One thing you can say about Roger Corman: he's consistent. "Consistent" meaning his films always turn a profit (supposedly). "Consistent" also means that a viewer sitting down to a watch a Corman flick will consistently find the film in question larded with enough cheese to clog an elephant's arteries. You will see cheesy acting, cheesy special effects, and cheesy plots. Depending on the type of genre, you'll also find plenty of gory mayhem, beautiful babes, and nudity from the aforementioned beautiful babes. That's Roger Corman in a nutshell. Oh wait, I almost forgot; he's also the biggest ripoff artist in Hollywood history. Any film that has hit the big time in the last forty years invariably sees Roger Corman making a similar flick in an effort to cash in on the more successful offering. For example, when "Jaws" hit the jackpot back in the 1970s, Corman followed up with several pictures capitalizing on monsters run amok. When the car movie craze swept America in the late 1970s, Roger quickly jumped aboard by releasing films focusing on cars. "Star Wars" saw our man releasing several science fiction films strongly resembling, well, "Star Wars". That's Corman for you. Love him or leave him.
"The Nest," a 1988 feature from the House of Corman, falls into the category of animals run amok. It's also a throwback to the old monster features of the 1950s and 1960s except this one is in color and loaded with gore effects. If you have any doubts about what I'm saying, take a gander at the cover art for the DVD. A skimpily clad woman locked in life or death combat with a gigantic roach. Kinda says it all, doesn't it? Let's move on. "The Nest," set on some island called North Port, has a big problem. According to the local exterminator, Homer (Stephen Davis), the island suddenly seems awash in roaches. Lots of people are calling him up to come out and deal with the problem. Lots of people are disappearing too, along with family pets. Might the problem have something to do with a superbreed of roaches created by accident when North Port's mayor Elias Johnson (Robert Lansing) approached a big corporation called INTEC about creating a bug that could kill other bugs and then die off before breeding? Might the problem reside with the evil Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas), creator of the bugs and a feminist with weird ideas about insect mating?
Yes, yes it could. As it turns out, the insects we're seeing running through the grass (from their POV, I might add, which makes for a few hilarious scenes in a movie full of them) have a taste for human flesh, animal flesh, and the binding that holds together books in the library. 'Tis true, my friends. They also have another disturbing trait: the ability to assume the form of whatever they kill. Yep. Expect to see a few animal/roach hybrids skittering around the island as the movie progresses. Dare we dream to see a human/roach hybrid? Time will tell. Unfortunately, we have to wade through a whole lotta dross about the convoluted three way relationship between town sheriff Richard Tarbell (Frank Luz), his main squeeze Lillian (Nancy Morgan), and the arrival of former girlfriend Elizabeth Johnson (Lisa Langlois). Liz, who also happens to be the mayor's daughter, left the island after a personal tragedy and has now returned to provide the film with the requisite human drama that any good roach run amok movie must have if it wishes to draw an audience. Whatever. Just stick it out through these tedious exercises in "drama" and you'll receive a nice, gory payoff in the end.
I hate to sort of reverse myself after bashing Corman in the opening paragraph of the review, but "The Nest" isn't that bad of a picture. In fact, it's pretty good. The acting isn't great, the plot is a recycled mess from better movies executed with far more resources than what this movie had to work with, the fashion style of the 1980s goes a bit over the top here, but the film succeeds on several points. One, Terri Treas is pretty hot. So is Lisa Langlois, for that matter. Hot babes always help rather than hurt a cheap flick. Two, the gore is exceptional by b-movie standards. There's a sequence at the end of the film showing a particularly greasy transformation, along with a memorable eyeball gag, that sent me retching for the wastebasket. Not really, but the scene in question is extremely gross. Three, and finally, I liked the conclusion to the film. Again, it's not original whatsoever in the nature gone crazy genre, not anywhere CLOSE to original, but it is fun in a gooey, grotesque sort of way. If you know someone who hates roaches, this is the movie you stick in their stocking at Christmas.
"The Nest" on disc stays within the perimeters of almost every Roger Corman DVD I've seen: it's cheap. The picture quality isn't too bad so it's disappointing to see that they used a fullscreen transfer. I hate cropped movies! The extras are skimpy, too, which is also keeping with the typical Roger Corman DVD. All we get are some short biographies for a few of the cast, a long panegyric praising Rog himself, and three trailers for "Humanoids From the Deep," "The Unborn," and "The Terror Within". Not much to get hyped up about here. Ultimately, I liked the movie enough to give it four stars. Then again, I spend a lot of my free time watching low budget crud like "The Nest" because I like cheap movies that try to achieve something they can't possibly reach with a low budget. If you're a similar sort of movie fan, then definitely try to find a copy of this movie. If not, well, I can't really help you. What were you doing reading this review, anyway?