Hollywood loves pests. No, I’m not talking about that latest movie star that you think is annoying, I mean bugs and rats and the kinds of things we deal with on a daily basis here at Western Exterminator. The people who make movies for the theater or TV love to have pests big and small to scare people or make them squirm.
As you might imagine, I am a bit of an aficionado of these types of movies and I know that some of you out there are, too. There are many cartoons that make bugs and rodents warm and fuzzy ala our neighbors at Disney and Pixar, but the truth is that my favorites are the ones that, once you see them, will make you want to pick up the phone and call the pest control experts at Western Exterminator.
We’ll be doing the “Top 20 Movies that Make You Want to Call An Exterminator” over the next few months. We’ll be counting them down in the order I feel is #20 all the way down to the #1 movie in this genre.
Oh, and so you won’t be surprised, my descriptions may contain spoilers, so you have been warned.
You can also check out parts two, three and four! Also, if you need to know about pest control needs and find the local experts in pest control, contact us to find out more about what Western Exterminator can do for you.
Part Two: Films #14-#10
Part Three: Films #9-#5
Part Four: Films #4-#1
Let’s get started!
20. The Mummy (1999)
I know that there are people who will consider it sacrilege not to have, as my favorite, the original Mummy movie featuring the fearsome Boris Karloff but my love is bugs, and there are lots and lots of those in the 1999 remake.
The bugs in question are Hollywood versions of scarab beetles. In the real world, they were not feared and they do not crawl under your skin or devour people in seconds. They were worshipped by the Egyptians.
In the movie, though, these insects are faster that piranhas, capable of stripping the flesh from a human in seconds. They bore through the skin and can also apparently exist in a mummified state for thousands of years, only to spring to life again and devour anew when touched. Whoa!
You gotta love Hollywood for their ingenuity.
19. The Swarm (1978)
Michael Caine is one of the most respected actors in the world. He has won a couple of Academy Awards, numerous other best actor honors, and today is revered for his acting prowess. What people forget is that for a time during the mid to late 70s, he was a favorite in films directed by disaster-movie king Irwin Allen. These were big movies during that decade and they always had a huge cast of stars involved in crazy situations. Allen was responsible for movies such as The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure.
For this movie Allen decided that an all-star cast should face off against a swarm of killer bees. In the context of the movie these are, indeed, Africanized honey bees or ‘killer bees’, but the Hollywood version are a lot more violent and determined to kill anything and everything in their path, a much-fictionalized version of their real-life counterparts.
Caine plays a scientist who has been warning an unbelieving world about the oncoming war between humans and bees. The movie starts with the bees attacking an underground military base and moves on from there. Man, do these bees do a lot of destruction. They crash helicopters, derail a train, and in a great leap of Hollywood imagination somehow manage to blow up a nuclear power plant.
The movie is pretty awful, but awful often leads to campy, and that makes it a lot of fun, too. The special effects make the fearful swarm look more like a moving smudge on the film and the swarms attacking the people and trains look like Styrofoam pellets painted to look like bees hurled at the poor actors by air cannons. It’s not the reason that Michael Caine was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and I doubt it’s on his favorites list, but it makes #19 on mine!
18. Frogs (1972)
Although the movie is called “Frogs” and the movie poster shows what appears to be a giant frog with a human hand sticking out of its mouth, the frogs are really the leaders of a general nature rebellion in this one. I think most people would suggest that frogs are not usually considered pests, but the rest of the stars in this movie are.
The frogs lead a rebellion of nature against a wealthy industrialist and his family on their own private island. The billionaire has been doing very bad things to the ecology with both his business and on the island, and fed-up with his ‘it’s all about me” attitude, the animals decide to take revenge.
Cheesy? Deliciously so! This is one of several “nature goes berserk” movies that happened in the 70s because folks were just realizing that man needed to co-exist with nature and not just exploit it. Also, I think another reason had to with it being the 70s—everyone was a bit crazy back then, too!
17. The Amityville Horror (1979 and 2005)
Wait, isn’t this a haunted house movie, you ask? You bet it is, but these ghosts, or demons, or spirits or…whatever they are know how to use pests to wreak their revenge.
Although this movie is famous for bizarre ghost things like a floating pig’s head, a weird red room in the basement and blood seeping from the walls, it has one of the best scenes featuring a huge swarm of flies ever filmed.
A family moves into a new home that has been (unbeknownst to the family of course!) the site of a horrific murder and equally horrific things start happening to them. Why they don’t move out of course is so the plot will move along, but they do to try and stop it by calling in the local priest. However, when the local priest arrives to start doing his thing to ward off the menacing spirits, one of the terrors that assault him (my absolutely favorite part of the film) is a huge horde of flies that the house seems to be producing just out of nowhere. It’s total nonsense of course, but I left the lights on that night anyway. Scary and gross!
16. It Happened at Lakewood Manor (AKA: Ants!) (1977)
Another nature-goes-crazy movie heaping revenge on mankind. This one was made for TV and has the added benefit of starring 70s TV star Suzanne Somers.
An old hotel that has fallen on hard times is undergoing construction to try and become popular again. Well, the bad times become even worse when the construction workers uncover a huge ant hill filled with deadly, aggressively dangerous and poisonous ants. They try to get the word out but are accidentally(?) buried alive before they can. The ants begin to emerge in various parts of the hotel and start very stealthily picking off some of the guests and staff while our heroes try to figure out exactly what is going on. Needless to say an ant colony as the bad guy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
Once the ants are discovered to be much more than just a nuisance, terror ensues as the tiny invaders prove more than a match for all of the attempts the humans make to try and take them down.
Also, if you happen to have a problem with actual ants around your home, contact us to find out how a Western Exterminator can help you deal with it.
15. The Naked Jungle (1954)
Ants again, but this movie attempts to do more than just have the insects attack. There’s a bit of a story there about a wealthy plantation owner, played by Charlton Heston, in the jungles of South America. A mail order bride arrives and tension arises between the man and the intended bride – and that is the real crux of the story.
Where the pests come in is when a horde of Siafu ants attacks the plantation. Hollywood plays fast and loose with the real life insects once again. In the real world these ants do not lay dormant for decades only to go on the attack against humans. Although they do swarm, and will bite humans, they certainly do not do so as depicted in this film.
However, if we were looking for stark reality in Hollywood, we’d be watching documentaries instead.
Anyway, the second half of the movie involves the plantation owner trying to battle the huge swarm of ants and keep them from destroying the plantation. And if that edge-of-your-seat thrill isn’t enough, that’s when things start getting really exciting!
Whew! That’s it for now. We’ll pick it up again next month for numbers 14 – 10! And if reading about those movies has made you want to call a pest control professional just to make sure the nuisance pests are your home don’t get out of hand, be sure to contact the experts at Western Exterminator!