Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Nest - Scream Factory Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review

Roaches have never tasted meat... until now.

Year: 1988
Director: Terrence H. Winkless
Writer: Eli Cantor (novel), Robert King
Starring: Franc Luz, Terri Treas, Lisa Langlois, Robert Lansing

The quiet town of North Port is being overrun by cockroaches! Sheriff Tarbell (Franc Luz) believes that genetic experiments being conducted by the INTEC Corporation are the cause. Confronted with a potential disaster, Mayor Johnson (Robert Lansing) calls for help.

Warning: Dozens, possibly hundreds of roaches were harmed in the making of this film. I know a lot of people won't watch Cannibal Holocaust due to the very real animal death scenes, I'm not sure if there are these same kind of people for films with insect death, but if so, this is not the movie for you.

The Nest marked the directorial debut of Terrence H. Winkless who later directed Don "The Dragon" Wilson in Bloodfist and Michael York in the Not of this Earth remake remake in 1995 (this movie needs more remakes). Heading the cast is Franc Luz as Richard Tarbell, sheriff of the small town of North Port (population 700) who is dating Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois), the daughter of the Mayor (Robert Lansing). Sheriff Tarbell is kind of a charming, good time party sheriff - think Zack Morris, Ferris Bueller or any character John Cusack's ever been, but with handcuffs. He's a very likeable character and his scenes with Homer the doofus exterminator are often quite entertaining. The best character for me was Dr. Hubbard (Terri Treas), an adorably enthusiastic female scientist with extremely expressive eyebrows who is totally fascinated by the carnivorous cockroaches. She's an odd chick, she doesn't seem to care when flesheating roaches are eating through her glove and into her hand, she just loves to watch them work. Such a weird, fascinating character. I loved every minute she was onscreen.

While director Winkless doesn't seem to think much of his film (judging by the commentary), I personally enjoyed The Nest pretty immensely. Certainly not a thought-provoking film, The Nest is a fast paced and truly fun insect-run-amok flick with some very out there gore effects. This is the type of movie where the good effects are slimy and sickening and the not-so-good effects (skinned zombie cat, skinned guy and whatever the hell that last thing was supposed to be) are wildly funny and even more entertaining than the good.

This was a movie I'd heard of but never got around to seeing - I think I might've thought this and the inferior, and ridiculously confusing The Nesting were the same movie. Thanks Scream Factory for putting this out, I might've never gotten around to seeing this if it weren't for this Blu-ray release.

Canadian cutie Lisa Langlois comes pretty close to giving us a show, but ultimately we're given the shaft.

Roaches aren't scary insects, actually if you look at a closeup of their faces they're even kind of cute. There's even a full length The director was smart enough to compensate for their lack of menace by loading the film with plenty of gory aftermath shots. This is one of the gorier bug massacre films I can remember seeing. Not quite Slugs level grossout gore, but pretty close. The carnivorous cockroaches are essentially insect-ified piranha who make short work of ripping flesh from the bones of their prey, so things frequently get very bloody, very quickly. We've got skinless dogs, skinless cat attacks, a skinless roach/human hybrid taking a shotgun facial, and a doozy of a scene where a woman has an arm ripped off followed by having her head split open like a ripe cantaloup. James M. Navarra's effects aren't always convincing, but they will certainly leave an impression on you.

Things to watch for:
Homer: Mentally Retarded Extermination Expert
Canine Spare Ribs
Dishwasher Dumpster Dive
Human Roach Motel
Nuked Nocticolidae
Poached Roach
Cockroach POV Shot
Oddest credit by a Nest cast member in another film:
Terri Treas wins with the role of the voice of "Buchanan's car" in Frankenstein Unbound.

Scream Factory didn't load this up with extras like they usually do, the only feature here is the audio commentary with Terrence Winkless which is selectable from the Setup menu. However, light on extras or not, the Blu-ray looks amazing and The Nest is a hell of a fun movie that I highly recommend to creature feature fans.

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