The Willies (film)
|Directed by||Brian Peck|
|Produced by||Talaat Captan|
|Written by||Brian Peck|
|Music by||Randy Miller|
|Edited by||James Eaton|
|Distributed by||Force Majeure Productions|
The Willies is an American 1990 comedy/horror film anthology written and directed by Brian Peck (best known as Scuz in The Return of the Living Dead). It is, to date, the only film Peck has written or directed.
The Willies features cameos by several recognizable genre and character actors. Two of Peck's The Return of The Living Dead co-stars, James Karen and Clu Gulager, appear. The Goonies star Sean Astin plays one of the film's storytellers. Kathleen Freeman (of The Blues Brothers, Gremlins 2: The New Batch) plays an elementary school teacher. Michael Bower ("Donkeylips" from TV's Salute Your Shorts) plays a disturbed teenager. Growing Pains stars Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, and Jeremy Miller make appearances as does Cameron's wife actress Chelsea Noble. Twin Peaks alums Dana Ashbrook and Kimmy Robertson also appear. The Willies is also an early film credit of stand-up comedian Doug Benson.
Prologue ("Camping Out")
Two brothers, Kyle and Josh, and their cousin, Michael (Sean Astin), gather around a campfire and decide to tell scary stories to one another, each one of which they claim to be absolutely true (in the style of urban legends). In the first ten minutes of the film (even before the opening credits), they tell a series of brief stories:
- "Tennessee Frickasee" - A woman at a fast food restaurant finds a rat in her fried chicken.
- "Haunted Estate" - An old man (Bill Erwin) dies of a heart attack after experiencing the terrors of an amusement park's horror ride.
- "Poodle Souffle" - An old woman puts her toy poodle in the microwave to dry off (with predictable results).
At this point, Michael says he knows a story they haven't heard of yet (Kyle asks if it's about when his friends "found the pirate ship in that old cave," a reference to Astin's earlier film The Goonies), and promises that this story will give them the willies.
A young boy named Danny struggles at his school with bullies and an overbearing, impatient teacher (Kathleen Freeman). The only one who shows him any sympathy is the school custodian, Mr. Jenkins (James Karen). While on duty, Mr. Jenkins disappears in the bathroom, and Danny enters later to find Mr. Jenkins' body with a detached head, and a humanoid monster lurking in the stall. Danny tells his teacher, who goes into the bathroom to investigate, only to be killed by the monster. Danny lures the bullies into the bathroom, and they too are killed. It is soon revealed that Mr. Jenkins was the monster all the time, with his body being a disguise.
Mr. Jenkins moves to another school, where it is revealed that he is still targeting bullies.
Michael explain that his father, the brothers' Uncle Henry, knew Mr. Jenkins personally, hence the accuracy of the story. Kyle and Josh say they have an even stranger story to tell.
Gordy Belcher (Michael Bower) is a reclusive, mischievous kid who often plays pranks on others, and who is overly obsessed with flies (even pinning them into positions inside a model church). He becomes fascinated with a secret manure created by Farmer Spivey, which causes crops to grow in increased sizes. He often steals the manure from the old man, much to Spivey's chagrin.
After being kicked out of the school after tricking a girl into eating flies, Gordy stops by Spivey's farm, where the old man offers him a special manure with new ingredients, as a way to "call a truce." Gordy goes home to find his mother has thrown away all his flies, save for three he kept in a hiding spot. He places them in the jar of manure which causes the flies to grow to an immense size overnight. They attack Gordy when he wakes up, and the boy's parents find him with blood stumps where his arms and legs had been. Gordy awakes the next day with prosthetic replacements.
The brothers explain that Gordy is now made fun of by the kids he used to pick on. Michael is incredulous, to which the brothers contend that Michael's story was far less believable. At that point, Uncle Henry arrives, and the brothers ask him to prove the story about Mr. Jenkins. Uncle Henry (also played by James Karen) then rips off his face, revealing the humanoid monster from "Bad Apples".
The movie has received generally negative reviews over the years. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, there are currently no critical reviews, but the film carries a 24% audience score. The film has also received 1.5 out of 5 stars by the editors of AllMovie.
- "The Willies - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "The Willies - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
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