Insectula (2015) – By Philip Smolen

While on vacation in the White Bear Lake area of Minnesota, EPA man Albert “Del” Delbiando (Pasquale Pilla) presents his wife with a special anniversary gift. However, when he later walks back to the hotel, his wife decides to go for a swim. While swimming, she sees an object splash into the lake. Several minutes later, she is attacked by a vicious alien bug type creature. Del is devastated by his wife’s death and when another loved one is killed by the monstrous predator the next day, he swears revenge and leads up the EPA’s investigation into the two disappearances. He also meets up with mad scientist Dr. Heinrich Kempler III (Harrison Matthews) and his beautiful assistant Brittany Sax (Arielle Cezanne) who are both helping him gather evidence. The trio discovers that the culprit is a gigantic extraterrestrial mutation from the mosquito family that has taken up residence in the White Bear area due to global warming. The blood sucking beast continues to grow and claim more innocent Minnesotans. Before long, it’s attacking St. Paul and there’s nothing the military can do to stop it. But even worse is the fact that Dr. Kempler believes that the monster should inherit the earth, so he’s doing all he can to help it!

“Insectula” is a fun spoof of 1950s creature features. Written and directed by Mike Peterson and produced by Danielle Cezanne, the movie successfully recaptures the wacky feeling of an Ed Wood or a Bert I. Gordon extravaganza. Peterson even has someone introduce the film as Criswell! It’s clear that the director loves these old monster movies (as do I), because so many of the scenes typically found in these flicks are lovingly spoofed.

The monster amuck scenes are suitably wacky and icky as the creature gorily rips into nubile beauties and National Guardsmen with equal aplomb. Peterson knows his 1950s monster movies so well that he even has his alien mosquito walking up the side of a building, just like Bert I. Gordon did with his grasshoppers in “Beginning of the End” (1957). He also finds a spot to include the famous “Wilhelm Scream.” The Ed Wood scenes are generally fun too as Dr. Kempler tries to breed his own giant insect. There’s even a big, bald assistant whose name is – Lobo (Joel Thingvall)!

The only problem with the film is that the pacing is off. Both Ed Wood and Bert I. Gordon knew that creature features shouldn’t be any longer than 80 minutes. Peterson, however, stretches the film out to 101 minutes and that drains some of the crazy energy that he successfully developed. There are too many scenes of Del unconvincingly (yes, I know the acting is supposed to be bad) mourning the loss of his family and Kempler running around his laboratory doing nothing. And unfortunately, every time the babes show up, the movie grinds to a halt.

Still, “Insectula” has a perfect 1950s vibe and is a grand send-up of classic (and not so classic) creature features. It’s a fun film and worth checking out. And if you’re a 50s sci-fi nerd, it definitely hits the sweet spot.

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