THE NEST (1988)
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Killer cockroach flick comes from Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures and was produced by his wife Julie. The story finds the small island community of North Port suddenly under siege by a swarm of flesh eating cockroaches. As local Sheriff Tarbell (Frank Luz) investigates along with the cute mayor’s daughter, Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois), they find the sinister INTEC corporation has conducted genetic experiments on the local roach population. Now their Frankenstein creation is out of control and not only are they hungry for flesh, but are impervious to pesticides and have an annoying habit of becoming genetically combined with whatever they eat. Will the citizens of North Port somehow defeat this six legged army or become mutant roach fodder one and all?
This fun B-Movie is directed with a sense of humor by Terence H. Winkless from a script by Robert King based on Eli Cantor’s book. Winkless takes his subject seriously, but knows this is a silly flick, so there is a healthy dose of humor to go with the plentiful gore and numerous deaths. What makes it work is that the film blends the humor and more serious aspects well, so we are willing to go along with it for entertainments sake. The FX are kind of cheesy, especially when it enters John Carpenter’s The Thing territory as our villainous insects begin to “become what they eat”, but that’s part of it’s charm. We also get the traditional sinister corporation conspiracy personified by the town’s greedy, sell-out mayor (film veteran Robert Lansing) and the traditional mad scientist (Corman regular Terri Treas) who refuses to see what they have wrought. It all adds up to a fun little flick that doesn’t try to be more than it is and makes no excuses for what it is, either.
The cast are all adequate, but there will be no awards given out here. Robert Lansing does the best work as greedy Mayor Johnson, but Lansing is a film veteran and a veteran of these type of flicks, so he gives it his all despite the silly premise. Luz is bland but serviceable as lead Sheriff Tarbell and Langlois is a feisty heroine in support of him. Terri Treas, who had a busy film and TV career in the 80s and 90s, has some fun with her mad scientist role and gives her part a little needed over-the-top. Overall, exactly the level of talent you’d expect in a flick like this, save for the long-time veteran Lansing…and it works with the tone of the material.
This isn’t a great movie. It’s a fun little B-horror flick, though, and the cheese, gore and humor mix well enough to make it so. It knows it’s material enough to not take it too seriously, but serious enough not to make a complete joke out of it. Julie Corman and Co. deliver something worthy of her husband’s pictures, and certainly worth a watch with some brews and friends with like-wise taste in these kind of flicks. A fun, unassuming B-Movie.
Now available on blu-ray from the awesome folks at Scream Factory!
3 genetically enhanced roaches.