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Dragon Wasps (2012) | Get out the repellent as these giant bugs take flight

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

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The Deadly Mantis (1957) | We’re gonna need more bug spray!

1957-deadly-mantis-poster

Out of a million years ago … a thousand tons of horror!
This 1957 creature feature was one of a slew of giant bug movies that followed in the wake of Them!. The premise has a giant praying mantis released from its slumber in the frozen Arctic following a volcanic eruption, then making its way to Washington DC where it smashes into a jet and gets gased in an underground tunnel.

It’s all deadly dull with lots of stock footage (including Eskimos escaping in caneos in fast-motion) and talky scenes (mainly military types trying to woo the film’s solitary female, played by Alix Talton). But the mantis effects are effective and fun. It’s just a shame the creature is as wooden as the acting by the human cast.

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Director Nathan Juran won an Oscar in 1941 for How Green Was My Valley, then helmed such genre classics like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. But I will always associate him with Irwin Allen’s sci-fi TV shows Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. Actor William Hopper, who plays a palaeontologist, was the real-life son of gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (wonder what she felt of her nephew’s wooden performance).

The Deadly Mantis is out on DVD in the UK from Fabulous Films

 

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