Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OCTOBER 24: TWENTY-FOUR BAD-ASS BUGS

 I'm not sure anyone hates bugs more than me.  I despise most types of bugs.  I can tolerate honeybees because they serve a purpose, but other than that, pretty much forget it.  That said, most of these films in this list made me relatively uncomfortable - at least parts of them.  I'm lumping all the creepy crawlers together here - even though I realize some are arthropods, some are invertebrates, some are just flat-out insects - but they are all creepy as hell.


THEM! (1954)
Old science fiction really was a hoot, wasn't it?  What could be better than nuclear waste causing all the bugs to super-size.  People in a desert town have to defend themselves against a swarm of giant ants.
Seriously fun film that pits man vs. super-size beasties.

BUG
In this intense thriller directed by The Exorcist's William Friedkin, a lonely and somewhat sad couple blur the lines between reality and delusion when they believe the motel room they are sharing is infested with bugs. I'm not actually sure that we see any actual bugs at all, but the effects of their paranoia is quite arresting.


THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
Nothing more annoying than pesky flies, and in this (first) adaptation of the bestselling novel, we get a room full of flies that seem to signify evil is present and that the house needs blessed by a priest.  Oh, and James Brolin in his tighty whiteys.  Score!

ARACHNAPHOBIA (1990)
Even horror comedies can disgust sometimes, which is the case in this Jeff Daniels flick that has him moving his family into the country so he can practice medicine, and instead he just practices screaming.  A huge nest of deadly spiders is infesting his property, and no one is safe. Including this chick in the shower.

CANDYMAN (1992)
Bees are very important to the cycle of life.  However... they are a gruesome way to die, as Candyman found out when a lynch mob smeared him with honey and allowed bees to sting him to death.  You really gotta hate someone to do that.
But Candyman will have his revenge, as you know.

CASE 39 (2009)
In a film that had potential and utterly squashed it, Case 39 faltered in so many ways. It did however, have a nasty scene with hornets which made me squirm a little bit.  Poor Bradley Cooper's character makes the mistake of telling demon child Lillith what scares him. That night, he feels a humming vibration in his ear and pulls out a hornet.  Then another. And another.... and soon ol' Bradley is wearing a shirt of hornets.

CREEPSHOW (1982)
In the last story within the film, a man with germophobia strives to keep his apartment completely clean and sterile. He's a cruel old bastard, so it seems only fitting that he meets his end when cockroaches appear in his abode without any apparent reason.  Things escalate until he is completely overrun with them. He escapes to his panic room but unfortunately the roaches have beat him to it, and the last scenes are of his body basically bursting with the vile insects.

EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS (2002)
What do you get when you take David Arquette and mix him with toxic waste and spiders? A comedy of hilarious proportions. And we're not just talking one kind of spider here, we're talking tons of different kinds. Jumping spiders, orb spiders, tarantulas...we've got it all.  And they grow to massive sizes, kind of like all those bugs do in the old sci-fi flicks. 

CRONOS (1993)
Guillermo Del Toro's first feature film focuses on a strange device called
the Cronos mechanism. Created by an alchemist in 1535, the intricate gold
mechanism holds inside it an ancient insect which will sustain life so long
as it is fed human blood. But gaining eternal life through the Cronos device
comes with some nasty side-effects, such as your skin falling off and
generally becoming really unattractive. Greek mythology bares
characters with similar names and revelence; Chronos was the
personification of time, the figure from which we obtained Father Time.
Cronus was a Titan who castrated his father and devoured his
children--sounds like a nice guy.  (MR)



INDIANA JONES and THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)
While not horror films, the Indiana Jones films often have some horrific elements to them. Temple of Doom has always been my favorite. The awesome dinner party with the monkey brains, the snakes slithering all over the table, and the eyeballs in the soup? Great stuff.  But what makes me squirm in disgust is the tunnels in the Pankot Palace that are filled with all the damn insects.  When Willie sticks her hand in one to find the lever to stop the walls from closing in on Indy and Short Round...Gah!  The stuff nightmares are made of!

KING KONG (2005)
Because the special effects with the bugs in the most recent version of KK are so good, that is what warrants its inclusion here.  I would have passed out from fright (or perhaps even had a coronary) if I had to make my way through that pit of insects.  No. Can. Do.

KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977)
Starring William Shatner, KotS is a fun romp and one of those classic "man vs. nature" films we all love so much.
What we have here is a bunch of pissed off tarantulas who are mad because man has used so many pesticides that it is killing off their food supply.  So they decide to get even!

MIMIC
As in Creepshow, we have more cockroaches, but this time - they are fucking huge.
It's hard to believe Guillermo del Toro directed this, but it's not really a bad film, truth be told.  Children are dying because of a disease that roaches are spreading, so entomologists genetically engineer a bigger bug (the "Judas Breed") to eradicate the smaller bugs. Now you have probably guessed how that turned out...
PHENOMENA (1985)
Also known as Creepers (but don't watch that heavily edited version), this is a film by Dario Argento (who seems to like bugs for some reason) that stars a young Jennifer Connelly as an adolescent who comes to a Swiss boarding school and makes friends with a forensic entomologist.  Stranger even than that, the girl has a special bond with insects, which proves helpful when trying to find a murderer.

SLITHER (2006)
Once again, outer space brings bad juju.  When a meteorite crashes and unleashes an evil parasite, a local man from the neighboring town becomes infected and not only impregnates a young lady with allien sperm, if you will, but he himself starts to change into a giant slug.
Yeah, I can't make this shit up.

SQUIRM (1976)
Let's try to keep the moral of this tale in mind, okay?
When there is a bad storm, don't let the power lines come down on water-logged land, or the earthworms under the ground will get an electrical charge and start to surface. That's not the worst of it. Apparently they can lose their wormy minds and just start burrowing into anything that's near. 
I hate worms the most out of everything. So I can never watch this film again.

STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)
Surprisingly, this film was a box office success, which isn't easy when they couldn't even come up with a name for the insects in question, simply labeling them The Bugs.  Wildly creative.
But nonetheless a fun jaunt down giant insect lane.

SUSPIRIA (1977)
Back to worms.  Again, Argento tests our resolve by having maggots infest the attic of the German dance school (which is actually a cover for a witches' coven).  The girls wonder what is dropping from the ceiling and guess what they see when they look up?  Thousands of maggots.  Falling on their dressers, clothes, even their hair.
Apparently caused by rotting food in the attic, which begs the question of why would anyone keep food that would spoil in their attic?  Silly witches!

THE BEYOND (1981)
Leave it to Fulci to gross us out more than we thought possible.  A plumber fixing a water problem in the basement of a house that boasts one of the seven doors of death has a fate worse than death in his future as he watches as spiders come out of nowhere and parade towards him, eventually crawling all over him, at one point eating his face off and poking out his eye.
Ah, Fulci and his eye trauma fetish!

THE MIST (2007)
Such an exellent adaptation of the Stephen King short story, The Mist has all kinds of bugs. Huge, tentacled creatures, thousands of spiders, and whatever insects that those are in the pic, above.  There were so many kinds it was hard to keep up. But let's just say, the big ones ate you whole.  No wonder the would-be survivors decide to off themselves when there is seemingly no hope.  I would run, not walk, away from these buggers.

THE THAW (2009)
A small group of scientists in the Arctic uncover a wooly mammoth.  Sounds like a great discovery until you realize it has been infected with an unknown illness and find out something was still alive in said mammoth.
The above pic is of a polar bear that is infected with thousands of the bizarre insects.  The insects are hard to kill and/or contain, and it's all because of global warming. Or so they say...

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
This multiple Academy Award winning film would have been nothing without bugs, namely the Death's Head moth, an integral part of the storyline.  When Clarice finds that pupa in the throat of a murder victim, it's up to her (and Hannibal Lecter of course) to discover the clues to the puzzle.   Which she most certainly does, as you can see by the end of the film when she stumbles upon Jame Gumb in his killer's lair - and spots the Death's Head moth amongst his mess.

THE FLY (1958)
Man vs. science. Gone horribly wrong.  I could have just as easily put Cronenberg's 1986 version here, but dare I say I like the look of the fly is this film. You can tell it's really just a mask and some fake hands, but it just does something for me.  And come one people, VINCENT PRICE!

THE WICKER MAN (2006)
And lastly, I finish with this gem from just a few years ago.  Nicholas Cage can be a good actor - he does have the Oscar to prove it after all - but in this completely unnecessary remake of the 1973 classic, he performs his classic, overcooked style to the limit.  You just have to laugh at the "Not the bees!!" moment.



3 comments:

Budd said...

I am one of the few people that absolutely love the Starship Troopers movie. I also love the book and never shall the two be confused. great work finding some that I didn't think of.

Bugs was a truly disturbing film. It was awesome.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Out of that list, my favorite are those creepy crawlies on Skull Island in King Kong...just so freaking...arrrgh, I hated those giant insects! And those slimy work things that swallow up those guys...great monsters on that flick!

Cornelius Doom said...

Surprised no one has noticed that Mimic's image is actually the end scene from John Carpenter's The Thing.