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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
Alien
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
BUG BUSTER - 1998
DMG Entertainment
Rated: USA: R

There I was, standing in the horror aisle, when I saw it: BUG BUSTER. I saw it and I thought . . . nothing, because who the hell ever heard of it? But then I saw the credits on the box. The cast includes George Takei and James Doohan! (Sulu and Scotty from Star Trek - don't pretend you don't know!). So for that reason alone I decided to give it a shot.

BUG BUSTER, directed by Lorenzo Doumani and written by Malick Khoury, begins with a press conference where an insecticide manufacturer is reassuring everyone that a spill involving their product will cause no ill effects. The speaker is interrupted by crazed scientist Dr. Fujimoto (George Takei: STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN, OBLIVION, OBLIVION 2) who proclaims that an ecological disaster is imminent.

Jump forward thirteen years and meet Shannon Griffin (Katherine Heigl: BRIDE OF CHUCKY). Shannon and family are just moving to the town a Mount View, site of the lake where the insecticide spill took place. Shannon's father Gil (Bernie Kopell) has purchased a local hotel and plans on retiring here.

Bad timing. The spilled chemicals from more than a decade before have been slowly creating mutations in the lake. A young couple goes skinny dipping (always a bad idea in a horror flick) and the girl is bitten by something in the water. She survives, but the wound spreads.

This incident causes the sheriff (James Doohan: THE SATAN BUG, PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW, STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN) to close the Lake, much to the distress of the local tourist industry. But of course it's too little too late as the mutant underwater cockroaches begin to take out the townsfolk.

Yeah, you heard me. I said, "Mutant underwater cockroaches." I can't sugar-coat the truth any more: This movie SUCKED! It sucked so bad I don't know where to begin to make you understand how much it sucked.

Should I tell you about the constant, repetitive use of stock footage?

Should I tell you about the sheriff taking a corpse to a woman who you think is the town doctor for an autopsy, but you discover later that she's a veterinarian? Maybe I should describe the horribly stilted, cliché-ridden dialogue?

The "film-student" feel comes through in the dialogue as well, in the many movie references made by the characters. When he closes the lake the sheriff says he doesn't want to wait too long "like the sheriff in Jaws" and later says that they should quarantine the town "like in Outbreak."

George Takei shows up a few more times. It turns out the town doctor/vet/coroner Veronica Hart (Meredith Salenger: THE KISS, DEAD BEAT, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED [1995]) was a former student of Dr. Fujimoto so she calls him seeking advice. He's never actually in any of the scenes with anyone - we just see him in his lab talking on the phone. And as for the very potent Mr. Doohan (he's 80 years old now but recently managed to impregnate his much younger wife), he tries his best to portray the badly written Scooby-Doo-cartoon-character sheriff but just doesn't seem to have the power to pull it off.

The only bright spot is Randy Quaid (INDEPENDENCE DAY). He pops up every few minutes in a local TV commercial as professional exterminator General George S. Merlin, but doesn't actually battle the mutant bugs until the very end (the Mother Bug played by Doug Jones: THE NEWLYDEADS, NIGHT ANGEL, CARNAL CRIMES, BATMAN RETURNS, TANK GIRL, MIMIC, THE OUTER LIMITS [TV - 1998]). The TV commercials are over the top and entertaining.

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
There were so many . . . I don't . . . Ah, screw it.

This is a seriously bad movie, but not in the "so-bad-it's-good" way. There are a few scenes so bad they'll make you laugh, but the rest is just too annoying. I give it two Negative Shriekgirls.


This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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