A triumph of rodent wrangling this tale of a weird guy and his rat wasn't much of a movie in 1971, and the story hasn't exactly blossomed with age. But nobody plays a sick twist better than Crispin Glover. This Willard lives with his whining mom, who wants to examine his stool ("Is it hard or loose?") and mocks him for suffering office abuse at the hands of his hard-ass boss (R. Lee Ermey). Laura Elena Harring (Mulholland Drive) is around to offer a few sexy glances. But the movie is about how Willard finds someone to love in Socrates, an albino rat in his basement, and an enemy in Ben, a brown rat the size of a dog who wrangles every rodent in his wide acquaintance to wreak havoc on Willard's boss. You actually feel sorry for the rats in the face of Glover's licky-kissy tenderness. It's the creepiest thing in the movie next to hearing Glover sing Michael Jackson's "Ben" (his 1972 ode to rodents) over the final credits. Want your skin to crawl? This one's for you.
From The Archives Issue 919: April 3, 2003