Once upon a time as a boy, I used to explore deep into the woods behind my house and explore the vast microscopic universe of the insect kingdom. Waterbugs, Wood Ticks, Beetles, Ladybugs, Ants, Bees, Yellowjackets, and Wasps all held equal fascination for me. The entimology wing of the Natural History Museum was my second favorite stop after the dinosaurs, what with the living bee hive within the Plexiglas box that I could see inside.
This all changed in the swealtering hot summer of my 12th year, when I was sitting on the front porch of my friend's house, talking about whatever it is that 12-year-old boys talk about when trying to escape the cloying heat of Maryland's humid sweat box. I felt a strange pinch, looked down, saw a large red ant, and flicked it off my arm-thinking nothing of it. Not long after, I felt another pinch, this time on my leg. Looking down there was yet another ant, which I again swatted away. Before long, I felt another 10 pinches and realized that I was swarmed, running home to my mother who threw me in the shower and helped get the hive off of me. Since then, I've been less inclined to get anywhere near anything remotely insect-like.
I share this tale with you so that you understand when I say that I was distinctly creeped out by Bug, a movie where a seismic disturbance leads to an invasion of giant cockroaches capable of causing fires with their hind legs, you realize my disquiet has very little to do with the actual quality of the film, and everything to do with my own neurotic phobias.
Yes, this film is bad, but you could probably already tell that from the description. That said, the first half is not as stupid as one might expect, though there is signifigant padding for time. After the initial introduction of the main characters and the afore-mentioned earthquake, things plod on for another 40 mintues or so before anything really interesting happens. Wait, no...there is a scene where the cockroaches take down a cat in a scene that would be disturbing if it wasn't so hilarious. After that, there's nothing for the better part of an hour.
There are a lot of scenes with the main protagonist, Prof. James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman) looking intently at the smoldering palmettos as he figures out exactly what makes them tick (and tick they do, as this their associated sound effect), and other scenes where they talk about the bug's origins, their lifecycle, carapice,yadda yadda yadda. Every once in a great while, somebody gets their head set on fire. But nobody in the film seems to really mind all that much in the next scene. Small towns, go figure.
Where the movie takes a bizzare turn is when the Proffessor gets all disappointed about the short lifespan of the deadly insects (I guess because that would mean the movie would end earlier) and decides to "improve them" by cross-breeding them with another roach to create, you guessed it: HYPER INTELLIGENT PYROTECHNIC COCKROACHES that can spell words, formulate complex strategies, and even eventually fly.
Those cooky college Professors, they just never leave well enough alone.
Then the film just kind of ends... That's it, no doom, no real anything. Kind of pointless, really. So is this cinematic gem worth a Cavalcade? Not really, unless you fast-forward past the insufferable padding with the horrible 70's synth track music and skip straight to the cat attack and the games of bug scrabble.