The Nest Terence H. Winkless

The Nest Terence H. Winkless
4
Where Steven Spielberg was forced to work around a malfunctioning shark while making Jaws, the director of supremely silly thriller The Nest, Terence H. Winkless, had to navigate the ridiculous notion of cockroaches serving as the movie's threat. This means that rather than subjecting sceptical audiences to unconvincing images of hordes of roaches devouring someone, he went with a convoluted plot, lots of roach POV shots and an incessant sound effect announcing their presence, sounding like bumblebees being electrocuted. Richard (Franc Luz) is the sheriff of a quaint coastal town who's forced to deal with former flame Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois) re-entering his life after being away four years. She also has many unresolved issues with her father (Robert Lansing), stemming from lingering questions surrounding the mysterious overdose death of her mother. As the town's mayor, he's involved with a shady corporation that's been granted permission by him to conduct radical experiments on cockroaches. When the bodies start piling up, the cold and duplicitous Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas) is brought in by the mayor to help avoid total disaster. The introduction is longer than required, a reflection of the film's reluctance, or inability, to elevate the premise beyond anything more than a second- (or third-) rate monster movie. As more supporting characters are steadily dispatched by the mutated, venomous bugs, the creatures start developing abilities that are hilarious in their sentient nature. At one point, they manage to gain an almost working knowledge of electronics, taking out a phone line, and even start to completely change forms by the end. All of the performances are either hammy or stilted, but Treas's is worthy of recognition for the uncomfortable way she manages to regard the roaches with an intensity that aims for infatuation, but occasionally veers into outright sexual attraction. A commentary track by Winkless is casual, to the point of being sleepy, at its worst, but does contain a few interesting stories. He amusingly recalls the cockroach wranglers being a family that simply collected them around Los Angeles and often arrived looking very tired on the mornings of shoots that involved many roaches. As another testament to the legend of producer Roger Corman, he also discusses writing one scene around a piece of stock footage Corman already had of a truck crashing and exploding. (Shout! Factory)