Bug Buster

October 22nd, 2008 | by Sqotty |

Normally I wouldn’t do a review of a movie that came out 10 years ago, but, sometimes, there has to be exceptions. And this is one of them. You see, there is a back story to this film review.

While cleaning out the downstairs office I ran across a movie script that I had picked up as a door prize at a convention some 10 years ago. I couldn’t tell you which one now, as it was a while ago. The script was for a film called “Blatella” and the cast included James Doohan and Anne Lockhart. This script had been autographed by most of the cast.

Back then, when I acquired the script, I had not heard of this movie, except for the script. Now, running across it again, I showed it to my wife and looked it up on IMDB. The film, when it was finally released, had changed names to “Bug Buster” and billed as a Sci-fi Comedy and also featured George Takei (who had not autographed the script I had). My wife, reading the script, said it was no comedy. What the heck…it was available on DVD from Amazon, so I ordered a copy. I watched it last night. It is not a comedy. There are some scenes that are quite hilarious, but comedy it is not.

Creepy, yes. Comedy, no.

Okay, we’ve got that part out of the way.

You would think that with a name like “Bug Buster” you could expect a low-budget creep show and that it would meet low expectations. Creep show, yes, Low expectations, exceeded. It is a fine movie, excellent production and great performances by the cast.

James Doohan plays the sheriff in a small town that is suddenly plagues by a series of deaths by cockroaches. George Takei plays the scientist who uncovers the real truth about these bugs, and bears out his greatest fears. Bernie Koppel (Get Smart, Loveboat) and Anne Lockhart (original Battlestar Galactica) play the unfortunate couple to buy a resort in the plagued town just as the deaths begin. Randy Quaid (also, no autograph, The Long Riders) plays General George, bug exterminator, and provides comic relief through his TV commercials for his extermination business. The General’s tag line “From the jungles of Vietnam, to the jungles of your home,” sets the tone for what he is about.

The film maintains suspense as the sheriff and his prize deputy, Bo, attempt to work out the origin of the bug infestation that is killing the people in Mountview, working closely with the local veterinarian, who was a graduate student of Professor Fujimoto.

As the number of bodies accumulates, Deputy Bo calls in extermination expert General George S. Merlin, an obvious parody of Patton, substituting bugs and rodents for communists. Maybe that really isn’t such a far stretch. The General rolls into town behind the wheel of his Hummer, equipped for the expedition and ready for bear. Guns, grenades, flame throwers, and more. He was looking forward to the challenge of eliminating this bug infestation.

Meanwhile, throughout the story, Shannon Griffin (Katherine Heigl) is plagued with an ongoing nightmare of being covered in bugs. Predictably, this nightmare does manifest in reality.

The people who die, do so in horrible and gruesome ways, but the circumstances tend to be, well, funny? Playing a saxophone; watching a classic horror movie; as well as other places and activities. There is also the TV news talking head who is absolutely ludicrous in her lack of sensitivity, reminiscent of the song “Dirty Laundry”, providing additional comedy relief.

All of the acting was very well done, the film maintained good pacing and suspense, making this a lot better than your typical B-picture horror film. Also of note, I believe this is the last movie to feature Takei and Doohan, both of Star Trek fame, in the same film, as well as being one of Doohan’s last films.

Overall, this is a good film, especially if you like films with people dying gruesome deaths. Which I don’t, but I still liked this film. The only thing that was missing was the popcorn. But then, after watching it, you may want to avoid popcorn at the movies for a while.


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