Bug (1975)

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Bug (1975)

Post  BoG on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:34 pm

The swan song for producer William Castle, who died a couple of years later.  He was famous for his gimmicks and the gimmick here is that the bugs - mutated cockroaches - besides creeping people out, can also set people on fire.  Though this was in the middle of the eco-horror trend of seventies films, involving nature striking back at mankind in some fashion, this film develops into more of a psychological study of the main character (Bradford Dillman) descending into madness and into his own personal hell while dealing with these grotesque insects.  The story structure is a bit unusual and facilitates this turn for the character: his wife (Joanna Miles) - presumably the other main character - is unexpectedly killed (set aflame) by one of these bugs midway through the story; Dillman, as a scientist, does not take her death very well. But, being on the eccentric side, he also has an affinity for these bugs - a new, exciting form of life from his p.o.v.  
And so, the 2nd half of this pic is very enclosed, concentrating almost exclusively on the off-kilter scientist and his relationship with these bugs. Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed) also has a role as a friend and ends up as another victim - the insects do not deal anymore gently with human females than they they do with men - a sobering comment on the remorselessness of the insect world. This was based on the novel, The Hephaestus Plague,  a much more creative title by Thomas Page. The story also has references to biblical prophecies of doom, which don't really fit.  It's pretty slow, especially in the first half. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10

Bug Trivia: this was released to theaters on the same day as Jaws; obviously, it was very much ignored in favor of the shark film.  The director of Bug, Jeannot Szwarc, went on to direct Jaws 2 (1978); he is best known for Somewhere in Time (1980).
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