Okay, now I’m really starting to get into the obscure, lesser known films, with my review of The Willies, starring Sean Astin (The Goonies, The Lord of the Rings). Broken down into an anthology style with 2 main stories, The Willies is the perfect example of an 80s (well, not really, as the movie came out in 1990) kids horror film. Back then, kids horror films had comedy, mixed with swearing and violence, unlike the tame ones we get today. However, having some comedy, swearing and violence isn’t the only thing a good movie needs, so does The Willies meet all the required checks to give you a spooky good time? Find out, by snuggling up in your sleeping bag and reading on…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb (credit goes to Mike Stark) is as follows: Two brothers camping with their cousin try to frighten each other by telling stories. There are two main narrations: one involves strange happenings at an elementary school; the other, a teenage boy with a peculiar interest.
Sean Astin, before the money.
As I said before, The Willies follows an anthology setup to tell it’s tales. The movie begins with three kids in a tent, trying to spook each other with creepy tales. The first little quick story is about a woman going to buy a bucket of fried chicken and getting a lot more than she bargained for. This story definitely comes off as something you would hear kids telling each other on the playground. It’s short and sweet and has a nice gross ending. Next up was another short story about an older gentlemen (Bill Erwin) going on a amusement ride through a horror house. Things are little too scary for the old geezer and a tragic ending is in store. These two short tales were fun and so far we’re off to a good start with The Willies.
Yes, a bucket of chicken is exactly what you need.
From here though, we get into the longer stories. First up, a story about a school boy, who is constantly getting picked on by three bullies and is overall, having a hell of a hard time at school. His only friend seems to be the friendly janitor, who seems to be way too friendly if you ask me. During a math test, the boy feels the urge to go pee and asks to be excused and goes to the washroom and walks right into the path of a giant monster, taking a squat on the toilet. The boy runs back to class and tells the teacher (beautifully named Miss. Titmarsh, or as one of the kids calls her, Miss Boobswamp) that a monster’s in the bathroom. She doesn’t believe him and scolds the kid for telling crazy tales, but eventually escorts the kid to the washroom and comes face to face with the giant monster. Some more crazy, fun stuff happens, which I won’t spoil here, but overall this one was a fun story. It went on a little longer than it should’ve, as I saw several opportunities to end it early. Still, it doesn’t go on as long as the next story in the movie.
“Umm, do you mind knocking next time?!?”
The next is about a boy named Gordy Belcher (Michael Bower), who loves to tear the wings off of flies and make little strange dioramas with the ones that don’t live. Gordy captures the flies with the use of some special manure that he steals from Farmer Spivey. Gordy is an awful kid, playing numerous mean spirited pranks on people, such as baking cookies with flies in them and feeding them to a girl at school, or telling the local farmer to mind his own business, when Gordy is caught brown handed (haha, get it, brown handed, manure.. ahhh, classic). Spivey doesn’t take to kindly to the theft and devises a mischievous plan to get his revenge. What that entails, is something I’ll leave up to you to see, if you decide to give The Willies a chance. Just let it be known, that little ol’ dipshit Gordy gets his just desserts.
Ohh, I hate you Gordy, I hate you!
The number one problem with The Willies, besides some questionable acting, is the length of the movie. The fly story runs way too long and more often than not, you’ll find yourself yawning and watching the clock. The movie would’ve been better off cutting the stories run times in half and maybe including a few more shorter fun tales into the mix. If this movie was meant to be for kids, I can’t imagine many having the attention span to last through the whole thing.
The Willies does have all the required stuff for being a fun watch; humor, murder, fly revenge, kids getting eaten alive, but unfortunately, the overextended run time, makes the movie feel way too long. The Willies is a low budget affair, akin to something like a kid friendly Tales from the Crypt or Creepshow, but never quite reaches the heights of giving you the actual willies, more like a small case of the heebie-jeebies.