The Best Killer Bug Horror Movies, Ranked
Bugs and insects are often considered an afterthought. They are considered the least of the animal kingdom until they become parasites. They sting us, suck our blood, eat our crops, steal and multiply faster than we can hunt them. What we call minor nuisances or inconveniences are in fact responsible for our ecosystems and the food chain in the broad sense. Some animals depend on insects as a source of nutrients. Plants grow through pollination and insects carry pollen far and wide to do this too. Without insects, the human species would be disturbed and reduced.
Bugging out bugs isn’t unrealistic, however. Just as they provide life, some insects induce the process of death. Insects function as decomposers, breaking down dead organic matter. Some insects also act as absolute predators with a dangerous hive mind. They have the ability to be ravenous harbingers of death, sprouting goons, disease-infected dots, and sneaky saboteurs. Get your bug out bag ready and be grateful as these killer bugs crawl across the big screen.
8 Cicada! (2018)
Cicadas are a mysterious insect. After birth, melodic singing insects burrow underground for 17 years before returning to the surface to mate and die. There are over 2,500 species of cicadas, and these are the ones that sing out of tune. An attack on Los Angeles leaves four friends to fight back and defeat the flying demons. Cicada! is a low-budget B-movie and the “B” stands for bug.
seven Arachnophobia (1990)
The original thrillomedy is terrifying through a series of slapstick situations. A family doctor and arachnophobe, Dr. Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels) decides to move with his Californian family to the South American country to become a city doctor. When a Venezuelan spider travels home via coffin and bird to spawn its ilk, the silly natural horror movie turned irrational fears into rational ones.
6 Ant Empire (1977)
From science fiction author HG Wells comes radioactive ants with the ability to control people’s minds. Of the inspired films based on Wells’ works, this one is a wild prediction for the future. The metaphor of man’s need for nature rather than nature’s need for man is, however, predominant through visual and practical effects. Campy and scary in equal parts with ingenious techniques gives this film two antennae!
5 The Nest (1988)
Cockroaches really get the pampered treatment in horror movies. In another stage of evolution, the brown-backed oblong bugs terrorize another small town and are biologically altered due to illegal experiments. The buildup of crawlers is slow, but the gory designs of the various mutations are amazing fuel for your nightmares.
4 Bug (1975)
Based on the novel The Plague of Hephaestus by Thomas Page, cockroaches emerge from the Earth following an earthquake that can start fires by rubbing their hind appendages against each other. The hellish arthropods don’t survive long above the surface until Professor James Parmiter breeds them with a house cockroach to create a new breed of flying fireball mutant cockroaches. The man did not discover fire after all.
3 Their! (1954)
Another cluster of tank-sized irradiated ant colonies threaten Earth’s population in this nuclear wartime monster movie. The writing and acting are compelling, the ant models are menacing and compelling, and the shock factor is a great companion to Ray Bradbury’s inspiration. The 20,000 Fathom Beast made the previous year. Their! was almost shot in 3D and color, but the black-and-white treatment builds on the grim reality and man-versus-nature fantasy of the cautionary tale.
2 Mimicry (1997)
Guillermo del Toro leads this man-made monster, a cross between a praying mantis and a genetically engineered termite to kill an invading species carrying a disease that puts the infant population at risk. Ironically, the gothic insect becomes its own threat, multiplying beneath the city. Manipulating nature is never a smart decision and the way this insect moves will drive you to a wall.
1 The Fly (1958)
Living with a housefly is boring. Living with a housefly that happens to be your spouse is terrifying. Filmed less than a year after the publication of the short story and namesake by British-French writer George Langelaan, this insect invasion hits home like a black comedy in the guise of nuclear family dynamics. David Cronenberg’s remake is faithful, more stylized and irrevocably the most gruesome version of this sci-fi horror story, but Kurt Neumann’s original draws a fine line between devotion and despair.