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John’s Old School Horror Corner: The Nest (1988), Hollywood has only once yielded a better killer cockroach movie

August 4, 2012

MY CALL:  Not to be confused with the completely dissimilar The Nesting (1981), this is a vermin gone monstrously wrong flick that starts out slow but ultimately does well for itself and gorehound horrorfans.  While you’ll never see the scene depicted on the provocative DVD cover, this was a respectable and surprisingly nudity-free Roger Corman flick that really deserves a chance.  After all, Hollywood has only once yielded a better killer cockroach movie (i.e., Mimic).  [B-]  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHHumanoids from the Deep (1980), Of Unknown Origin (1983), Gnaw: Food of the Gods II (1989), Slugs (1989), Piranha 3D (2010), The Thing (2011).

The Nest Movie Roger Corman 1988 Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois, Franc Luz, Terri Treas, Stephen Davies, Nancy Morgan, Heidi Helmer

It’s tourist season in a New England fishing town and, just like in Jaws (1975) or Piranha 3D (2010), the people are very concerned about their island community’s tourist season revenue.  But Sheriff Tarbell’s (Robert Lansing; Empire of the Ants) recent missing person reports are becoming less than routine when roaches start killing people—after they tired of killing rats, cats and dogs, of course.

The Nest Movie Roger Corman 1988 Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois, Franc Luz, Terri Treas, Stephen Davies, Nancy Morgan, Heidi Helmer

His old flame who just got back in town, Beth (Lisa Langois; Deadly Eyes (1982), Phobia (1980)), stumbles across a strange research prospectus and, like anyone cast in a cheap horror flick, investigates on her own.  Near the town, she finds an old research site.  Who’s research?

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Kicked out of MIT for conducting illegal experiments, Dr. Hubbard (Terri Treas; The Terror Within (1989), House IV (1992)) was working on making a roach that would eat other roaches.  I liked her from the start.  She handles an oozy animal corpse like it’s no big deal and uses a live cat as “bait” in a roach trap—doesn’t end well for the cat.  Just like in Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Dr. Hubbard knows far more than she tells the townspeople.  There’s always someone who knows but doesn’t share the knowledge to save lives…ever since the days of Alien (1979) all the way to Prometheus (2012).

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“Why are these fire extinguishers so damned ineffective?”

What Hubbard calls a Periplaneta hybrid has a “remarkable capacity for adaptation.”  They become immune to chemical agents over the span of 15 minutes of running time.  So evacuate, right?  No.  Dr. Hubbard has “everything completely under control” and thinks she can do it another way.  These roaches are regular size but can bite through heavy duty rubber gloves, make giant slimy cocoons, and with every generation they evolve into more dangerous, chemically resistant, and intelligent roaches than their progenitors.  These roaches start working together to eliminate their human pests and will even cut off the electricity to do it (which reminds me of the domestic nightmare rat pest from Of Unknown Origin).

All in good fun, these roaches instantaneously delete flesh and body parts on contact and, at one point, a guy sinks into them as if he were sinking in quicksand or, perhaps, a meat grinder.  The fun really starts when we learn that they “become” what they eat.  We meet a roach-cat hybrid-thing that looks like a skinned cat with antennae and mandibles leaping about and trying to kill people (reminiscent of The Thing).  And a guy goes through an elaborately gross transformation and is turned into a grotesquely gored up, skinless, roach-human zombie hybrid which, with a strong but much less poetic nod to The Fly (1986), is killed by a shotgun to the head at point blank by a loved one.

1988 Voyage au Bout de l'Horreur AKA The Nest - BDRip 1080p [RpK]_mkv_snapshot_01_22_25_[2014_02_08_00_38_51]

The Nest Movie Roger Corman 1988 Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois, Franc Luz, Terri Treas, Stephen Davies, Nancy Morgan, Heidi Helmer

So bad!  You’ve gotta’ love it!

The “queen” roach is a ridiculously macabre masterpiece of combined human corpses, some mandibles, and I don’t even know what else.

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I hope that last paragraph sold you.  It sure would have worked on me.  If you enjoy gore then you’d be stupid to skip this delicious flick.

SCIENTIFIC SIDEBAR:  A few pieces of nonsense to dismiss.  1) This movie features many unrelated genera (and, by extension, species) of cockroach—Periplaneta (Blattidae), Gromphadorrhina, Blaberus (Blaberidae).  2) The town’s entomologist diagnoses oothecae (roach egg cases) as roach droppings even though the producers used real handfuls of oothecae as props.  3) Roaches do not have queens.  4) If a roach eats a cat and then lays eggs, I am almost certain that it will take longer than overnight before a mandibled, skinless, roach-cat hybrid-thing attacks you.

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Here are a couple of less successful movie posters used to market this movie…

The one above just sucks.  The one below looks like they’re trying to make you think this is like The Thing.

the-nest-poster

 

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