And with that command, “Willard” turns his band of ravenous rats on all of his enemies…and yes, the movie’s sequel “Ben” had a theme song, sung by Michael Jackson, that was a love song to a rat – and was Oscar-nominated!
Time For The Wacky Animal Vengeance Horror Of “Willard!”
This 1971 film starred Bruce Davison and Ernest Borgnine, and was a surprise hit! Check out the classic trailer:
“Willard” was based on the novel “The Ratman’s Notebooks”, and was a surprise box office hit in 1971! A young Bruce Davison stars as Willard, a shy boy who befriends a rat named Ben…
Ernest Borgnine Bets Against “Ben!”
Ernest Borgnine co-stars in “Willard”, and as you can see, it doesn’t end well for him. According to Borgnine’s autobiography, they offered the legendary character Actor a choice of a higher salary or a percentage of the box office. Borgnine chose to take the money right away – probably costing him plenty, because the movie was a surprise hit!
Michael Jackson’s Love Song To A Rat!
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that the main rat, Ben, was the star of a sequel the very next year called “Ben” – and the theme song is sung by a young Michael Jackson…and it was nominated for best original song of 1972!
That’s right – “Ben” was oscar-nominated! And why not? After all, it’s not every movie that offers a loving tribute to a killer rat!
“Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You’ve got a friend in me
(You’ve got a friend in me)”
Yes, you’ve got a friend in “Ben!”
Michael Jackson At The Oscars!
Here is a clip of Michael Jackson performing the song on the 1973 Academy Awards show – he is introduced by legendary Actor Charlton Heston!
If you need to know, “Ben” lost the best original song Oscar to “The Morning After” from “The Poseidon Adventure!”
Thanks to Shout Factory, you will soon be able to enjoy both cult classics “Willard” and “Ben”, which are getting a much-deserved blu-ray release – so bite down on these campy cult classics, which led to a avalanche of “killer animal” films in the 1970’s!
It is simply one of the all-time greatest movie posters – for a campy cult 70’s horror film called “Frogs”….one of a number of campy animal horror films that followed “Willard” – check it out here:
I remember that song .. and I could never get over the fact that it was sung to a rat!
‘Ben’ is one of my wife’s favourite songs. She refuses to accept that it’s about a rat!
Best wishes, Pete.
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Pete, I just love that is was Oscar-nominated! Thanks for your comment, and I agree with your wife!