Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bug Buster (1998)

... aka: Some Things Never Die

Directed by:
Lorenzo Doumani

There's loads of goofy fun in this silly camp comedy. An older couple (charmingly played by Bernie Kopell and Anne Lockhart) and their beautiful teenage daughter (the luminous Katherine Heigl from BRIDE OF CHUCKY) buy a lakeside lodge / bar in the small California town of "Mountview". They start taking boarders and open the bar where a fun country music band look and sound like a white trash version of the B52s. A strange, giant variety of cockroach (actually an exotic beetle, also used in 1975s BUG), that breed in moisture and dwell in dark places, start using larvae, worms, fish, and finally, humans, as hosts to incubate their species, which results in mutations and death. So, it's time to call in an expert to put an end to the carnage; Nam vet pest exterminator General George (a mugging Randy Quaid). This takes delight in throwing in all the usual cliches, serving as a parody and it doesn't skimp on the (usually mediocre) effects, either. A pretty good giant flying "Mother" bug even shows up at the end in a cave. The cast does a terrific job. I'm not sure who Brenda Doumani is (the directors wife or sister, perhaps), but she's great as the token local scientist and George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek), playing her former professor, reminded me of Mr. Miyagi on speed. To solidify the Star Trek connection, James Doohan is on hand as a small town sheriff.

The cast also includes Meredith Salenger as the town slut (who's named after a porno actress), former MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown as a reporter, Cliff Emmich, Dennis Fimple and Johnny Legend (as part of the band). Be willing to such eye rollers as, "Let's get ready to bumble," though!


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