The Two of Us Need Look No More

Ben continues the story of Willard from the perspective of his rat. Ben was undoubtedly the smartest member of Willard’s rat colony. It’s because of him, the rats were able to turn on their master. Ben picks up immediately after Willard’s death. Almost all of the focus is on Ben leading his rat army to find food, survive in the sewer, and attack anyone who threatens them. The body count is bigger, but Ben is not your typical horror sequel.

It’s actually the source of the Academy Award nominated chart topping Michael Jackson song “Ben.” I know what you’re thinking, “How does a movie about killer rats produce such a beautiful song?” You could always sense that Ben was jealous of Willard’s favoritism towards Socrates. Well now Ben has a friend to call his own. Danny is a sick boy who finds comfort in Ben. Lee Montgomery is a precious child actor who sells the unlikely friendship. Rosemary Murphy and Meredith Baxter play Danny’s mother and sister who try to protect him.

Joseph Campanella and Arthur O’Connell play an officer and reporter who try to wipe out the infestation. Though the original novel was titled Ratman’s Notebooks, they don’t become relevant until the police need information on the trained rats. You don’t know who to root for when swarms of rats are exterminated with flamethrowers. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually cried for a rat when an injured Ben returns to Danny and the Michael Jackson song starts to play. Ben is so unorthodox, it works.


Ben in the sewer

Preceded by: Willard

2 thoughts on “The Two of Us Need Look No More

  1. I’ve heard many a Horror buff say that Ben is an enigma of a film for them, and I believe they’re right. I like the concept of the film though, because it gives us the audience strong hints that Ben wasn’t a naturally vicious rat, but only became that way because of Willard, and the love he gets from Danny frees him of the influence Willard instilled in him. And you can’t help but feel heartbreak when little Danny prays his heart out for Ben to get well. In a way, Ben kind of gets a redemption story with his own film, though he still has the capacity to become violent. I often wonder what the film would’ve been like if they’d gone more in a direction of Ben doing whatever he could, including murder, to protect and ensure Danny finally got some happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

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