Doghouse King | Omaha, NE United States | 09/20/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie does not deal with large roach-like bugs taking over the world, as so many 70's eco-horrors showed, and as I thought it would. The insects arrive after an earthquake, kill a few unlikable people, start a few fires, and then? nada. The film goes on to portray one man becoming obsessed with studying them, and developing an unsettling relationship with them. Then not much else happens. It is not really *inept*, so bad film lovers probably will not find it intriguing. But lovers of fine cinema certainly will not be enamored of it, either.An understated William Castle movie? Can it be? Yes. This movie leans happily toward camp on several brief occasions. But mostly everything just grinds to a slow, unpleasant halt. A few sparks (literally, if you watch) of inventiveness cannot save Bug from being by far the least entertaining Castle film I've ever seen. Too bad; it is an unfittingly blecch valedictory to the ultimate showman's flamboyantly fun career.A final note: I don't know, but the story seems too similar to Sandkings to be coinkydink. (That was dull, too.)"
Best. Soundtrack. Ever.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 01/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bug (Jeannot Szwarc, 1975)
No Rod Serling devotee who was alive in the seventies will ever forget the name of Jeannot Szwarc, the man who directed some of Night Gallery's finest moments ("Class of '99" and "Cool Air" were two of his). Szwarc's been a TV guy forever, rarely doing work on the big screen; when he does, it's often reminiscent of TV movies anyway. Such is the case with Bug, Szwarc's entry into the big-bug subgenre of the seventies disaster flick, probably best remembered these days for its interiors being filmed in the Brady Bunch house.
Based on Thomas Page's unjustly-obscure novel The Hephaestus Plague, and produced by the legendary William Castle, Bug is about, well, bugs-- large cockroach-lookin' things that emerge from a large crevasse formed after an earthquake. We rapidly discover that these guys can start fires, and are quite happy to do just that, quickly devastating the small town near their point of origin. (Yet, oddly, leaving the house at the edge of the crevasse standing.) Professor James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman of, among many other things, The Mephisto Waltz), an entomologist at the local university, is approached by his student Gerald Metbaum (character actor Richard Gilliland), whose girlfriend's family owns the farm whence the bugs are coming. Parmiter quickly becomes obsessed with the bugs, moving into an outbuilding at the farm in order to study them more closely.
There are two things about this movie that raise it above the level of the everyday big-bug flick. One is that this movie refuses to go in the direction you expect, if you've seen enough big-bug movies to know the conventions of the genre. This isn't a movie as much about big bugs as it is about Thomas Parmiter's obsession with big bugs, and that tends to throw people off. The last half of the movie has been resoundingly criticized for a quarter century for not conforming to big-bug standards; as long as it's competently done, in my opinion, that's a point in its favor. (And, well, "competently done" is probably arguable, but I find the cheesiness endearing, the same way I do with Night of the Lepus or Kingdom of the Spiders.) The other thing, and about this there will be no discussion, thank you, is the awe-inspiring soundtrack. The closed-captioning, every few minutes, says "[atonal electronic theme]". Oh, yeah. Charles Fox composed in Hollywood for over forty years, but never did he come up with soundtrack like this. Way, way ahead of its time; this is something that no one was doing in 1975, with the exceptions of Lou Reed, Boyd Rice, and (maybe) The Residents. It creaks and skronks and flurrs and drones, and it was a gutsy move for a big-screen movie in the seventies that, to my knowledge, has never come close to being duplicated. It's absolutely amazing, and is well worth the price of a rental by itself-- the fact that you get a cheesy big-bug movie with it is just icing on the cake. *** "
Different than your average attacking insect movie
Raegan Butcher | Rain City, USA | 08/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this when I was ten or eleven when it was broadcast on network TV and i liked it; I was curious to see how it would stand up to the passage of time and i recently purchased it on DVD and--in spite of some poor spfx at the climax (screaming,goggle-eyed bug puppets being thrust directly into a camera with a wide-angle lens) this is for the most part a grim and weird semi-art-house sci fi movie, more akin to PHASE IV than something like THEM or even THE BIRDS.
BUG benefits greatly from the intense and nervously twitchy central performance of BRADFORD DILLMAN as the scientist who goes off the deep end after his wife is fried by the title critters. The insect ( or BUG, as the case may be) photography is well-done and the soundtrack whenever the bugs make an appearance is a prototypically 70's art-house exploitation hybrid--a series of scratches and electronic pops--but it becomes unnervingly effective. The scenes that conclude the film of Bradford Dillman performing bizarre experiments upon the BUGs and establishing some sort of contact with them remain potent and eerie and all of the scenes where he finds them crawling loose in his farmhouse are yucky in the best possible way; i remember flipping thru some monster movie magazine when I was six or seven yr old and seeing Bradford Dillman staring at a kitchen counter full of big, fat roaches and being grossed out--and also wanting to get down to the local drive-in and see it as soon as possible!
If you are willing to forgive some poor special effects near the climax you wont be disappointed by what precedes it. BUG is a genuinely creepy movie, one which manages to conjure up a disturbing atmosphere of heat and paranoia and eventually crumbling insanity. Worth a look.
Thermal Ignition in wide screen format - You can't beat it!
John Prothero | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"William Castle's production of "Bug" is based on the Thomas Page novel "The Hephaestus Plague" and is one of the great sci-fi horror movies form the 70's decade. It begins with an earthquake erupting in California causing some kind of prehistoric insects to emerge from underground. Entomologist Dr. James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman) soon discovers they are not only highly intelligent but are able to ignite fires by means of two strange antenna-like objects from their abdomen. But it turns out that the bugs are dying slowly and can't copulate due to the surface pressure is different from that underground. Obsessed with keeping them alive for study,he finds a way to make them breed and unleashes a super fire bug which turns out to be his undoing. Looks great on an HDTV."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 10/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"BUG was the last film horror maven William Castle made. He co-wrote the script and served as its producer. It's a bizarre little tale about some fiery cockroaches unleashed after an earthquake in a small California community. Under NIGHT GALLERY vet director Jeannot Swarzc's direction and with an eerie electronic score by Charles Fox, the movie manages to have some real chills. Bradford Dillman is quite good as the professor who becomes obsessed with the bugs after they kill his wife, Joanna Miles. As expected, he manages to breed them with another roach and they become incendiary and intelligent killers. Not a classic of the genre, but it is a creepy little thriller with some nasty bugs!!!"