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Ben – 1972
Where ‘WILLARD’ ended… Ben begins. And this time, he’s not alone!
Phil Karlson
Gilbert Ralston
Joel Briskin
Mort Briskin
Bing Crosby
Charles A. Pratt
Lee Montgomery – David Garrison
Joseph Campanella – Cliff Kirtland
Arthur O’Connell – Bill Hatfield
Rosemary Murphy – Beth Garrison
Meredith Baxter – Eve Garrison
Kaz Garas – Joe Greer
Paul Carr – Kelly
Richard Van Vleet – Reade
Kenneth Tobey – Engineer
James Luisi – Ed
Lee Paul – Careu
Norman Alden – Policeman
Scott Garrett – Henry Gray
Arlen Stuart – Mrs. Gray
Ric Drasin – George

Review by Sven Soetemans
Disney in the sewers,

I haven’t encountered many people who agree with me so far, but I thought the seventies film Willard was a deliciously grim and underrated horror gem. It handled about an extremely introvert adolescent whose only friends were a bunch of rats he could communicate with. The more recent remake starring Crispin Glover is worth a look as well. That’s why I was glad that I found myself a copy of this ‘Ben’, the quickly produced sequel to ‘Willard’. The seventies film starts where Willard left off and wonder-rodent Ben finds a new human friend. A young boy with a heart condition takes Ben in and sings him songs. Nonetheless, Ben and his thousand of followers need food and the constantly increasing rat-plague terrorizes the neighborhood.

This sequel isn’t half as unsettling as Willard and it’s merely driven by sentiment. The poor boy’s heart condition is shamelessly exploited and the whole ‘nature versus man’ fable isn’t very convincing. The friendship between boy and rat is pictured like some kind of Disney fairy-tale. The rodent saves the boy from bullies and even shows him around in the sewers. Ben may easily be skipped…it has very few excitement and hardly any memorable moments. I guess the only winner here is Michael Jackson who had scored a monsterhit with the title song.

Lucky for him, most people don’t even know he’s singing about a rat.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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