Bug (1975)

Bug poster

William Castle Productions
 Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Richard Gilliland
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Based on the novel The Hephaestus Plague by Thomas Page.  An earthquake unleashes an army of subterranean beetles with incendiary behinds which causes problems for a small town and even more for an unhinged scientist.

Kitty Carnage Warning! The earthquake opens a schism in the earth on the Tacker farm.  That night Gerald Metbaum (Richard Gilliland) wanders out of the house to investigate some noises.  He notices what look like large cockroaches on the ground.  He tries to pick one up and it sparks in his hand, burning him.  He then notices a tabby cat is nibbling at one of the roaches nearby.

Bug - tabby cat nibbling at cockroach

Moments later the cat starts to screech and the roach in seen on the cat’s head, sparking.

Bug - bug sparking on tabby cat's head

The cat thrashes and cries out as he starts to smoke.  Eventually the cat succumbs to the roaches and his body is shown with the scalp burned away and the roaches eating him.  Metbaum even takes the body of the cat in a box to his former science teacher, James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman) to show him what the bugs have done.

Bug - tabby cat thrashing as it is burning

Many viewers of this movie have concerns that the cat was actually burned and killed for the film.  But an article in the Ludington Daily News from September 11, 1975 explains that while some animals were still being hurt and killed in the name of movie-making this film wasn’t one of them.  The American Humane Society’s Hollywood representative at the time, Harold Melnicker, was quoted as saying that the movie Bug was approved by the AHA.  “It looks as if the cat is going up in smoke but it was all simulated.”

Final Mewsings: Cats don’t make good tinder.

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