe37
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Big fan of this series and the remake (actually my favorite of the 3). Between the 2 original ones, I'd have to go with the far less kiddie Willard.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:14 PM   #4
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I've only seen the WILLARD remake but this thread has inspired some digging!
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Well as the video explains, I do not think it is a great film, nor do I think.
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