September 18th, 2013: Bug (1975)

bug

Cast and Crew: Jea nnot Szwarc (Director); Jesse Vint, Patty McCormack

What It’s About:  An earthquake unleashes giant, nearly impossible to kill, slow moving, fire starting roaches on a small Californian community.  Researcher James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman) is the first etymologist to figure out what the bugs are:  an ancient, subterranean species slowly being killed by the bends and unable to breed.  When his wife Carrie (Joanna MIles) is burned to death in a blaze caused by one of the creatures, Parmiter loses his last connection to humanity and retreats to an abandoned farm to attempt to “keep them alive” by cross-breeding the subterranean species with a house roach.  Will he come to his senses before it’s too late?

Why Watch it Today?:  Parmiter starts his breeding process on September 12th; on September 18th his hybrids, (Parmitera hephaestus), which quickly show themselves to be hyper intelligent and carnivorous, are born.  Bug was the last film produced by legendary schlock-master William Castle, who actually wanted to mount brushes underneath seats that would be activated at key moments in the film.  I guarantee this plan would have resulted in the deaths of audience members had it been used, as the extreme close up shots of exotic roaches were just about all I could take, and I’m not even an insectophobe.  Still, if you can handle lots of close up shots of roaches, and don’t mind an imperfect film, you could do worse than this film, whose second half shifts into mad scientist/descent into madness film is unique and features a powerhouse performance from Dillman..and all those roaches.  I don’t even want to know how they got them to form words.

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2 comments on “September 18th, 2013: Bug (1975)

  1. geelw says:

    I saw this one when it was originally released and yeah, it made me even more terrified of roaches for years. I’m over that fear now (oddly enough, some small bugs bother me while the bigger ones dont!), but this definitely isn’t a film you want to surprise someone who hates bugs with.

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      For the most part, the roaches they used were so big, and so different from any I’ve seen in real life that they didn’t bother me, but there were a few scenes I can imagine that brush under the seat would have really gotten to me.

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