Monday, November 11, 2013

Wooly Willies

I don't know about you, but I make a habit of bumping any "Long Wait" Netflix DVD to the top of my queue, knowing that there's a good chance the out-of-print films will end up in "Unavailable" purgatory. Sometimes, you get the added bonus of seeing a rare film that's actually good.

And sometimes you end up with The Willies.

Quick Plot: A pair of brothers and their cousin (Samwise himself, Sean Astin) sit around a campfire sharing urban legends and local scary story lore. 

After the token tales we've all heard on the playground (nuked puppies and fast food rats, natch), the boys detail two longer narratives set in Greeley Elementary:

Story 1 concerns a bullied kid named Danny, whose only respite from his classmates and sour teacher (the great Kathleen Freeman) is his school's friendly janitor. When he discovers an ugly demon hanging out in the little boys' room, things get very gooey.

In the next tale, we meet Gordy Belcher, a chubby outcast who prefers the company of dead flies to his understandably grossed out classmates. While other kids play handball and watch porn, Gordy spends his afternoons creating admittedly impressive dioramas (including medieval castles and '50s diners) and populating them with fly carcasses. 

Comeuppances abound, booger jokes delight, and when all is said and de-limbed, you take a shower.

The only film to be written and directed by actor Brian Peck, The Willies is a movie with a very limited, but perhaps enthusiastic audience. I've read it being described as Tales From the Crypt for 6th graders, which is about as fitting a tagline as one can make considering the amount of gross-outs, karma, and special guest stars.

The problem, unfortunately, is that The Willies is one of the worst paced movies I've seen in some time. It starts out with quickfire urban legend gags before teetering out into the longer first story, then dragging itself like a mound of molasses through the second. There's no clear direction guiding us to a climax. Just gross-out after dragged out gross-out after realllllllly dragged-out gross-out.

But hey, the flies posed on church pews are sort of cute.

High Points
Well, when you can snag a pre-Crazy Banana Loving Kirk Cameron as Mike Seever and Tracey Gold as his nerdy kid sis in for a cameo, why not?

Low Points
It just...kept....going

Look! It's...
Patrika Darbo, aka Nancy "I'm a Big Woman & Still a Soap Opera Star Damnit!" from Days of Our Lives, plus every other television show ever made

Lessons Learned
Microwaving a miniature poodle is suitable for 2 minutes and 59 seconds, but as soon as you hit the 3 minute mark, you can expect an explosion of baked beans

Always befriend the janitor

There is indeed something grosser than ten dead puppies in a barrel

I could certainly have been happy living the rest of my life without ever having seen The Willies. It's icky and worse, poorly paced. That being said, fans of '80s anthologies will certainly be curious to check this one out, if only for its Ghostbusters references and random name checking (Clu Galager AND James Karen) so important for the era.