->''"Tear him up!"''

''Ratman's Notebooks'' is a 1969 horror novel by Stephen Gilbert. Written as a series of diary entries, it tells the story of a reclusive man who discovers he can train rats to do his bidding. Initially, he uses this for some innocent, yet creepy fun. Then he graduates to using them for [[spoiler:thievery]] and finally [[spoiler:murder]].

Much like Creator/RobertBloch's ''Literature/{{Psycho}}'', the book seems to have been influenced by real-life murderer, Ed Gein.

It is perhaps best remembered for its two movie adaptations, both called ''Willard''. The first was made in 1971 and starred Bruce Davison. The second one was in 2003 and had [[Film/BackToTheFuture Crispin Glover]] cast in the lead role.

The 1971 movie also had a sequel, ''Ben'', released in 1972. The Music/MichaelJackson song of the same name was written for this movie and plays over the end credits.

Another thing that may or may not be worthy of note is that the novel is set in England while all three movies are set in the USA.
!!This work contains examples of:

* ApocalypticLog: Ultimately ends up as this.
* AssholeVictim:
** A good number of the people that Ratman plays tricks on [[spoiler:or robs, or kills]] are either known to be this or revealed to be this after the fact
** The Ratman himself can come across as this, due to his rather anti-social, arrogant and narcissistic inner monologues.
* AwardBaitSong: "Ben". Who knew such a successful and heartfelt ballad could be written out of a movie about killer rats.
* BecomingTheMask: Sort of. Ratman eventually becomes bored with his criminal activities, but he's proud enough of his exploits to keep a diary in the hope that his grandchildren will find it after he's dead.
* [[ABoyAndHisDog A Boy And His Rat]]: Especially in the sequel.
* TheCastShowOff: Crispin Glover sings over the end credits of the 2003 movie.
* CerebusSyndrome: This book is actually more like a dark comedy in the first half.
* CharacterTitle: The movies.
* ChekhovsGun: Mr. Stiles's knife from the 2003 movie (but only after ExecutiveMeddling altered the ending).
* [[ClingyJealousGirl Clingy Jealous Mouse]]: Ben is jealous of Willard's love for Socrates.
* CompositeCharacter: In the 1971 film, Mr. Martin fills the function of at least one other character from the novel.
* DeadManWriting: The entire novel is heavily implied to fall under this trope.
* DeadpanSnarker: The main character. He often comes across as a satirist or an observational comedian rather than the Ed Gein-inspired criminal that he really is.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler:Ben]] in the 2003 movie.
* {{Diary}}: The notebooks of the title.
* DoesNotLikeWomen: Ratman. He gets better.
* DownerEnding: The 1971 movie.
* DragonInChief: Ben.
* TheEndingChangesEverything: [[spoiler:By the end of the 2003 movie, all we know for sure is that the main character is in an insane asylum and has bite marks on his face. Whether anything else in the movie actually happened or if it was his damaged mind creating a fictional history for his wounds, we'll never know.]]
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Averted in the book, but played straight in the movies.
* FocusGroupEnding: The 2003 movie, which [[spoiler:removed the title character's death]].
* FromBadToWorse: From the POV of the townspeople.
* GoryDiscretionShot: With [[spoiler:Mister Martin (but only in the book; a certain deleted scene from the 2003 movie should NOT be watched by the faint of heart)]], very much not the case with [[spoiler:Socrates]]
* HalfHumanHybrid: The general public believes Ratman to be one of these (in no small part due to his disguise)
* HappyEnding: ''Ben'' (the movie, not the song of the same name).
* TheHeroDies: ''Probably'' in the original book. ''Definitely'' in the 1971 movie. ''Not at all'' in the 2003 movie.
* KilledMidSentence: The end of the book, although the "killed" bit is open for debate.
* KnightOfCerebus: [[spoiler:Mr. Martin, when he kills Socrates.]] Up until this point, the novel reads something like a dark satire about various human foibles. Only from this point onward does it truly feel like a horror story.
* KubrickStare: One of the elevator scenes in the 2003 movie.
* LargeHam:
** Anytime R. Lee Ermey is in front of the camera.
** Crispin Glover really has his moments.
* LeFilmArtistique: Parodied in Crisper Glover's music video "Ben", complete with women getting sexually aroused by mice, a lesbian headmistress and various German dictators, including UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler.
* LighterAndSofter:
** ''Ben'' tones down the horror, and is to some degree rather sentimental.
** The character of Willard from the movies when compared to how Ratman acts in the novel.
* {{Meganekko}}: Eve in ''Ben''.
* MythologyGag:
** In the 2003 remake, a television is turned on to a radio station, and the song ''Ben'' by Michael Jackson is played. This is especially interesting, because the song, ''Ben'' was written for the sequel of the same name to the original 1971 Willard, but it would stand to reason that in the world of the 2003 remake, there has been no movie Willard and thus no sequel. So in the 2003 film, the song exists out of nowhere; possibly in that continuity, Jackson was singing about his dog.
** Also, Bruce Davison (Willard in the 1971 film) portrays Willard's deceased father in the new film (via photographs and a painting) and even provided voice-over narration for one of the new film's promotional documentaries.
* NoNameGiven: In the novel, '''everybody''' except Martin, Ben, and Socrates. Averted in both film adaptations.
* OhCrap: Ratman, upon realizing that [[spoiler:Ben has read his notebook]]. [[InsaneTrollLogic Wait, what?]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: In the book, the main character is only known by the name of his criminal alter-ego, The Ratman. The other characters know his real name, but they sure don't tell us. The films name him, obviously, Willard.
* PetTheDog: In the 1971 movie, Mr. Martin sends Willard home early when he gets a frantic call regarding his mother.
* PosthumousCharacter: Mr. Stiles in the 2003 movie due to a subplot about his having committed suicide long ago.
* PragmaticVillainy:
** [[spoiler:Even after Socrates dies, Ratman is still largely concerned with using the rats to make end's meet and puts his plan for vengeance on the backburner for a while]]
** [[spoiler:Ratman suddenly takes pity on Mr. Martin at the last second, but leaves him for dead anyway for the sole reason that he saw Ratman without his mask.]]
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: Ben's role in the 2003 remake is played by a Gambian pouched rat, a species about five times the mass of a normal rat.
* ScrapbookStory: The notebook of the title providing the "scrapbook" telling the story.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler:Willard]] in the 2003 movie.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Is it Ratman's Note''books'' or Ratman's Note''book''? The title seems to vary depending on what copy you have.
* SwarmOfRats: Once the rats start multiplying due to Willard feeding and taking care of them all, swarms of them take over the entire house.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: The book is told entirely through Ratman's thoughts so it's possible his sanity can be called into question. [[spoiler:If taken as full fact Ben is a really impressive rodent. But some things are up for debate within the narrative as uncertain just because Ratman himself wasn't there to witness it so he's only guessing.]] The 1971 movie seems to go with the narrative being full on right. The 2003 movie however uses a twist ending and was actually advertised as "an unforgettable journey into the mind of a madman".
* TheUnfavorite: Ben to Willard. Subverted with Danny in the sequel.
* UnusualPetsForUnusualPeople: A weird social misfit, and his rats.