Monday, 3 September 2007

Bug Buster/Some Things Never Die (Lorenzo Doumani, 1998)

Bug Buster is a Randy Quaid vehicle that Randy Quaid couldn't even be fucked to appear in for more than 10 minutes. Life doesn't get any better than that, does it? No matter how much we get down on our knees and pray, it still never seems to get any better.

Title change between US and UK release? Check. Cameos from genre stalwarts? Check. Rip-offs of scenes from good flicks, but reshot with all their good qualities removed? Oh, check. Big check. Count on it.

Our flick begins with a reconstruction of what the opening scene from 'Jaws' would have looked like if it had been shot by somebody with severe brain damage. The low-budget equivalent of a pretty girl beckons her boyfriend to go skinny-dipping. Then leaves her swimsuit on. They head into the water... He gets attacked by something unseen beneath the surface. Next thing we know, she is getting patched up by a nurse. In a vet's. Presumably because that's the only set that was handy.

Just in case we didn't get this subtle nudge to a classic, Scotty from Star Trek pops up a scene later to ask everyone, 'Haven't you seen Jaws?'. Cheers, Mr Doohan. I don't think I'd have got that without your help. Oh, but just in case, they throw in a reconstruction of the 'caught the wrong beast' scene.

Katherine Heigl, as the bug-phobic leading lady (yes, despite the Jaws homage, this is a big bug movie) is the kind of actress who tends to make previously intelligent, articulate straight males make strange bubbling noises and inappropriate gestures with their hands. Doumani is well away of this, and chooses to repeat one piece of footage of her lying in bed on no less than three occasions. OK, she happens to be covered with crawling bugs at the time, but she still looks foxy. She's also one of those utterly charming leading ladies who falls in love with the leading man just because he happens to be able to walk, talk and metabolise. One grunted half-conversation, and he's the only man for her.

Elsewhere, George Takei tries to provide moral support to fellow ex-Trek stalwart Doohan, by standing in a different set to everybody else and shouting incoherently down the telephone before getting squished.

And then, ten minutes before the whole thing lumbers to a cack-handed climax, Randy Quaid turns up, doing an impression of the John Goodman spider-buster in 'Arachnophobia'. Looking delighted to not have appeared in the movie so far, Quaid brings a slight second-wind to the proceedings by having a fist-fight with a cheap-looking, wonky-eyed puppet.
'Bug Buster' has been clumsily re-titled as 'Some Things Never Die' in the UK, and packaged as a more 'serious' sci-fi/ horror effort than it is. One for four in the morning, then.
On cable.
And drugs.

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