I Like Big Bugs and I Cannot Lie



The Gazette, Colorado Springs


TCM, beginning at 6 p.m. Six fun representative titles from the “Big Bug” subgenre that arose under the umbrella of giant-monster movies that became popular during the early Atomic Age air on Turner Classic Movies this evening. The lineup fittingly starts at the beginning, with 1954’s Them! (pictured), the classic about desert ants mutated into giants by A-bomb tests. It was the first of many movies in that era to feature insects or some other creepycrawly as its enormous monster, since these critters are freaky enough to a lot of people even at regular size. After that comes Tarantula (1955), whose titular spider is blown up to monstrous proportions by an experimental nutrient (spiders are technically not bugs, but we’ll let TCM pass on this one, because it’s an entertaining movie). We go to Japan for the next film, 1961’s Mothra, which introduced the giant title moth and her larval o¡spring, who would go on to meet Godzilla and other kaiju in subsequent Toho productions. Things wind down early tomorrow with Roger Corman’s The Wasp Woman (1959), which has alternately been known as The Bee Girl and Insect Woman; The Black Scorpion (1957), whose title monsters were brought to life courtesy of stop-motion animation by Willis O’brien of King Kong fame; and Cosmic Monsters (1958, aka The Strange World of Planet X). — Je Pfeier