While studying horror in grad school, I wrote many papers relating giant bug movies of the 50’s and 60’s to that generation’s fears of spies, nuclear bombs and the Cold War. Basically, mutated bugs were the personification of fears that “evil” could be lurking in our backyard.
Perhaps,The Millennium Bug, written and directed by Kenneth Cran, draws upon the unknown that was creeping upon our generation back in 1999. The horrors of technology overload, autotune, sparkling vampires and reality tv. Either that or it’s just a great little gem made with NO CGI on a tiny budget.
December 31, 1999. The Haskin family is seeking refuge from the Y2K hysteria in the isolated forests of the Sierra Diablos mountains. Meanwhile, Roger Patterson has been hiking through the forest in search of a species that is spawned once every millennia. Little do both parties know that a crazy hillbilly clan lives within the woods.
We enter their shack where Pearlene Crawford is giving birth – complete with a nice crowning shot (if you don’t know what that is, Google it). The rest of her clan – Granny, Uncle Hibby, Fij, and the deformed humpback Rip, gather around – only to see this baby, too, is deformed – just like each that came before it. They will have to find a wife for Billa to impregnate. Fortunately, Clarissa Haskin is ripe and ready to bear children!
As Patterson begins to discover more evidence of the species he’s been hunting, the Haskins have realized that Y2K was a fluke and settle in for a good night’s sleep. That is, only for a few moments before the Crawford boys show up and abduct them.
Inside the shack, Granny begins to dress up Clarissa for her wedding to Billa, while Clarissa’s father and new wife, Joany, find a way to get help. Joany busts out a sidewall, leaving husband Jon to fight Orpheus, a filthy, aggressive, deformed, subterranean cannibal (think Dr. Tongue meets CHUD) that resides in the Crawford basement. Soon, Billa and Clarissa are married, Roger Patterson is abducted, Jon Haskin breaks free, Pearlene takes a liking to Patterson – stating he’ll be her husband, and Uncle Hibby wants to molest Joany with a piece of wood he’s either wittled into a religious icon or the shape of a penis .
However, all the terror is about to be one upped as that ancient species – a giant bug – breaks forth from the earth to wreak havoc.
Each character in the film is superbly portrayed by the various actors. Uncle Hibby (Trek Loneman) is disgustingly pervy in his ways – complete with a dribble of tobacco spit down his chin. Even the Bug, puppeteered by Benjamin Watts, hones emotions from melancholy to ferocious. Most impressive of all, however, was Billa, played by John Charles Meyer. As the movie progressed, I actually wondered why Clarissa was putting up a fight. Under all that dirt, he was pretty damn good looking. (Feel free to drop me a line.)
The lack of CGI in the film made both little and great impact at the same time. Little, in that it is barely noticed – and great, in that it blows one’s mind that everything in the movie is carried out in an “old school” fashion. It is something more filmmakers need to do – and something younger generations need education in.
While the film is ridiculous and hokey, The Millennium Bug is made with such passion and love that you can’t help but like it. After pondering it for a day, I must say that it will hold a special place in my heart… at least until the next millennium.