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The Nest (1988)

Shout! Factory
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/19/2013

All Ratings out of


Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/31/2013

Is everyone familiar with second-run or "$1" theaters? These are movie theaters which show theatrical releases after they've concluded their initial runs in theaters. This can be a short time or a long time after the movie first opens, depending on its popularity. I haven't been to one of these in years, but I know that there are still at least two in my area. They were great for catching a movie you missed in its first weeks of release, taking a chance on a movie which didn't look great, or seeing a movie again at a reduced price. (I see Evil Dead II three times in one week at a "$1" theater, after having seen it opening night at a first-run theater.) Also, in my area at least, some movies would actually debut at the second-run theaters. These were usually low-budget horror films which were most likely looking to make a quick buck before hitting the home video circuit. I caught The Nest during its one-week engagement at the "$1" theater back in 1988, and I've always wanted to see it again. And now, thanks to Shout! Factory, I'm getting my chance.

The Nest takes place in an idyllic island. (For the life of me, I can't remember if they ever give the name of the island.) Richard Tarbell (Franc Luz) is the sheriff here, and he spends most of his days simply checking on the locals, or flirting with Lillian (Nancy Morgan) at the cafe. On the day when he's suddenly receiving a lot of calls about missing pets, Richard goes to the seaplane landing area to meet Beth Johnson (Lisa Langlois), an old flame who went to live on the mainland. She's back in town to visit her father, Elias (Robert Lansing), who is the mayor. Beth is surprised to see that one of her favorite parts of the island has been fenced off, and Richard explains that her father sold that land to a company called Intec for condo development. In actuality, Intec has been conducting secret experiments there and they've gotten out of hand. Elias calls in Intec representative Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas) for help, as millions of cockroaches begin to cover the island. But, these aren't any ordinary cockroaches, and Richard must find a way to save the day.

I hate to sound cliche, but The Nest is a consummate B-Movie. The plot contains the basics - a hero, a villain, a girl (or 2 girls), and a monsters (or millions of them in this case) -- and little else. The basic story would have fit in perfectly with the monster-on-the-loose films of the 1950s. Actually, the movie is very similar to Jaws, except The Nest has tons of cockroaches as opposed to one huge shark.

This may make it sound as if the most is derivative and unoriginal...and in some ways, it is. However, The Nest does have a few tricks up its sleeve and some strategies to separate it from the pack. The first two-thirds of the movie play out as one would expect if they have seen a movie like this before. But, the third act reveals some twists, including the secret behind Intec’s research. This leads to a fairly gruesome and creative scene involving one of the victims of the cockroaches rampage. Which brings us to the other thing that The Nest has going for it -- the gore. The movie may start innocently enough, but once the cockroaches begin to attack, the blood flows and we learn that they can chew off limbs. The finale involves some interesting special effects which turn this bug movie into a full-fledged creature-feature.

If you think The Nest sounds dumb, well, you’re right. Again, this wasn’t meant to be high-art and this is the sort of old fashioned scary movie where you simply turn your brain off and enjoy the show. Of course, the fright factor of cockroaches is up to the individual. I know that many people find them icky, but are they truly scary? Couldn’t one outrun them? And the finale really pushes the envelope as far as the science-fiction elements of the script are concerned and I can easily see how some would find it creepy as opposed to scary. And as for the scene in which the cockroaches keep getting into the moving car...you, that one’s pretty stupid.

The good for The Nest is that outside of Creepshow, it doesn’t have a lot of competition in the cockroaches on the loose genre, so that does make it seem more groundbreaking than it is. The acting is decent and the locations shots of the island help to give the film a grander scale. So, if you’re in the mood for a creepy crawly horror movie which was made before CG ruined that particular sub-genre, then The Nest is worth exploring.

The Nest could have increased tourism by building some roach motels on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Shout! Factory. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. This movie doesn’t look as good as some of Shout! Factory’s other recent horror releases, but given its age and relative obscurity, it doesn’t look all that bad either. The image shows slight grain at times and some mild defects from the source material, such as black dots. The colors look good, and the image is never overly dark or right. The picture does go soft at times, thus hurting the detail. The depth is OK, but some of the nighttime scenes look flat. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The high-pitched sound of the approaching cockroaches certainly comes through loud and clear on this track. We get some mild stereo effects, most of which illustrate sounds movie from side-to-side. The actors are always intelligible and the score sounds fine.

The lone extra on The Nest Blu-ray Disc is an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Terence H. Winkless.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.