Ben (1972) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Phil Karlson
Starring: Lee Montgomery, Joseph Campanella, Arthur O’Connell
Rated: PG/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available From Scream Factory
When detective sergeant Cliff Kirtland (Joseph Campanella, Meteor) investigates the horrifying murder of Willard Stiles by a band of rats, he discovers that the rats are now an organized army, and he must destroy the murderous rodents before it is too late. But the rats, led by Ben, the only survivor of the Willard attack, take to the challenge with full force and little fear.
I should probably start this one out by saying that as the warning before the movie plays says, the negatives and such are lost or destroyed for this film. That means we take a big step down in HD quality from Willard to Ben. That being said, we still have a better movie on our hands this time I think. Or at least I think to a certain extent. It seems they’ve taken a clue from the first film and gave our leading role to the damn rat named Ben. Picking off where the first movie ended the cops are smart to the idea we have a pack of killer rats around and Ben leads the heard to the home of an annoying as all hell little boy with a bad heart. Things happen, the boy still managed to sing annoying songs, be a total smart ass to the cops, and become best buddies with Ben. We even have a song he sings about the rat that is sung in the closing credits by none other than Michael Jackson. The song won an award after the release of this film. Worst comes to worst regardless in the movie as the little boy tries to protect Ben who still can’t help but eat local folks with the help of his pack while looking for food and running across folks along the way.
While still not a great movie, Ben at least has more going on and keeps a better pace than Willard. Maybe it is more silly stuff than before but I never was able to take a pack of rats seriously regardless of the content. I will say this much, our little boy lead might be on the verge of death due to his condition, but he rivals the annoyance level of Bob from the classic Italian horror films The House by the Cemetery. Ben, on the other hand, might be a rat but he seems to show loyalty here to the kid. Helping fight off bullies and not balking up on him like he’d do Willard in the last film. Ben might be the most complex character in the whole darn thing. When that is the case for a rat you can’t argue that your film has issues, but at least this one was still a little bit of fun.
– NEW HD Transfer From The Best Surviving Archive Print
– NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Lee Montgomery
– NEW Interview With Actor Lee Montgomery
– Theatrical Trailers
– TV Spots
– BEN / WILLARD Double Feature Trailer And TV Spot
– Radio Spot
– Still Gallery
Quality of Transfer: 72%