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Movies In The Parx - Insecticidal

Every movie reviewer or critic has that one friend.

You know who they are.

They’re your own personal Jerry Springer: bringing to light things that you didn’t know of and had secretly hoped didn’t exist.

They find ‘em.

They watch ‘em.

And then…they want to pass the pain onto you.

I have a friend like that. One that made me watch Zombie Tidal Wave. And Llamageddon. And Benny Loves You. It’s the friend that you wonder if somehow, someway, they might secretly hate you. Well, after the amount of pain that’s been doled out, it’s time she gets her own segment here at the Cat.

Welcome to Movies in the Parx.

And yes, alcohol is REQUIRED.

What better way to start than a film she’s been recommending for quite some time: Insecticidal. Let’s get a synopsis out of the way before we plunge into this one.

Life in the Beta Upsilon Gamma sorority will never be the same again. Cami is the outcast among her sisters, including the queen bitch Josi, and finds solace in her insects and her experiments. An escaped scorpion triggers Josi to kill them with bug spray, but Cami’s experiments have not only rendered them immune…they’ve made the insects THRIVE! Now, having grown to epic proportions, Cami and her sorority sisters need to find a way to stay alive as giant insects rampage throughout the house, craving human flesh!

At least, that’s my version. What you’ll find on IMDB is the following, “Sophomoric, amateurish, pathetic, cheesy, junky, lame, boring, second-rate garbage is what is in store for you in this super-dumb dork fest of a low budget film.” Not exactly kind. And, most importantly, not exactly fair either. Truth be told, yes…it is in fact all those things but to criticize it for that is kinda missing the point. Let me see if I can illustrate what I mean.

Within the first few seconds of the film…er…movie…um…flick? Yeah, let’s go with flick. Anyway, this flick right up front shows you what it’s all about: nudity, gratuitous lesbians, PS1 FMV-level special effects and bugs…bugs rendered in said PS1 graphics. So if you’re taking this film seriously in any way shape or form…that’s on you. With blood, breasts and beasts right up front, any trained mutant knows we’re headed to the drive-in. So, could I make fun of the horrible…horrible special effects. Sure. It’d be like shooting fish in a barrel. But through well-boozed mutant eyes, it’s simply going to be an announcement that we’re in for some fun.

On the nudity front, for its 81-minute running time, the flick is doing its best to show you a pair of breasts at least once every 10 minutes. Sometimes more. [We’d do a breast count, but we leave that to the professionals. – Ed.] Now, this might be the booze talking…as I’m writing this directly after watching the film (and the autocorrect/predictive text already has its work cut out for it)…but the opening pair of boobs in the film (not from the opening sex scene, those are covered, I’m talking about the shower/first kill) are definitely worth the price of admission (and DEFINITELY eclipse anything we saw in Nude Nuns With Big Guns). As we progress in the film however, there’s definitely a size reduction…I guess going for quantity (or is that quan-titty) over quality. [Seriously, he’s drunk, the jokes are only going to get worse. – Ed.] But while we’re on this topic, I have to admit here is where we stumble upon the biggest problem with the movie.  Samantha McLeod, who plays Sophi…one of the aforementioned lesbians…clearly has the largest bust of anyone in the cast. Hell, she and her two major talents are even featured on the movie poster! Drive-in etiquette demands that we get to see those at some point in the film…but, alas, those bazoombas never spring free of their material prison. If we here at the Cat worked on the 1-4 star rating system, that’d be an automatic half-star deduction. Not cool movie…not cool.

Let’s shift gears to practical effects. Most of this ends up being dismembered body parts, a couple of leaches and much blood and goop splatter. These are done well enough…perhaps even workmanlike…meaning that there’s nothing too impressive here, but it gets the job done. Points do have to be awarded to Josi’s slow metamorphosis throughout the second half of the movie though. There were at least a couple of body horror scenes that made me flinch…and my stomach do a three-point gainer off the high board. Unfortunately, there was more that needed to be done but wasn’t. With both the mutated mantis and scorpion, there were plenty of opportunities for slash wounds and punctures. Sure, this being low-budget, it’s not like I can expect Savini or KNB level practical effects…but when films like Wolfcop exist that show you that you can make a way too convincing dick explode, amongst other things, on a low-budget production so long as your effects guy is sick and demented enough to find a way, it feels like a missed opportunity that the practical guys here just did not have the level of insanity to go the proper distance.

Ordinarily, this is where I’d look at the performances of the cast. Yeah, this is not one of those cases. It wasn’t as abysmal as it could have been (Llamageddon, I’m looking at you…), but there are a few flubbed lines or awkward movements that take you out of the flick briefly. I will say that we do have an instance of overacting…and the Shatner award goes to…Rhonda Dent for her portrayal of Josi. Look, playing the bitch role of a slasher and making the audience want to see you get your comeuppance is one thing, but she takes it to a level where even cartoon baddies like Snidely Whiplash would pull her to the side and suggest she show at least a little restraint. Within the first 15 minutes, again, might be the booze talking, I found myself saying to the TV “Yes, yes, we get it, she’s the bitch…get on with it!” [To get the full extent of that last bit, you’re gonna need to refer to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. – Ed.] Crap…looks like I went over the performances anyway. Moving on…

Lastly, let’s talk about dem bugs. Look, if I wanted to be a serious movie critic, then yes, we’d have to tear these bugs apart. But I gotta admit, it’s through Insecticidal that I’ve finally made peace with Argento’s Dracula 3-D. Now, I’ve always felt that Argento is horribly overhyped in the horror community…but that’s a rant for another time. But what shocked me watching that film was that here this guy is, the supposed maestro of Italian horror, and the creatures in his film look like, heh, PS2 level graphics! Granted, yes, that’s an improvement over the PS1 graphics we have here in this flick, but given how low budget this is…to say NOTHING of the fact that Argento’s film came out in 2012…a whole freaking 7 years after Insecticidal…and, you know what, no, I’m not gonna trash these guys. Power to the little people on this one. There’s actually a kind of charm to these bugs, almost that warm, fuzzy nostalgia feeling of playing an FMV game on an early CD-ROM, be it PC or Sega or what have you.

To sum up, Insecticidal is a fun little flick for those of the drive-in mutant persuasion. It’s certainly got the three B’s and doesn’t skimp on any of them. But you can’t go into this movie with a serious disposition. Or sober for that matter. Leave those things at the door. With its 81-minute run time, it also doesn’t overstay its welcome. You get bugs, breasts, blood and then right out just before the joke gets old. As I mentioned earlier, the only negative really is that the one pair of boobs you most want to see [Again, alcohol talking. – Ed.] never come out to play. And that’s a shame.

Now, in the past, I’ve rated some of these style of film on two separate scales: a sober one and a drunk one. For this segment, there’s only one scale…and that’s the inebriated one. And with the right BAC, this is totally a Happy Cat experience.

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