Bug Buster (DVD)

Bug Buster DVD (click for larger image)Starring Katherine Heigl, James Doohan, George Takei, Randy Quaid

Directed by Lorenzo Doumani

Distributed by Starz Home Entertainment

It’s a Nineties flashback! Break out your PSone, $500 DVD player and Mossimo shirts. This decade was the prime era of low budget or lame insect and animal horror flicks: Bats, Lake Placid, Slugs and today’s topic, Bug Buster.

Bug Buster encompasses everything we’ve come to know from a creature feature from the decade. The audience can break out a book of cliches, and odds are someone is going home in a body bag by the time the credits roll. Does that mean that it’s a bad film? Not necessarily as many B-movies retain a certain charm that makes them watchable but usually in groups of two or more people.

Bug Buster DVD (click for larger image)The town of Mountview is a quiet, small place where nothing ever really happens. Shannon Griffin isn’t excited about that news as her folks drive into the place they now call home. Shannon’s parents have purchased the local lodge that features boating, skiing and a built-in white trash band. Someone should have done a little research before dropping a large chunk of change into this place.

Years ago the state government decided to dust the entire area with a pesticide that wasn’t too safe for humans and especially unfriendly to insects in an unusual way. Dr. Hiro Fujimoto (Takei) tried to warn them, but this wouldn’t be a horror film if everyone paid attention to the smartest man in the room.

Not long after the Griffin family’s arrival do people start popping up dead. The bodies are void of all flesh but bursting with bugs. The problem becomes so bad that the town is shut off from the rest of the world and TV commercial legend General George (Quaid) is called in to “kick some bug ass!” Can the General exterminate the creepy crawly threat? Will “Sulu” and “Scotty” team up for a Star Trek convention when the whole thing blows over? Oh, if only this film were that bitchin’.

Bug Buster DVD (click for larger image)The story itself is pretty cut & paste from every other film of this type, and the acting sits in the middle of the road and never tries to move, but at least the cast know how to act. There are three exceptions to this though, and those are the guest stars. The late James Doohan is a nice surprise mainly due to his good nature and … well, he is “Scotty”. The same can be said about George Takei, who goes a bit over-the-top with his gig as a scientist, but his segments are easily the best. If only “Sulu” had been allowed to save the day. If he did, however, then the film would have no place for General George. This was clearly Quaid’s best film role in some time, at least during the Nineties. The General gets all the best lines and a nifty flamethrower. Any man that will blow up a huge light-up sign just to kill one rat deserves a whole series of films.

The amount of gore and special effects is limited to a few awesome bug-infested corpses and a really bad looking Mama bug. The insects are the real stars that make the skin creep in this film. The bad stop-motion and CGI can be dismissed by anyone with a bug phobia. They may laugh and scoff at the FX, but there’s no doubt a few heads will turn when the multi-legged buggers are crawling all over naked skin.

There it was, a trip down memory lane. Films like these may have been bad, but there’s just something about them that tops newer direct-to-DVD fare. If the bug ass-kicking had happened earlier and with more action, the General could have become a new cult icon. As is it takes forever for anything cool to happen.
Too bad.

Special Features


2 1/2 out of 5

Special Features

1/2 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.

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