(director: Terence H. Winkless; screenwriters: Robert P. King/from the novel by Eli Cantor; cinematographer: Ricardo Jacques Gale; editors: Stephen Mark/James Austin Stewart; music: Rick Conrad; cast: Robert Lansing (Elias Johnson ), Lisa Langlois (Elizabeth Johnson), Franc Luz (Richard Tarbell), Terri Treas (Dr. Morgan Hubbard), Jack Collins (Shakey Jake), Stephen Davies (Homer), Nancy Morgan) (Lillian); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Julie Corman; MGM Home Entertainment; 1988)
“An enjoyable B movie about killing roaches.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An enjoyable B movie about killing roaches, that is not original. It thrills us by making the insects terrifying. Who can’t get into something like that? Terence H. Winkless(“Twice as Dead”/”Fire Over Afghanistan“/”Heart of Dance”), in his directorial debut, directs with tongue-and-cheek wit this nightmarish horror sci-fi thriller about the world in need of being saved from giant cockroaches. It’s based on the novel by Eli Cantor and is written by Robert P King.
The remote New England resort town of North Port is a Peyton Place like community. Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois), Mayor Johnson’s (Robert Lansing) daughter and former wife of Sheriff Richard Tarbell (Franc Luz), returns home after a four-year absence because of her mom’s suicide. The sheriff, the pic’s hero, is dating local diner waitress Lillian (Nancy Morgan) and trying to rebound from the loss of someone he dearly loved.
The small town discovers many of their pets and locals are missing. The unscrupulous mayor asks the INTEC Corporation for help, that’s the company he got paid off under the table to sign a deal with. The mayor’s suspicions of INTEC’s involvement with this disaster are confirmed when Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas) investigates and informs us that INTEC has been conducting illegal experiments by using insecticides. The result is the creation of flesh-eating giant roaches, who though designed for cannibalistic purposes, so the roaches will kill each other off, instead the giants developed a greater taste for animals and humans. Also, they can mutate what they eat.
A pleasing reminder of those iconic 1950’s bug films, but with great updated special effects. The film has two highlight scenes, which erased any of my doubts about its entertainment value. One is of the mayor becoming a giant roach and attacking his daughter and the other is of the sexy Dr. Hubbard becoming sexually aroused when touched by a roach.
Stephen Davies as the zany exterminator is a funny dude.
The pic does a good job of blending together the silly and the gory. It’s a fun splatter film in the Roger Corman style.
REVIEWED ON 4/26/2015 GRADE: B+