We Liiiiiiiive…

You know when you hear about a movie and you think, “This movie and I are made to be?” That’s how I felt when I read Final Girl’s review of Bug. A seventies eco-horror movie with roaches that fart fire? It’s like it was made just for me! Alas, Stacie Ponder’s review came with a warning that I didn’t heed and I suffered for an hour and a half because of it. I didn’t listen to Final Girl, but you should listen to me–this movie isn’t nearly as awesome as I make it sound.
Bug starts with an earthquake. A sleepy town in California loses its church but gains a horde of mutant roaches that are pretty indestructible and start fire with their butts. As an atheist, I think that that’s a fair trade. The bugs get right down to business, setting a pickup truck on fire.

Look at the jerk insect, he is so pleased about that fire. You can just tell by the way he waves his antennae. I hate roaches. I can deal with most aspects of city living, but I hate roaches more than anything. I’m so lucky and happy that my apartment has never had a roach problem. Honestly, a couple of my jobs have and I scream every time I see one. I’m not normally girly about bugs, in fact, I love spiders. But I just hate roaches so watching this movie was kind of a white-knuckle experience for me. Unfortunately, the movie itself just wasn’t that scary, I was only scared because of my roach-hate. In fact, I kind of hated this movie in some ways.
After the bugs set the truck on fire, Gerald, the boyfriend of one of the victims sees the farmhouse kitty trying to eat one of the roaches. I’m surprised tha the movie only got a PG rating because the bugs burn the cat to death in what I thought was a rather graphic manner. You hear the cat making these upset kitty yowls and you see the bugs all over the poor thing with their butts on fire. And the idiot just stands there, watching and doing nothing. I hate this movie more than R.L. Stine hates whenever he can’t kill a puppy in one of his books.
The idiot takes the scorched kitty to a biology teacher at his university, Dr. Jim Parmiter. Dr. Parmiter studied at the Robin Williams’ School of Motivating Students. He impersonates frogs in his class and tells his students about his theory that humans could once communicate with all animals. That makes the extinction of the megafauna by humans an extra dick move.

He also manages to exude a John McEnroe-ish sleaziness.


Jim discovers that the killer bugs came from underground and are dying due to the decreased pressure on the earth’s surface. He stabs one with a needle and there’s a bug explosion that goes on for about twenty seconds. Jim tries to warn the authorities but no one believes him.
The bugs are still up to their shenanigans. They attack Gerald’s girlfriend’s ear.

I always thought those Bluetooth headsets looked stupid, but it's nothing to scream about.


Unfortunately, the bugs also kill Jim’s wife. We get to watch her slowly burn to death. Seriously, this movie is kind of graphic, I’m surprised it didn’t get a PG-13 rating. This pushes Jim over the deep end and he descends into mad scientist territory.

Instead of trying to eradicate the monsters that killed his wife, Jim decides to ensure their survival by breeding them with common cockroaches. *Shudder*

You can't see it in this picture, but there's a cricket in the background playing "Bow-chikka-wow-wow" with its legs.


Unfortunately, Jim’s hybrids develop a taste for flesh and learn how to spell.


The movie ends in ridiculousness that I don’t even want to get into. Let me just say, flying, sentient, butt-sparking roaches play a big part.
I can tell you, the movie sounds awesome but it’s deceptive. There are some serious pacing problems with the movie. A good portion of the middle is boring dialogue and exposition with little action. That’s mostly what this movie needs–more killer insect action! Sadly, there’s very little insect-caused death, just lots of squicky close-ups of what looks like those creepy hissing cockroaches. The music is a mixed bag. There are some cool clicky noises that play whenever the insects are on screen. But then there are these goofy sci-fi “P’ching, p’ching!” noises that take away any built up tension. Also, it seems like the insects can scream, there’s this shrieking that plays whenever the bugs are up to their evil. The acting is pretty dreadful, with the exception of Bradford Dillman as Jim. It is genuinely thrilling to see him descend into madness.
It’s a shame that this was William Castle’s last production. You horror fans should know that he’s the mind behind The Tingler, The House on Haunted Hill, and Thirteen Ghosts, among other notorious horror films of the sixties. He came up with ideas like giving away insurance policies in case people died of fright at his movies. Castle’s gimmicks inspired other directors, such as John Waters’ use of odorama in the movie Polyester.
Seriously, watch any of Castle’s other movies but stay away from Bug.

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About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1970's, creatures, eco-horror, you so crazy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to We Liiiiiiiive…

  1. ReelyBored says:

    Yuk! I absolutely have roaches! Living in NYC was certainly the worst when it cam to roaches; the way they would scurry when turn on the lights to the kitchen for a late-night snack or actually be in your snack! can’t stand them. and their cousins, waterbugs, they make me get on a chair and yell for help! lol. and i’m a 230lb guy!

    • scarina says:

      I will never, ever laugh at you for screaming about roaches. I made a coworker dispose of a dead one that I found in a box of merchandise. I hate, hate, hate them.

      • ReelyBored says:

        On the same boat as you :-)

      • scarina says:

        The same roach-free boat. I’m glad you included the evils of waterbugs, my gramma’s basement had those and they terrified me.
        You know what’s evil about roaches? How you can’t smoosh them because their eggs might be under their shell and you might end up spreading their eggs around that will still hatch.

      • ReelyBored says:

        ugh! u know i didnt know that about roaches. I fear them even more now! lol

      • scarina says:

        You should. We all should, because they’re stupid, evil insects.
        I read this great book called, The World Without Us. It’s nonfiction and speculates what the world would be like if all humans suddenly disappeared. It said that the roaches in NYC would die because they depend on the artificial heat provided by our buildings.

  2. ReelyBored says:

    Have to check that book out. Here I am thinking they would actually survive. Maybe they will just migrate to Florida? hehe

    • scarina says:

      It’s a really good book. It goes into things like ecology, but also human-made structures like nuclear subs and oil refineries and that giant plastic vortex in the Pacific Ocean.
      Ha, you think they would. I bet the rats would do well but they don’t bother me as much as the roaches. I bet they’d try to go south but they wouldn’t get far since they don’t live that long and there wouldn’t be any trucks or boats or trains to move them.
      Sometimes I daydream about post-apocalyptic NYC, with no one there. I would move into the Museum of Natural History.

  3. Pingback: Don’t Love a Crummy Shark Movie too Much | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

  4. Seveneccles says:

    I could totally watch this movie. Thanks for the warning about it being hard-to-watch bad, though. One note about the PG-13 rating comment. The PG-13 rating wasn’t introduced until July 1984. So, Bug was too early for this designation. Bug seems to make the case, as many movies do, for a rating between PG and R…and the MPAA eventually corrected for it.

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