Filmmakers have made a mint preying upon one of humankind’s biggest fears: bugs, insects and pest infestations. Since the emergence of the horror genre in the 1940s, directors and actors alike have been trying to lure audiences into giant anthills, homes filled with poison-filled arachnids, and cities run rampant with giant insects. And for some reason we just can’t stay away. These films are at times mostly cheesy rather than scary, and yes, most of these films are completely unbelievable, but all of that is expected in these creepy-crawly blockbusters.
We’ve sifted through all the unrealistic cockroach-men and wasp-women in recent pop culture to find the best “pest movies.” Here are our top 10 choices for the best bug movies of all time.
The Birds (1963): Let’s face it, Hitchcock will always be the father of suspense, and he doesn’t disappoint with this thriller. If you are one to shy away from flocks of seagulls, crows or pigeons, then you won’t ever be the same after The Birds.
Arachnophobia (1990):Jeff Daniels and John Goodman set the stage for this classic 90’s movie that critics called ‘thrilling’ and ‘fun.’ The super-sized South American spider has it out for the unprepared United States when it accidentally hitches a ride in a coffin. Over-the-top? Yes, but everyone should see it once just to witness the spiders on fire.
Them (1954): Yes, we know it’s not the most creative title, but this is the daddy of them all; the original insect thriller and must see for any fanatic. Giant mutant ants try and take over the earth after fighting their way to earth’s surface from deep within the core.
The Fly (1958): Hollywood was still testing out its wings on the new bug genre, and this one makes the cut. Horror legend Vincent Price plays the classic science experiment gone wrong; a regular Dr. Frankenstein who becomes the actual monster. The 1986 remake definitely has better special effects, but the original has all the suspense that will leave you laughing for hours.
A Bug’s Life (1998): Pixar and Disney took bugs in a whole different direction in A Bug’s Life by making the ants the heroes for once. A kids’ movie? Of course, but who doesn’t love some animation now and again, and as far as pest movies go, this is about as feel-good as it gets.
Men in Black (1997): Yes, here they are…the ones that you remember. One can argue that it doesn’t even belong in this category, but what are aliens but pests from other worlds? After a while the giant bug theme got a little dated, so Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones revamped it ever so slightly. This may be the start to a whole new type of pest film and is loved by critics and audiences alike.
Snakes on a Plane (2006):It’s true that snakes may be a bit of a stretch for bugs and insects, but they definitely are pests. While Samuel L. Jackson isn’t winning any Oscars for this performance, the modern directing and special effects will have you thinking twice before booking your ticket.
The Food of the Gods (1976): Mr. H.G. Wells terrified the population with his War of the Worlds in the 1950s and now he does it all over again, but this time with killer (and did we mention giant) wasps, rats, chickens and almost every other creepy-crawly you can imagine. Watch out as the pests prepare for battle against the humans. The sequel however, might just be a bit too cheesy even for fanatics.
Kingdom of Spiders (1977): Oh William Shatner, so this is what you did after Star Trek. This may be one of the most outlandish movies on our list, but it may be worth it just to see Shatner take a town full of man-eating tarantulas single-handedly.
Wasp Woman (1959):Watch out men, this beauty queen turned killer wasp is on a vengeful rampage and will stop at nothing. Janice Starlin stars in this vain experiment gone wrong and won’t stop until the entire city is under her domain.