The Willies

October 27, 2013 at 1:14 am (5 Heads, Willies, The) (, , , , )

The Willies – 1990 – United States

The Willies is a comedic horror anthology that might be for children. It is writer/director Brian Peck’s only relevant credit, with a cast of little-known television actors. Watch for a teenage Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings fame.

Three kids camp out and swap gross stories. The highlights are the revolting retellings of the well-known urban legends The Kentucky Fried Rat and The Microwaved Pet. Seeing a sloppy fat woman chow on a deep-fried rodent is nasty (“She probably got the urge to regurge.”), as is a poodle exploding into vomit-like foam. The other stories are less amusing. An old man is scared to death in an amusement park ride. A monster masquerades as a janitor to kill bullies and teachers. A sadistic kid captures flies and poses them in dioramas. Of course, the flies eventually grow gigantic off mutant fertilizer and get bloody revenge.

The Willies is reminiscent of EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt. In fact, one kid’s wall is plastered with Weird Science covers. Unlike EC Comics’ sardonic vignettes, The Willies’ stories are rambling and predictable, and the attempts at irony are, unsurprisingly, juvenile. All The Willies succeeds at is being disgusting, but at least some of its imagery is memorable. A boy uses an inhaler full of maggots. Another boy pisses his pants in front of his class. And a box of raisins is replaced with wingless flies.

Occasionally The Willies amuses. Scenes parodying TV news and Growing Pains (with Kirk Cameron and Tracey Gould no less) are weird and wacky. But mostly, The Willies is not funny, horrifying, or even gross enough to be special. Made for kids by adults who don’t know any kids, the resulting mess is too stupid for grownups and too sordid for youngsters. I might have liked this when I was 12, but my parents would have never let me see it anyway.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Challenge yourself to spot Corey Haim’s (sort of) appearance.


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