Tuesday, January 27, 2009


One of the staples of 70s horror was the Animals Attack subgenre, where our intrepid heroes are menaced by vicious wildlife. The most famous by far, of course, was Jaws, though there were a great many more of varying levels of fame. Bug is one of the lesser-known ones, usually only unfairly known as a joke instead of anything worthwhile. I can understand people making it out like that, as that’s somewhat to be expected when talking about a movie with deadly pyromaniac cockroaches. Still, even if this is the weakest of the three Animals Attack movies in the HROHFYSSBYD series, it manages to be consistently entertaining from start to finish, and that’s all you can ask for.

The film opens every bit as promisingly as one could ask for, with a group of church-goers listening to a fiery sermon suddenly beset by a massive earthquake that makes the floor roll about. While nobody seems seriously hurt at first, the quake has opened up a large fissure from which pours an army of the aforementioned roaches, which soon begin starting fires and burning people to death. Just when most of the initial cast has been wiped out, in strides our hero, Professor James Partimer (Bradford Dillman), who captures a few of the bugs to experiment on and figure out a way to stop them. Here’s where the film takes a dark turn.

He discovers that the creatures are both unable to breed, and are dying out on their own due to the change in atmospheric pressures between the planet’s surface and the deep underground region the bugs came from. This would seem to be a good thing, as the bugs are soon going to die out on their own. Of course, being the budding mad scientist that he is, he can’t leave well enough alone, and so decides he must see if he can successfully breed the new bugs with regular American roaches, creating a new, more intelligent strain.

The film moves along at a pretty steady clip, and makes damn sure to keep us fully icked out by having cockroaches crawling over people at every possible moment. It also makes sure to answer one of life’s eternal questions for us: if you’ve created a race of super cockroaches that are both capable of starting fires, and able to spell out words with their bodies, is it really a wise decision to panic and announce to them that you must destroy them?

Rating: ***

No comments: