Sunday, June 14, 2015

Junesploitation Day 14: Bugs!

A living, crawling Hell on Earth!

80 comments:

  1. PHASE IV (1974, 84 min.) on YouTube rental.

    Only in the 70's could what is basically an avant-garde sci-fi movie about hordes of ants controlled by an unknown superior (alien?) life form in preparation for an eventual takeover of humanity be released by a major studio (Paramount) with so much behind-the-scenes talent involved (famous designer Saul Bass directing, "Star Wars" production designer John Barry making the Epcot Center-like laboratory, cinematographer Dick Bush making the ants seem both cool and menacing, etc.). The story is ten shades of new age wacko and the acting by the handful of humans dull and pontificating (although Lynne Frederick, aka Peter Sellers' widow, is kind of cute), but the Mutual of Omaha-gone-wild micro-photography and sped-up shots of the ants pooping yellow stuff and organizing are neat. #ANTagonistploitation. :-)

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    1. Yeah, I tried to settle into the groove of this, but the narration of Alan Rickman sounding Hubbs kept pulling me out.

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  2. Men In Black (1997)

    We don’t really see many movies like this anymore – a moderately financed sci-fi action movie; or better yet, a mainstream comedy with an actual plot. Sure, much of the movie’s charm is built upon the banter between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but it’s not overly reliant on the two simply riffing and/or mugging at the camera to entertain you. The prosthetic and animatronic aliens are appropriately tactile (bug aliens included). Bonus points for the Will Smith song.

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  3. Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) - First viewing

    A small town is overrun by spiders, while the town's vet (William Shatner, having lost none of his Captain Kirk charm) and a female scientist from the big city get it on. Not a lot of originality here, but quite a fun movie nonetheless. Most of the score consists of cues taken from old episodes of The Twilight Zone. Highlights include a hysterical woman shooting her hand off because a spider is crawling on it and the spiders cunningly disabling the fuse box of a hotel, leaving the survivors holed up there in darkness.

    I love the original poster for this.

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  4. The Fly (1986) First Viewing and first Cronenberg

    This was chosen by my other half. He's seen it before many times, I think he was watching my reaction more than anything else. Yep, its a classic and is my favourite thing I have seen this month. It is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen, and I loved every minute of it. I loved the grimey pustule-ness of it all. And surprisingly I thought the beauty and the beast element worked well. The older I get the more I appreciate Goldblum.

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    1. Hi Lindsay,

      Great to hear you enjoyed this. I love this movie. I stupidly showed it to my girlfriend (who isn't really partial to horror or gore) a few years back and I wish she had reacted like you.

      I think at the heart of it is a tragic love story...just a hugely slimey gunky gross love story. I'd be interested to see whether you watch more Cronenberg movies and what you think. He's a little hit and miss for me. The Fly is definitely him at his best.

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    2. The love story was a surprise, but I enjoyed the notion of loving a person but not being able to love the thing they turn into. The spurting finger nails was just a bonus.

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  5. Empire of the Ants (1977)

    Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip
    That started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.
    With Joan Collins, The Skipper too, The old cheapskate and his wife,
    The movie star (oh shit, I said her already), some other guys and Mary Ann,
    Here on The Ants Empire!

    So the trick to Empire of the Ants is not believing the first act, because it contradicts it all in the third act.

    Just remember, its the pheromones. The Pheromones make watching this movie obligatory! Did you hear that? Obligatory!*

    RearProjectionActingsploitation!


    *not obligatory, not even recommended.

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  6. The Nest (1988) Dir. Terence H. Winkless 

    Mutant cockroaches start terrorizing a small beach town in New England and start eating people.  There is nothing exciting to say about this as it's too competent to be fun.  Although rated R it's plays out more like a made for TV movie and I would venture to say that this a really weak, if not the weakest, Scream Factory release.   A couple gross out gags but I was mostly left bored.  

    I should have re-watched "Creepers" or the last part of "Creepshow".   There are a million more "Bug" movies better than this.   Bummer.


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  7. The Fly (1986)

    I have a feeling this might be a popular choice today, which is great because anyone who hasnt seen this movie should watch it today for sure. I haven't seen it in quite a while, so I thought this would be a great opportunity and boy it does not disappoint. Goldblum is so Goldblum in this! It's a classic on my list, not much more to say. As you can see I highly recommend it.

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  8. The Wasp Woman (1959)
    The head of a cosmetics business and the company's main model turns to a dangerous new product in order to stop the ageing process. Either Roger Corman should sue the filmmakers of Catwoman, or gender politics haven't changed much in fifty years.
    This one's a small film, with not nearly as much of the monster as you'd hope. The fact that all the men in the film treated their employer like a subordinate because she's a woman made me want to reach through the screen and punch them in the dicks, but that's basically to be expected from genre in this era. Okay, many eras. But Susan Cabot is surprisingly good as the titular Wasp Woman, and I really liked the mad scientist, Zinthrop, who's probably the most sympathetic character in the flick. Ultimately, though, the poster art is more exciting than the film.
    Bonus: go to Youtube and check out the trailer for Mant! It's an utter delight, and John Goodman's "national magazines" bit gets me every time. Actually, I'll probably just rewatch all of Matinee today.

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  9. Naked Lunch (1991, dir. David Cronenberg) (First Time Viewing): I don’t feel smart or articulate enough to even begin on this. Suffice to say I loved it. I wish more movies were this weird and unique. Just as an example in this movie a typewriter turns into a giant cockroach with a talking sphincter and that’s nowhere near the weirdest thing that happens. I would recommend giving this a try if you’re up for something unique. You will love it or hate it, but no one could ever use ‘meh’ as a review here. Plus a great cast: Peter Weller, Roy Scheider, Judy Davis, Ian Holm. Cronenberg knocks it out of the park yet again. Highly Recommended.

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  10. Mimic 2 (2001)

    How can the same shit happen to the same bug twice?

    What constitutes a bug movie? That's not hypothetical. I really want to know. Is the Mimic trilogy(yes, there are 3) the greatest bug trilogy ever made? First of all, I'm not sure Mimic 2 is a movie. Fourthly, the plot...is...a giant bug...who kills guys who...um...treat this teacher...poorly, sometimes. She takes polaroids of her sad face after her relationships do wrong? I don't know. I think I'd rather watch Troma movies rather than a bug movie. The Fly is great but I would argue that's it. I was going to watch Arachnophobia but I've seen it. I didn't really want to watch it again. If it isn't totally obvious, I loved Mimic 5...or 3...I'm sure they're all great.

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  11. Bug (2006)

    Not sure if this one actually counts as (SPOILER ALERT) there are no bugs. But boy does Michael Shannon think there are. It's essentially a chamber piece where we watch one completely mad person convince an unbalanced person to accept his delusions. The film is completely nuts and one of the joys of watching it is watching their room slowly reflect what is happening in the main characters mind. I recommend it as I think its the best thing Friedkin has done it years, but beware, it is a really hard watch.

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    1. This movie is crazy disturbing and Michael Shannon sure can play an insane person!

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  12. Dance Of The Drunk Mantis (1979, Woo-Ping Yuen)

    Missed the last couple of days due to family in town. Maybe next year I'll get all 30.

    Woo-Ping Yuen's world is one of grifters, scam artists, and corrupt officials. Everyone knows kung fu and the only way to find any sense of justice is by dance-fighting about it.

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  13. Mimic: The Director's Cut (1997)

    I saw the theatrical cut back in '97 and remember very little, but whatever the differences are they didn't help much. Mira Sorvino (remember Mira Sorvino? Oh, the 90's, you rascal) is an entomologist who buys a strange insect off of a couple of at-risk youths (because that's a thing, you know how street kids are always pestering you to buy their paper bags full of bugs) and it's a genetically engineered baby cockroach monster, because of course it is.

    It's actually a bug she helped engineer to rid the city of a devastating disease, but no good deed goes unpunished so now the city is infested with huge mutant murderroaches that can mimic (hey, that's catchy!) human form. Sorvino and a ragtag group of expendable character actors head into the subways & sewers in pursuit, and lots of slime, screaming, and weird Christian imagery follows.

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    1. Are you calling Charles S. Dutton expendable, sir? I take umbrage to that, Roc is awesome. :-)

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    2. I feel the same way about Giancarlo Giannini and yet...Purina Bug Chow.

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    3. I sincerely hope you're talking to the people at SyFy about Murderroaches right now.

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  14. Im going for the ultimate bug infested Fthismovie approved movie!

    STARSHIP TROOPERS 1997

    This movie passed me by years ago and I bought it a few months back on Bluray because of Patrick and Dracu Doug, I mean L.A Doug, there's been an official name change :) There love for this Movie was so catching I had to buy it, it's so much fun,
    Stand out roles by Jake Busey and Michael Ironside, stunning Denise Richards, but my favourite is Clancy brown, this films knows what it is and plays it perfectly,
    Ps what is it with Paul Verhoeven and those shared shower scenes? Its gotta be his fantasy cause he keeps doing it

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  15. THE WILLIES (1989)

    This horror/comedy anthology is more interested in gross-outs (“What’s grosser than gross?”) than actual scares. The second main segment, about the “Flyboy,” fits the bug bill. A kid obsessed with collecting dead bugs gets a hold of some manure with enhanced growth properties, and you can guess where it goes from there. The other main segment is about a toilet monster, because that's the type of movie this is. The whole movie is amusing if you look at it as a comedy, and a lot of familiar actors have cameos, but each segment goes on for a little too long, which is brutal for an anthology.

    Accompanying short film: SPIDER (2007). A man and a woman on a car trip have a very unfortunate misadventure. To say any more would spoil it, but it’s pretty damn horrific. Thanks for the recommendation, Chaybee! And also for the nightmares.

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    1. I also watched Spider because of a Chaybee recommendation, its only 10 mins or less, everyone should watch it, its really great

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    2. Go here (http://bluetonguefilms.com/shorts.php) to watch more of those sometimes crazy, funny and bloody shorts by Nash Edgerton and his friends. They are great.

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  16. The Hive (1988)

    Ugh! Very gross, and very effective. Chaybee described it well above. The movie has a silly concept that's played straight, and it actually ends up working. I had a lot of fun with this. I was also impressed by the graphic and gross effects during some of the kills. I hate roaches anyway, so the scenes of hundreds of them swarming just…ugh.

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  17. MIMIC: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (1997/2014)
    This is easily Guillermo Del Toro's least effective movie, which is really saying something as I like it quite a bit.
    I miss Mira Sorvino.

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  18. Empire of Ants (1977)
    Oh great ant queen we submit to you. Please anoint us with your mind controlling farts so we may do you bidding.

    Wait, H.G. Wells got a writing credit?

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  19. Big Ass Spider! (2013) - First viewing

    It is exactly what it was billed as. Stupid, fun and entertaining. The poor CGI didn't help though. And 80 minutes is exactly the right running time for something like this. Ray Wise always improves everything he's in.

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  20. Them! (1954)

    As I haven't seen many films in the 'insect genre" I decided to go with one of the most well reviewed classics. This film even has a 100% score on rotten tomatoes! I'll start with the effects. They are fantastic! And I think the reason this film is so well regarded is that the effects were amazing for their time and still hold up today. That being said... I really, really did not like this film. I can't remember the last time I was so bored watching anything. There are no characters here. There are bodies spouting exposition in radio voices. We know NOTHING about them. We learn NOTHING about them. And they go absolutely NOWHERE. It was painful watching a movie about them considering the ants are in very little on the film. The story is dull. Everything is dull. Ugh. I felt like work finishing this.

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    1. Little bit of trivia for Them!: James Cameron lifted elements from Them! for a movie he wrote and directed. The little girl found all alone, traumatized after her family was killed in front of her? The group that enters the colony armed with... flamethrowers, perhaps? Them! was an influence on Aliens.

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    2. Interesting! I can see that. Needless to say, I prefer Aliens.

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    3. I don't blame you, whatsoever. I like Them! but Aliens? It's not even a contest. Aliens is far superior.

      Oh, and in both films... the military go on 'bughunts.'

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    4. You probably would have had more fun if you watched Mant!

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    5. haha I actually don't doubt it!

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  21. Them! (1954)

    It’s fair to say I liked this a lot more than Daniel did. It’s one of the best “mutated by radiation” movies of the 50s – this one has giant ants. Film does the Jaws trick of keeping the ants off-screen for most of the time, and then filming them mostly in shadow or through smoke (the one time an ant appears in broad daylight is an embarrassment). Mike is quite right about the little girl, right down to the broken doll she totes around. Bonus points for appearances by Fess Parker and William Schallert, and a demerit for using the Wilhelm scream 3 times.

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  22. The Nest (1988, dir. Terence H. Winkless)

    Yeah, I should have stayed away after reading the other reviews for this one today. At least it goes completely nuts in the finale. It makes no sense and takes a tedious 75 minutes to get there, but it showed me something I've never seen in a movie before. I'm not the biggest fan of bug movies, so I think I've seen most of the ones I've ever wanted to. Phenomena would have been a better choice but the version available on Amazon Prime is pretty unwatchable.

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    1. Patrick -- I found Phenomena on YouTube and the version on there looks pretty decent.

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    2. Check the alternate title "Creepers" as well. There's always great Connelly floating out there!

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    3. Keep in mind, Creepers is about 20 minutes shorter than Phenomena.

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    4. Doesn't matter. I'll take 40 minutes shorter than having to watch The Nest again.

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    5. Damn. The Nest must be awful.

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    6. It's just really boring.

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  23. The Fly (1986)

    I watched the '58 original on Animals day so thought it would be fun to revisit this here. And it was. I've always liked this version and this time I got more out of it than ever, in part due to the '58 version and part due to just how damn good it is. Goldblum is great and the effects are nothing short of amazing.

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  24. Mimic: I really appreachiated the cinematography and lighting too much as I kept getting distracted by beautiful the shots looked as appossed to what was actually happening. Will try again sometime!

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    2. This is one of the few Del Toro movies I haven't seen yet. It has been on the list for a while.

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  25. Aliens (1986)

    Maybe a but outside of the purview of "Bugs," but I don't care since it's still awesome. Great effects, damn good story and a lead performance by Weaver that ranges from apathy to fear to kicking some ass.

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    1. As Hudson says, they do go on a bughunt.

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    2. True, and I did write this before seeing the interesting comparison between it and Them! above.

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  26. Mimic (1997)

    I'm usually a huge GDT fan, but wasn't really wowed by this one. It has some great moments and Mira Sorvino sure is fantastic, but I was underwhelmed. I would have liked to see it take more time to be creepy/scary/gross and less time with action set pieces.

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    1. The studio really got in Guillermo's way on this one. So much so, they had other filmmakers do reshoots (including Robert Rodriguez). Mira Sorvino did do some fighting on Guillermo's behalf, though, which did help. She was dating Quentin at the time, and had some clout.

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  27. Bug (1975): I think I learnt two things from watching this. 1) Cockroaches are disgusting and pointless. 2) I hate it when movies reference Greek mythology incorrectly.

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  28. Tremors (1990)

    Giant worms are bugs, right?

    I blind bought this collection today because I randomly found it dirt cheap. I'm so glad I did because I LOVE THIS MOVIE. What a blast of a fun monster adventure film! I can't believe it took me so long to see this. The country atmosphere and music worked extremely well. If anyone not from the American Midwest wonders if people like Michael Gross's character exist, they do. But I love the characters. Kevin Bacon is s great here! He's fun, crazy, over the top, obnoxious and so likable! And of course, I love the practical effects. Awesome movie!

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    1. Yeah, that's a special one. So glad you dug it.

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    2. Really special. I think I smiled the whole way through.

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    3. Sweet - I'd like to believe that Tremors has never disappointed anyone, ever. Prepare for diminishing returns on those sequels though, bud.

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    4. Yeah, I don't doubt it. It may be awhile till I get to them.

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    5. Im not sure about your side of the pond but the UK Bluray is amazing, it could of been filmed yesterday, This and Lake placid are two of my favourite looking blurays

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    6. There can't be enough good things said about Tremors. I wish we got more movies like this now. Really fun horror-ish movies with humor and some great suspense built around a smart premise. Glad you liked it.

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  29. Mimic (1997)

    You know you really gotta feel bad for ’97 Guillermo cause he got totally “Alien 3’d” (can that be added to the glossary?) For reference, Alien 3 was David Finchers first film and there was huge studio interference that really got in the way of a talented director and his rather unique prisoners on a planet with an alien concept. Mimic totally has that going for it here as doctors have to screw with nature but they are truly doing it for a noble cause, stopping a disease that’s killing kids instead of screwing with nature for the usual-profit. There’s also a handful of bug moments when they aren’t CGI that look really sharp and a good sneak peek at what was to come in the directors career. While I don’t think I’d watch it again it’s worth a watch if you need the complete Del Toro.

    8 Word Review (In Preparation for SMM)

    “Scientists like to have their bugs extra crispy”

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  30. The Mist (2007) (B&W Version)

    This along with The Fly (1986) (congratulations to anyone who watched that masterpiece for the first time today) and Starship Troopers (1997) (ditto!) were lined up in row on a randomly assorted shelf making for a real Sophie's Choice - though it's the lesser of the three, I went with The Mist because I've only seen it a couple times. It's definitely a solid bug movie and one of the better Stephen King straight-horror adaptations for sure.

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    1. There's a B&W version?? How interesting.

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    2. Frank Darabond wanted to make this movie on Black and White but studio interference stopped him, some of the Dvd releases have both versions of the movie on them, the B and W is Franks preferred version of the film, the way it was shot and the way the Mist looks better not in colour

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  31. The Fly - 1958

    Man, this movie scared the everloving crap out of me when I was a kid. The scene with the sly trapped in the web gave me nightmares for years. Havent watched this movie in about 15 years and I still love it.

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  32. The Fly - 1958

    Man, this movie scared the everloving crap out of me when I was a kid. The scene with the sly trapped in the web gave me nightmares for years. Havent watched this movie in about 15 years and I still love it.

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    1. Me too man! Nothing has ever scared me like that scene when I was a kid. Messed me up for years. I rewatched it recently and.... it did not have the same effect. haha But it's still a darn creepy scene.

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  33. Invasion Of The Bee Girls 1973
    Amazon Instant

    Did you guys know that when one of the local women gets ceremonially plastered with white goop and covered in bees, the existing Bee Girls have to start undressing and fondling themselves? Well they do. That's how it works.

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    1. Ah yes, Invasion of the Bee Girls, written by the director of Star Trek II and Star Trek VI, Nicholas Meyer.

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    2. You gotta break into the movie biz somehow :-)

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  34. Mimic (1997) (first time viewing)

    I guess I chose a popular one. Must not be a lot of bug movies? I'll echo above sentiments. It wasn't anything spectacular, but worth a look. I did think the giant murderroaches (I'm with Patrick, get on the phone with SyFy JP) were pretty cool and creepy.

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  35. The Fly (1986)

    Watched this yesterday for the first time but forgot to post about it. I was expecting something really campy, and that might have been what I got, but there was so much more to it than that. This movie really disturbed me in places, made me howl laughing in others, and pretty much emotionally devastated me in the last couple of scenes. It's probably as affecting as a goofy gross-out horror movie can be. Big recommendation from me, as if you needed it.

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  36. Arachnophobia (1990)

    Goddam it...I'm gonna use the weekend to catch up...Junesploitation is a beautiful relentless juggernaut!

    Avoided this movie as a kid because I expected it to scare the pants off me. Still enjoyable, and I enjoyed watching the creepy crawlies all done with practical effects and real spiders. And John Goodman always makes everything better.

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  37. The Swarm (1978, dir. Irwin Allen)

    This starts out great. Within the first 20 minutes you have killer bees taking out helicopters, a creepy hallucination involving a bee the size of a bear, Michael Caine doing lots of Yelling For No Reason, a stellar bee attack on a family picnic, and the line "insects have accomplished what nothing in the world could've done except germ warfare or a neutron bomb: Neutralize an ICBM site!" But then there's over 2 hours left to go, and while the ridiculousness never dries up, the fun does. Trailer.

    However, I also watched:

    Eega (2012, dir. S.S. Rajamouli & J.V.V. Sathyanarayana)

    Amazing! Nani is a normal guy who's hopelessly devoted to the girl next door, but she barely pays attention to him. He finally starts to win her over, but then a ruthless industrialist who's also interested in her has him murdered! Don't worry, though, because he's reincarnated as an ordinary housefly and seeks his revenge. Maybe I was just in exactly the right mood for it, but I think this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's clearly a big budget affair, and it not only fully commits to its absurd premise, it goes above and beyond what you'd expect from it. This is a full on action movie, only with a fly as the hero; it's kind of Darkman meets Mousehunt. It's also intentionally funny, genuinely romantic, and, wisely, pretty light on the musical numbers. I read somewhere that India was going to make this their submission to the Academy Awards, but changed their mind for some dumb reason. A new favorite, strongly recommended! Trailer

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    1. Holy, F-ing, hell. "Eega" seems insane. I'm sold!

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  38. This has been my favourite day thus far. Probably helped that I had the day off and could spend it immersed in BUGSPLOITATION!

    Infestation (2009):

    Great way to kick off bug day! Giant bugs take over the world? Why not! I was definitely not disappointed, and very much entertained throughout.

    Big Ass Spider! (2013):

    Mexican Robin! Holy shit I laughed for 5 minutes straight.

    Spider-Man (2002)
    Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    Spider-Man 3 (2007):

    IT'S BUGSPLOITATION DAY AND I'LL DO WHAT I WANT!

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  39. The Fly (1986)

    Jeff Goldblum is awesome. The make-up, literally breathtaking. The whole movie is just... great. Somehow they took such a gruesome character and made him the center of a really well done love story and a genuinely heart breaking tragedy. I think I'm gonna seek out more Cronenberg films now.

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