Film (1975). Paramount. Directed Jeannot Szwarc, starring Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Richard Gilliland. Screenplay William Castle (also produced), Thomas Page, based on The Hephaestus Plague (1973) by Page. 100 minutes. Colour.
After an earthquake near a small US town, strange insects appear out of a fissure. Capable of producing fire by rubbing their rear appendages together, they ignite countryside, cars, people and a cat. A Scientist whose wife has fallen victim to their incendiary activities becomes bug-obsessed. Mating them with roaches, he produces a new carnivorous species which can communicate, spelling out words by grouping themselves in patterns. Finally, in the traditional Faustian manner, he falls in flames into the fissure which conveniently closes behind him and the bugs. Bug, like its source novel, appears unclear about what it is trying to be – a straight Monster Movie or some kind of allegorical revenge-of-Nature warning to mankind. The insect photography, by Ken Middleham, is good. [JB]
see also: Phase IV.
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