Terence H. Winkless
Written By: Robert King
Robert Lansing as: Elias Johnson
Lisa Langlois as: Elizabeth Johnson
Franc Luz as: Richard Terbell
Terri Treas as: Dr. Morgan Hubbard
Stephen Davies as: Homer
From the opening scene of The Nest, which combines something I really love, coffee, with something I abhor, a cockroach swimming in it, you pretty much know what you are in for, should also be able to measure your tolerance for this type of nature run amok flick.
In a small town named North Port, Sheriff Richard Tarbell (Franc Luz) is dating Lilian (Nancy Morgan), the owner of a local diner. But, his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Johnson (Lisa Langlois) comes back after being away for four years. She also happens to be the daughter of the town’s mayor, Elias Johnson (Robert Lansing). She soon finds a dog that is killed and has been eaten leaving only flesh and bone. Elias seems to know what is occurring and calls in Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas). It turns out, she works for a ruthless corporation named INTEC that he is cahoots with. She had engineered a flesh eating, seemingly unstoppable breed of cockroach, which were made to eliminate regular roaches. Unfortunately, the deadly bugs turn out more resilient than she had ever imagined, and soon humans are also on their menu. The Sheriff is determined to stop them, but rightfully does not fully trust or like the doctor. As they learn more about the bugs, they see that the danger keeps getting bigger and the situation worse.
From the opening scene of The Nest, which combines something I really love, coffee, with something I abhor, a cockroach swimming in it, you pretty much know what you are in for, should also be able to measure your tolerance for this type of nature run amok flick. If you can take the high amount of roaches featured front and center in this film, then dive right in, as you’ll be in for a real fun, low-budget gem that is ripe for rediscovery.
The main attraction here is, of course, the gross factor, which is truthfully quite high. First off, there is graphic gore, which at times pushes the “R” rating. The FX themselves range from terribly fake looking roaches to some convincing splatter gags. Said violence includes human and animal victims that are eaten till nothing is left but flesh carcasses, as well as crushed and exploding heads, blood splattering squibs, amputations, and other bits of bloody mayhem. But, it’s the roaches that really make this one extra disgusting. There all types of them in this, including your household variety, Madagascar hissing roaches, and even flying ones! One of the most stomach churning scenes is also one of the funniest. At the diner, pretty Lilian disposes of the nasty little bugs via blenders, toasters, microwaves, and hot coffee, all while La Cucaracha is playing in the background! In fact, there are moments of sly humor featured in certain scenes that just adds to the overall fun.
There are also some crazy plot twists that I won’t reveal, but they really help to set The Nest, at least somewhat, apart from some of its nature-borne brethren. Admitadly, though, much of these visuals and situations were done before and better in Squirm, the 70s killer worm film from Jeff Lieberman, but they still work, and, are welcome additions to this movie.
The acting ranges from adequate to pretty good. Luz makes for a likable enough hero. Langlois is also good, but really the best acting comes from Lansing as her dad, who makes for an interestingly sketchy character. Even, more fun to watch is Treas as the crazy scientist. She is also quite easy on the eyes.
This gross little killer bug movie from Roger Corman’s former studio, Concorde Pictures, was produced by his wife, Julie Corman, and received a limited release. I saw it many years ago when it aired on the USA network’s now defunct weekend showcase for horror movies, Saturday Nightmares. I liked it, but I never thought it would hit blu-ray. Low behold Shout Factory’s horror division Scream Factory put it out last month. And, what nice release it is! Available in a blu-ray/ DVD combo, the movie looks great and sounds even better. The cool sound FX made by the roaches sound awesome on a nice entertainment system. The only extra feature, though, is an informative running commentary by director Terence H. Winkless.
The Nest is always gross and always entertaining. Sure it won’t win any awards for being the most original movie, but it’s well done in its derivative and empty-headed style. It’s one of those movies you just shut your brain off, sit back, and enjoy. Just be ready to feel your skin crawl and wish you had a can of Raid next to you!