The final four! Yes, it’s the month of Halloween and people are thinking about scary and creepy things, so it only stands to reason that we round out our list of the “20 Movies that Will Make You Call an Exterminator” this month. It’s been a lot of fun hearing your thoughts on this topic, making suggestions, and telling me where I am way off.
We have been through cheesy 70s nature horror flicks. We have some true sci-fi, horror and adventure classics on the list. I am sure there are films that I’ve missed, too, or that I just haven’t seen. But that’s what happens when you make a list. There is never enough room for everything.
Part One: Films #20-#15
Part Two: Films #14-#10
Part Three: Films #9-#5
Also, don’t forget that we are more than experts in great pest-related movies, but also experts in reliable pest control for a variety of common pest issues. Contact your local Western Exterminator technician today.
Now here we are, the final four films. I think that these four are true classics of cinema, giving the maximum bang for the buck here. So, let’s start with the master himself who comes in at number four!
4. The Birds (1963)
Most people forget that birds can be pests, too, even in real life and particularly pigeons and seagulls! Birds bring a host of health risks to people, and of course in this movie it goes well beyond the norm.
Hitchcock himself helped kick off the 70s man-against-nature feature film fun with this movie adapted from a terrifying short story by Daphne du Maurier. What makes this movie so scary is that no explanation is ever given as to why the birds have decided to start attacking humans. They just do.
Throughout the film there are horrific scenes of crows, seagulls and other birds deciding that it’s time for humanity to go. Hitchcock used state of the art special effects and creepy, horrific sound effects to make one of the best thrillers in the 20th century.
In the movie the tiny California town of Bodega Bay is suddenly besieged by thousands of seagulls, crows and other birds. Hitchcock was notoriously rough on actress Tippi Hedren who spent a week in a room with real and fake birds either attached to her or being thrown at her for a final scene where she is attacked. It caused her to have a near breakdown. Perhaps it was all worth it because The Birds has become a thriller classic of cinema and a subtle reminder that too many birds is just that—too many birds.
3. The Fly (1958 and 1985)
I am going to allow both the original 1958 version that stars Vincent Price or the gory and gross remake by director David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum from the 80s. Both of them feature pretty much the same concept – a man invents a machine that can teleport matter and decides to test it on himself. He doesn’t realize that a fly has entered the machine with him and the computer, unsure of what to do, fuses the two together.
In the 1958 version the scientist has the head and arm of a fly, while in the version from the 80s the scientist slowly and horrifically degenerates into his fly-human condition. The original contains the classic scene of a fly with a human head and arm, trapped in a spider’s web, screaming “Help me! Help me!”
Both are chilling in their own right and both version have become classics in the horror genre.
Also, if your business or home has a problem with flies, don’t let them ruin your reputation. Contact us for help with flies and other pests today!
2. Big Ass Spider (2013)
Well, of course, you say! You had to have this one on the list, right? It’s the one that you’re in! (It did get a 79% score on Rotten Tomatoes and won the Saturn award for best DVD release of 2013.) But then you think – wait, why is it number two and not the number one movie? What’s up with that? First off, that would indicate that my list is completely objective, right? But stop talking, imaginary person in my head, and let me explain!
Yes, this is a movie in which I do feature quite prominently. However, the real star is a Western Exterminator technician, Alex Mathis, played by star Greg Grunberg, who is a specialist in dealing with spiders and in real-life happens to be a 15+ year Western Exterminator customer. It’s a story of this towering mutant arachnid rampaging across Los Angeles and the two heroes who try to stop it. This particular spider has been mixed with some alien DNA and is growing into the giant arachnid that you see in the trailer, crawling around on the buildings and potentially destroying life on planet earth as we know it.
Containing state-of-the-art special effects and a script that crackles with good humor, this is one you have to watch. Certain to be considered a horror, sci-fi classic fifty years from now. Trust me on that one.
So, if the movie that I am in is not number one, what the heck could it be? Well, there was only one movie that I felt fit the bill. The movie that started the giant-insect movie trend of the 50s and early 60s, which led to the man-against-nature trend of the 70s and without which there would not have been a Big Ass Spider movie for me to star in….
1. Them! (1954)
The original is still the best!
Although the special effects seem rather cheesy and quaint by today’s standards, it’s hard to stress enough what an impact this movie had on audiences back in the 50s. Them! kicked off a huge number of giant-bug movies and preyed upon people’s fears of radiation as the Cold War itself kicked off between the United States and the Soviet Union. The U.S. was still doing testing of nuclear weapons in the Nevada desert and people wondered what the radiation was doing to the planet. It’s probably no coincidence that the film takes place in New Mexico, home of the Roswell UFO/alien legends from the 40s.
Starring the acclaimed actor James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn (who starred as Kris Kringle in 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street), Warner Bros. contract actor Joan Weldon, James Arness (later of Marshal Matt Dillon fame in the TV show Gunsmoke), and a smaller role for Fess Parker (1955 TV’s Davy Crockett and in 1964 TV’s Daniel Boone), Them! is the first of the nuclear scare movies and the first big-bug flick.
The New York times called it “taut science fiction” and Variety reviewed Them! as a “top-notch science fiction shocker. It has a well-plotted story, expertly directed and acted in a matter-of-fact style to rate a chiller payoff and thoroughly satisfy the fans of hackle-raising melodrama.” Them! was nominated for an Academy Award for its special effects.
But to be at all believable, there has to be a great storyline. Well, in this movie the radiation causes a hill of ants to grow to giant size and to start attacking people, a scenario that at the time was not at all far-fetched in the minds of moviegoers. At first the Army contains the invasion of giant ants to the New Mexico desert, but soon they discover that an ant queen and several of her consorts have relocated to the Los Angeles sewer system. The Army enters the sewers and a massive battle between the giant insects and humans begins.
Not only did the movie receive great reviews at the time it was released, current day reviewers score to as a resounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is generally considered a modern sci-fi, horror classic. In many ways it’s the grandaddy of every other film on this list.
OK, so there you have it. I know that there are a lot more out there, but this is my own list of personal favorites. It’s been fun sharing these with you and let me remind you that if you find that you have a pest problem beyond your ability to control, be it a tiny insect or the big giant kind, you can always count on the experts at Western Exterminator to help.