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Wednesday 6 June 2012

Burl reviews The Nest! (1987)

Bug-bug-bug! It’s Burl! Yes, it’s me, Burl, here to review a movie that may well move you to embrace the human and put the insect aside! It’s called The Nest, and it’s all about what Washington, Barbarino, Horshack, Epstein and the gang used to call “cock-a-roaches!”
It takes place on an island that’s also a town, just like Jaws! The mayor wears a lot of cable-knit sweaters (and has a cable-knit brow) and has surreptitiously sold off half the island to some sort of experimental laboratory company! We only ever see one scientist though, and she’s in the Barbara Steele mould from Piranha, so that’s okay! Ha ha, it’s amazing this picture isn’t about some sort of killer fish though, because it really follows that template!
Well, in the meanwhile the sheriff is involved in a love triangle because his old ladyfriend, the proto-Polley Lisa Langlois, well known from John Huston’s Phobia and of course the rat picture Deadly Eyes, has returned to town! And in the meanwhile of all this, killer cucarachas have begun putting a biting on food, books, animals and folks clear across this benighted islet!
Homer the Pest Control Man gets involved, and eventually, after a scary encounter with giant disembodied testes, it is discovered that supposed victims of the roach horde have in fact become fused with it, becoming sort of bug zombies that transform further into insectomorphs as they roll awkwardly forward on their casters! Finally we meet the Queen, and find out exactly how the effects in John Carpenter’s The Thing would have looked if they’d only had a few bucks to put them together and Rob Bottin was busy that day!
Ha ha, Roger Corman must have surely had It Conquered the World flashbacks when he was introduced to this monster! Also good is the moment when they mayor’s cable-knit sweater bursts open to reveal his new Blattarian nature! And there’s a few moments of fake-looking but tasty gore too, like the head that gets chomped in two! Ha ha!
It’s not a good film, but it has a lot to admire! The acting is generally pretty good, with Robert Lansing a standout as the Mayor! It’s actually not a role completely without nuance, and Lansing pulls it off very well! Homer the Pest Control Man (the secret hero of the piece according to the director) is played by an actor who seems like a hormonally-created hybrid of Daniel Stern and Dennis Franz! If that’s your cup of tea, this may be the only serving of it available!
And I liked how much effort they put into the thing, with all those terrible special effects! Even terrible special effects are hard to make, and I’m sure there was no money and no time and very little staff available to do it! But they tried! It has a lighthouse like The Monster of Piedras Blancas, and there’s a tiny bit of small-town island atmosphere!
I’m an animal lover, so I can’t say I liked the scenes where first a dog and later a cat (and still later a cat zombie right out of Re-Animator) become roach food! And I’m never wild about seeing lots of bugs squished and killed in movies, even cock-a-roaches! Well, I’m a softie! Nevertheless, I’ll give The Nest two giant swinging ballsacks!

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