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Willie Loomis - Biography
Willie Loomis is a hired hand (apparently serving as butler, grounds-keeper, chauffeur and handyman) at Collinwood in 1972, the year when the principal action of the film is set. He is one of two "servants" at the estate during this time period, and his relaxed demeanour suggests he has been a long-time retainer of the Collins family. He remarks in an early scene with the newly arrived governess, Victoria Winters, that the property had originally been maintained by an extensive staff of servants and caretakers, but now only he and the elderly Mrs. Johnson are on duty. Though never explicitly stated, it seems probable that Willie and Mrs. Johnson reside with the Collins family within the mansion, which Elizabeth Collins Stoddard reports has over 200 rooms.Willie is a chronic heavy drinker, and is described as a "drunkard" and a "miscreant" by the vampire Barnabas Collins upon his first visit to Collinwood since being chained in his coffin in 1776. Willie is the first person at Collinwood that Barnabas encounters upon his return, and he finds him stumbling along and chatting drunkly to pumpkins in a garden outside the mansion. Barnabas uses his supernatural abilities to hypnotize Willie, and it is Willie who first reveals to Barnabas that he has emerged into the year 1972 and that there are four members of the Collins family (besides Barnabas) who remain at Collinwood.Entranced by Barnabas' vampiric spell, Willie addresses Barnabas as "master" and, as he is ordered to do, helps Barnabas cleanse himself before presenting himself to the family at Collinwood. He later assists Barnabas in other ways, such as guiding Barnabas to the pub where one of Collinsport's respected senior fishermen, Silas Clarney, hangs out; driving Barnabas to the Angel Bay Seafood cannery for Barnabas' negotiations and impromptu sexual romp with the witch Angelique Bouchard; and helping Barnabas dispose of the body of one of his victims, Dr. Julia Hoffman. During this last task, Barnabas warns Willie not to betray his secret, which suggests that Willie is no longer acting involuntarily under Barnabas' hypnotic control. Willie assures Barnabas he "never liked the b*tch [Julia] anyway," further indicating that he is at least partially acting of his own volition by this point in the film.Willie is also the first person at Collinwood who is met by Victoria Winters when she arrives at the estate to apply for work as the live-in governess to young David Collins.Apart from his frequent inebriation, Willie is depicted as a character of comically limited intelligence. In his conversation with Victoria before she is introduced to the Collins family, Willie is surprised when Victoria remarks on the obvious connection between the names of the Collins family and the community it founded, Collinsport, remarking, "Huh, never got that [connection]!" And when Angelique begins her final, supernaturally empowered attack upon Collinwood and its inhabitants, Willie - with valiant intentions but foolish lack of forethought - tries to stop her by blocking her path with an axe, c*ckily declaring "You'll have to get through me first!" only to be flung casually aside by the powerful witch.While played for laughs, Willie's brief and ineffectual, but well intentioned, confrontation with Angelique in defence of the Collins family presents a somewhat intriguing and ironic contrast. As shown in the film's opening scenes set in the mid-1700's, Angelique is herself a former servant at Collinwood. Though the main thrust of her hatred is clearly motivated by (mostly) unrequited passion for Barnabas' love, a second factor is class-based resentment of the Collins family's having treated her poorly, "looking down their noses" as she recalls it, while she and her mother were themselves servants of the Collinses. Willie, perhaps lacking Angelique's selfishness but also without her intelligence and drive, thus becomes the loyal retainer risking his own safety to defend the family he serves, while Angelique pursues her centuries-long vendetta against them to try to exact her idea of revenge.