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George At 

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Ben


In 1971, the rat movie "Willard" was a huge and unexpected box office hit. The producers smelled gold and went right back to work on the bigger budget, rat infested sequel BEN.

Picking up with the last few minutes of the original film, it quickly becomes obvious that this is the ALIENS of the rat series.

If you thought a thousand rats were great, let's give you 10,000! If one or two rat attacks were a hit, let's give 'em a dozen!

Ben the rat and his masses move quickly from Willard's house to one of the neighbors, with Ben befriending sick little boy Danny. Danny is played with a level of sweetness that should drop any diabetic viewer in their tracks. Lee Harcourt Montgomery isn't a bad actor, he's just asked to play a kid straight out of a Barney episode that happens to love giant rats.

Oh, he also loves marionettes. By the time he breaks into a second song that makes the musical interludes on "The Partridge Family" look like "Hamilton", I was ready for the rats to chow down.

Joseph Campanella (Mannix, The Golden Girls) barks orders to city workers to find the rats, Arthur O'Connell (The Poseidon Adventure) is a newspaper reporter who cant believe the rats are smarter than the city workers and Meredith Baxter is Danny's sister, bringing the bell curve up on the acting talent dramatically.

When it's not boring, it's unintentionally hilarious.

Rats are thrown on people from off camera, crowds react to scenes of torn up cereal boxes like they're at the scene of the Manson murders and Ben seems to be able to understand the English language.

This was supposed to be part two of a trilogy, but thankfully Part 3 was killed along with the rodent infestation.

When I was 11, I saw this as part of a double feature. At the time, I thought Ben was okay, but I was traumatized by the second feature on the bill "Night of the Living Dead". I was so scared I forgot all about "Ben".

The funny thing is, I watched it again last week and forgot all about it again the next day.

The only redeeming thing in the movie is Michael Jackson's hit theme song that runs over the end credits.

For a movie about rats, it's probably appropriate that this stinker is 100% cheese.

Ben gets a D.

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