The Nest was always one of those movies that had an unforgettable cover, yet I never took the time to actually watch until recently. When I finally gave it a viewing, man was I ever happy that I did! I originally thought that The Nest was just a film about cockroaches but the plot is much more involved than that. They’re not just regular roaches, they happen to be mutant roaches that devour flesh and can also take form of anything they kill! How cool is that? So picture this: if a mutant roach eats an animal and a human, the morphed hybrid version will result in some of the most brilliant special effects from truly innovated minds.
The Nest is based on a novel written by Robert King and takes place in a small island town called North Port. The movie follows the main protagonist, Richard, who is the sheriff of the town and is played by the ever so dashing Franc Luz. You may remember him from the 1988 movie Ghost Town that actually came out the same year as The Nest; he is also in one episode of TNG sweeping Dr. Crusher off her feet! One of my favorite scenes with Franc is when he shoots his gun in his car, it’s so random and apathetic!
What begins as an innocent roach infestation turns into a problematic disaster as a hot doctor, who’s even hotter in Alien Nation, is secretly breeding the mutant roaches when she discovers they are immune to bug repellent. She also doesn’t seem to be fazed by the roaches that bite her hand till it bleeds! There’s a covert evil corporation involvement with an X-Files feel to it (which is interesting because The X-Files also have a cockroach episode and it’s fantastic!) There’s also another similarity that I noticed… the roaches are all female and can reproduce much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
I’d have to say that the special effects in The Nest are truly remarkable and some of the best work I’ve ever seen in an ’80s monster movie. They come courtesy of a man named James M. Navarra, who only worked on five other films. Navarra had a brief career in the film industry working along with Roger and Julie Corman and did the special effects for another one of my favourite 80s flicks: 976-Evil. There’s two incredible scenes in The Nest where the special effects really shine: one is when the mayor’s skeleton walks out of its skin suit, and the other is when you see the queen in the nest towards the end of the movie. It’s fucking awesome, even though I wish we could have more of her in the film!
I admire that The Nest includes a kooky old man – it’s a rule of any horror movie from the ’80s to contain a crazy old man who loves his booze and warns outsiders of curses. The woman who works in the diner is a huge jealous bitch so her demise is certainly one that I enjoyed and – I don’t know about you – but if I was a waitress at a diner that was infested with roaches, I would just get the fuck out of there! My favourite side character would have to be Jenny because of her sweet radio headphones, remember those?
Along with other astounding insect movies like Slugs, Creepers, Squirm, The Fly, Ticks, and Blue Monkey, The Nest provides a terrific storyline, fantastic special effects, a dreamy sheriff, and an exquisite box cover. But if you’re squeamish about the cat scene in Re-Animator, then you should get ready to advert your eyes for a standout scene in The Nest.