The 2003 remake of the 1971 film Willard, about a young man’s strange and powerful connection with rats, is something of a fascinating mess. Helmed by X-Files alum Glen Morgan and driven by an incredible performance by none other than Crispin Glover (in a rare lead role), the movie was severely screwed by New Line Cinema’s discomfort with it. Demanding numerous re-shoots and re-cuts to make the film more palatable for a mass audience, the studio drove the final nail in its coffin when they ordered it be cleaned up and and given a happy ending to achieve a PG-13 rating. Gone were Willard’s ultimate comeuppance and R. Lee Ermey’s masterful use of vulgarity in the role of Willard’s evil boss, leaving the movie a wishy-washy shell of what it could have been.
What retained its artistic integrity, though, is the music video shot to promote the film. Glover himself (returning to a music career mostly abandoned after his fascinating 1989 album The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be) recorded a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Ben” (a song written as the title track for the sequel to the original Willard) and directed the accompanying video art film, enlisting R.Lee Ermey to play several characters. Like Crispin Glover himself, it’s perplexing, fascinating, and beautiful.
The Willard DVD is worth tracking down, not just for the movie itself, but because it features a great documentary and commentary that are brutally honest about the movie’s flaws, as well as this video and its own breathless Crispin Glover commentary.
And, as long as we’re talking Crispin Glover nightmare fuel music videos, here’s Clowny Clown Clown.
Showmen’s Rest, Woodlawn Cemetery, Forest Park, 1918
In 1918, 86 members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were killed in a train wreck just outside of Hammond, Indiana. 61 of the dead were interred in a mass grave at Woodlawn cemetery in Forest Park, dubbed Showmen’s Rest.
There are, of course, rumors of ghosts at the site, often accompanied by the faint din of circus music.
Many, many years ago, in a house not far from here, there lived a frail old lady, who filled us all with fear. She lived alone in a big old house, in a garden overgrown, with trees and hedges growing wild, behind walls of jet black stone.
She stood no more than four foot tall; the clothes she wore, would fit a doll, with hair that nearly touched the ground, and all us kids, called her Hairy Moll. At certain times she could be seen; you could see the curtains twitch, through curtains stiff with grime and age, we could spy the wicked witch.
One time we saw her out of doors; we peered through cracks in the garden wall, as she laid flowers on a bed of rocks, we could hear her eerie, witches call. As she spoke her words, the wind did rise, and in her garden the trees did groan, whipping and lashing and blowing around; we took to our heels and scampered off home.
And then one day as we played outside, two cars pulled up at Old Molls door, they carried her out in a black body bag, and of Hairy Moll, we saw no more. People were talking at their garden walls, wondering what had become of Old Moll, and two days later at her funeral mass, she lay in a coffin, that was fit for a doll.
T’was near Halloween and the nights had grown cold, as we sat on the wall around Old Molls home, we were daring each other to enter her house, but all were afraid, so we made our way home. Then Halloween night, t’was blowing a gale, as two of us scampered o’er Hairy Moll’s wall, we entered her house through a broken back door, we stood in her parlor and started to call:
We called out her name, we were teasing the dead, and the wind, it was blowing and squalling about, we climbed the old staircase with fear in our hearts, when a voice full of rage screamed at us to GET OUT. We flew down the stairs like bats out of hell, we ran down the hallway, so dark and so black, we ran through the kitchen and into the yard, screaming and shouting, HAIRY MOLL has come back.
We scaled the stone wall, as agile as cats, we collapsed and lay panting and gasping for breath, we were sure Old Moll would follow us home, and not go away ‘til she scared us to death. Our friends,they all laughed at what we had seen, they would not believe one word that we said, but me and my friend, we will never forget, the night Hairy Moll, came back from the dead.
Eyes Full of Wonder: A little boy, deaf from birth, hears sound for the first time after getting cochlear implants.
Defiance: A young soldier defiantly confronts Heinrich Himmler in a German POW camp. Himmler, who was virtually the second in command to Hitler during the Second World War, committed suicide while in British custody after the end of the war.
Devotion: A Hindu devotee takes a plunge in the holy waters of the Ganges river
“Hold My Hand”: A little girl holds the hand of a 105 year old woman as they are evacuated following Hurricane Katrina.
Inside Auschwitz: Scratch marks inside the gas chambers at Auschwitz made by prisoners frantically trying to escape the fatal gas.
Standing Guard: An Orthodox Jewish man looks on as riot police stand guard following massive protests and demonstrations by the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. The community was protesting against legislation that would enforce involuntary conscription on them.
Final Goodbye: John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes the coffin of his father.
Mass-Wedding: A mass-wedding in South Korea where over a thousand couples got married together.
Hope is the Only Thing We Have: A Japanese soldier holds an abandoned baby girl following the 2011 Tsunami. The girl was soon adopted after this picture was published.
All is Lost: A woman comforts her son after a massive tornado ripped through their home in Concord, Alabama.
Hi, ‘Bitches. Long time lurker, first time poster here. Be kind. So, I decided to stroll past 111 G st in Southie this morning. I had my kid in the s…
OMFG “He is taller than I’d thought (I’d suspected he was a 5'11” wannabe 6 footer, but no, he’s def 6’ tall), and ripped. Like, really much more muscly than I was expecting - those arms! Dat ass! And the arm veins were in Full Effect. Popping. There is not an ounce of fat on that man, it’s all muscle, sinew and wholesome goodness. (And the hat looks better in real life, too.)“