We here at 3guys would like to welcome our newest writer, Matt Kenary. Matt will be reviewing a horror movie a week, ranging from classics to new films if he feels inspired.
Starring: Bradford Dillman and Joanna Miles
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc
Written By: Thomas Page (Novel), William Castle (screenplay)
Reviewed by: Matt Kenary
Since the 1950’s and the “Atomic Age”, movies about killer insects have been far and few between, the only recent one’s that I can recall are Eight Legged Freaks (2002) and Arachnophobia (1990), though I’m sure that they have been a few forgettable Sci-Fi Channel originals but they don’t really count. In the 1970’s, there was the movie Bug, directed by Jeannot Szwarc ( Jaws 2, Somewhere in Time) and written and produced by B-movie guru William Castle. Bug is your typical low budget 70’s flick with a lack of character development , a heavy focus on mood, b list stars (or worse) and a generally badly written script, but all that don’t make it a bad movie, does it?
The film starts off with an earthquake in a small (Californian?) town, tearing open a field and releasing dozens and dozens of these half cockroach/half beetle type insects that have been hidden under the Earth’s surface for millions of years. These aren’t your ordinary cute, cuddly bugs these are killer cockabeetles. Sure they are blind and have little mobility but once they get you in their grasp, they just rub their cerci legs together and burn you to a ashen crisp.
The first to witness the destructive power of these deadly arthropods is a young townie who watches as a stray field cat gets the BBQ treatment, horrible stuff. So like anyone else would do in his situation, he boxes up the dead kitty and heads down to the local school to show the town science teacher, Professor Jim Parmiter (Bradford Dillman). In the privacy of a crowded cafeteria, the young man reveals the context of the box to the Professor and the news of this strange bug. Intrigued, the professor decides against warning anyone who would listen that there are killer fire bugs out there and that maybe people should stay away, but instead decides to study these insects a bit more closely. These cockabeetles , though pretty immobile, start traveling from place to place, hiding in the exhaust pipes of cars, death and destruction follow in their wake including a poor young girl who, simply wanted to answer the phone. What she got instead was an earful of aphidius fire and a trip to the ER.
You may recognize Dillman and Miles from countless shows from the 70’s and 80’s but Dillman is really the only one who gets to shine here. Dillman’s “over the top” performance overshadows the horrible acting from the rest of the cast and the poorly written script. The effects for this 70’s low budget film were not that bad, I believe that the bugs were mostly mechanical and looked real enough, though the flying Super Bugs at the end were a bit suspect. Overall this movie served it’s purpose as an enjoyable Saturday afternoon Monster of the Week type movie, if you’re looking for B-movie cheese, you could do worse. By the way you may recognize the house used for this film as it was from a very popular show. I give Bug 1 and half guys.