is a 1971 horror film
starring Bruce Davison
and Ernest Borgnine
by Daniel Mann
. The movie is based on the novel Ratman's Notebooks
by Gilbert Ralston
(as Stephen Gilbert
), and was nominated for an Edgar Award
for best picture. The supporting cast included one of Elsa Lanchester
's last performances, and one of Sondra Locke
Willard is a social misfit with a strange affinity for rats
. He lives alone in a large mansion, accompanied only by his cranky and decrepit mother. His best companion is a white rat he finds and later names Socrates for his wisdom; numerous other rats come to him, one of which is a giant specimen he names Ben. Willard's talking to his rats, however, leads to his mother's death and further pressure from the banks to give up the house. When his boss bludgeons Socrates to death, he trains his rats to follow his commands and kills the man. Ben, however, jealous of his favoritism towards Socrates, eventually turns on Willard.
- Willard was nominated for the Eddie award in Best Edited Feature Film at the 1972 American Cinema Editors Awards.
- Willard was also nominated for the Edgar award in Best Motion Picture at the 1972 Edgar Awards.
Sequels and Remakes
- A sequel called Ben (after one of the rats in the original) was released in 1972.
- A remake was released in 2003, with Crispin Glover playing Willard. Bruce Davison is also featured in the film as Willard's father, appearing in a portrait.