The Willies (1990)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
Genres / Traits: Creature Film, Horror, Horror Anthology, Urban Legends
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. --IMDb
Brian Peck Brian Peck
Sean Astin Sean Astin
Jason Horst Jason Horst
Joshua Miller Joshua Miller
James Karen James Karen
Marilyn Pitzer Marilyn Pitzer

5.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 26, 2005
Three kids are camping out in their backyard, when the subject gets turned around to "real-life" gross stories that happened to people such as the cousin of a friend's sister's boyfriend. Michael (Sean Astin) starts things out with his tale of a lady who goes to a fast-food fried chicken establishment (Tennessee based, not Kentucky) and finds that her purchased chicken isn't quite... well, chicken. It then shifts over to Michael's cousins Kyle (Jason Horst) and Josh (Joshua Miller), who take turns telling tales of an old man who dies of fright in a theme-park haunted house and an old lady who decides that drying her poodle in the microwave is a great idea. These three stories combined take up a grand total of around fifteen minutes, and then it's onwards to the main attractions of the movie.

We start things out with a little story called Bad Apples. Michael's father, as he explains, worked with a guy in another town who turned out to be rather bizarre, to say the least. The guy in question went by the name of Jenkins (James Karen, of Return Of The Living Dead fame), and he was a kind old man working as a janitor at Greeley Elementary School. All is well at this school, until Jenkins finds out that one of the young boys is being taunted and abused by a gang of bullies at the school. When Jenkins goes in to clean up the little boys room, the bullied kid follows close behind him to take care of his manly duties, and soon finds out that there is now a demonic-looking monster inhabiting this bathroom. He decides to use this to his advantage and, well... things get pretty ugly for the bullies, to say the least.

We then move on to Flyboy, which features a teenager named Gordy Belcher (Michael Bower, of Nickelodeon's classic Salute Your Shorts fame) who, as we soon find out, is not your average youngster. While other boys his age are interested in girls, baseball, and attending school dances, Gordy is content to spend his time putting together dioramas featuring dead flies. He catches these flies, rips off their wings, and then uses them as little people in his various diorama settings such as a church, a castle, and his newest project, a restaurant. A bizarre little tyke, to say the least. In order to catch these flies, he steals manure to be used as fly-bait from the local farmer Spivey (Ralph Drischell). Little does Gordy know, however, that old man Spivey is working on a miracle-grow solution (as reported on the TV channel KORN) that will cause vegetables... and other things... to grow to mammoth proportions.

While I wouldn't go so far as to claim that either of the pieces found in this film are masterpieces, and nor would I go on to say that they're classics in the genre, I will say that each segment has a certain b-movie charm to them that makes them quite memorable. I first saw this movie when it was a new release (back in December of 1990, if the Internet is to be believed), and here we are fifteen years later; I remembered how much I enjoyed this movie and so, I decided to purchase and rewatch it. While my memory and opinions of what's good in the movie world has changed on some titles over the years, this is not one of those cases. The movie was just as good as I remembered it to be, and the ten dollars I threw down on the purchase was money well spent.

As you can see from the descriptions above, the storylines found here are pretty goofy. This movie seemed to be geared more towards children in the ten-to-twelve demographic, so don't go in expecting loads of bloodshed or fright-filled scenes. That's not to say that there is no violence whatsoever - indeed, we do see a fair amount of blood in the Bad Apples segment, and we then go on to see a pretty gruesome event towards the end of Flyboy. There's enough carnage to make the scenes realistic (or as realistic as one could get, given the scenarios), but gorehounds will probably be disappointed. However, it's still an entertaining ninety minutes for the adults in the crowd that want a little light-hearted entertainment and for those of you who don't necessarily need stimulating, thought-filled cinema to walk away entertained.

The first three short stories in the film are based on old urban legends, and while they were entertaining enough, they seemed to be included only as padding for the overall film. What would be considered a short scene in another movie is a featured storyline in this one, but to be fair, I don't really see how they could have been extended into feature length. Regardless, they're good for a chuckle, but they're also pretty forgettable. The main stories are much better, and again, I wouldn't call them classics in the genre, but they're definitely good enough to make this movie a recommendation from yours truly.

The storylines are similar in style to those found in the classic Creepshow, so if you enjoyed that one, you'll more than likely get a kick out of this title as well. Just don't expect to see the same amount of blood and gore that was found in Romero's masterpiece and you'll be fine. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 12/27/2005, 02:23 PM
I remember seeing this and thinking it was one of the weaker entries into the whole sit around and tell ghost stories genre. I much preferred Campfire Tales, with James Marsden and Ron Livingston. 3/10.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 12/29/2005, 09:59 AM
"Are You Afraid of the Dark?" rules the sit around and tell ghost stories genre!
HAVOK2000 #3: HAVOK2000 - added 06/21/2010, 04:51 AM
I wait for the day when you manage to find a copy of "Ghost Stories: Graveyard Thriller" Review that. :P
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