Let’s face it! Unless you have an allergy or phobia, ants, bees, wasps and flies just don’t look that scary on the big screen. That’s why, ever since Them!’s paper mâché ants back in the 1950’s, film-makers have super-sized creepy crawlies in an attempt to frighten and entertain us filmgoers.
2012’s Dragon Wasps, is a schlocky Tomb Raider meets Predator adventure set in the jungles of Belize where an entomologist encounters armed soldiers, a drug cartel and a hive of monstrous flying bugs. And just like those other cheesy monster mash-ups Mega Piranha and Dinoshark, Dragon Wasps has a totally OTT idea about how to combat the fire-breathing CGI beasties – rubbing yourself with coca leaves and getting high in the process.
Available on DVD from Chelsea Films in the UK
Big Ass Spider! certainly lives up to its title as a fast-moving, tongue-in-cheek homage to the giant bug drive-in movies of the 1950s, spinning some seriously superior CGI effects, some LOL sight gags, and an endearing turn from former Heroes actor Greg Grunberg.
HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO
Lovelorn bug exterminator Alex (Greg Grunberg) finds himself becoming an unlikely hero when he teams up with hospital security guard Jose (Lombardo Boyar) to take down a 50-ft alien spider rampaging the city of Los Angeles, all the while trying to win the affections of military lieutenant Karly (Clare Kramer).
If the dire Spiders 3D and the over-rated Sharknado left you deflated, then this angry-arachnid-on-the-loose schlock-fest is sure to win you over.
Grunberg’s cocky exterminator Alex – who can think like a spider – and Boyar’s wisecracking Jose make a great team, and their verbal sparring certainly helps to paper over the film’s shortcomings. Saying that, the effects are way better than those in Sharknado, with the highlights being a gruesome scene in which some guy’s face melts away after being sprayed by the spider’s acid venom and a scene in which the giant spider terrorises a park, targeting a team of big-breasted female volleyball players.
There are also hilarious nods to some iconic fims, like when the monstrous mutant destroys the Los Angeles City Hall Building (just as the martians did in 1953’s War of the Worlds) and climbs atop the US Bank Tower (just like King Kong) to make its nest. Oh, and watch out for a cameo from Troma’s head honcho, Lloyd Kaufman, as a jogger.
Big Ass Spider! may not have the monster budget of Eight Legged Freaks or Arachnophobia or have the name Roger Corman (who remains the king of the B’s) attached to it, but it certainly holds its own against any of those monster mash up’s screening over on Syfy – and the dire Spiders 3D, of course. And if you stay for the credits, there’s a possibility of sequel… all together now, ‘La cucaracha!’
Big Ass Spider! is also available on DVD and Blu-ray from StudioCanal UK.