10 Creepiest, Yuckiest, Ickiest Bug Horror Movies

Ants, roaches, and more make our list of the best bug horror movies.

Bug Horror

5. Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Kingdom Of The Spiders

Spiders suck. Anyone that disagrees is a spider. They’re creepy, they’re crawly, and some of them are fuzzy? Yeah, no thank you. In the aptly named Kingdom of the Spiders, hordes of deadly tarantula swarm a rural Arizona town destroying everything and everyone in sight. The only hope is William Shatner and a professor from Arizona State. That may sound silly, but it’s not. Kingdom of the Spiders is a terrifically hair-raising creature invasion film starring thousands of real living and breathing and crawling spiders. In fact, the film’s leading lady, Tiffany Bolling, landed the role specifically because she was cool with the spiders crawling all over her. Gross. The film earns additional bonus points for featuring the greatest performance from a cow ever captured on film. (Chris Coffel)


4. Them! (1954)

Them bug horror

When America began nuclear testing, horror and science fiction cinema acted accordingly. Them! was released to cash in on the success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, another movie that pondered the prospect of atomic annihilation in the form of a monster movie. Instead of unleashing a dinosaur, however, Them! gave audiences oversized bugs to haunt their nuclear-themed nightmares. What ensues is a typical monster yarn, but this is one of the better ones due to its matter-of-fact approach to storytelling. Not only does the film take its insects seriously, but it also taps into societal anxieties that will always be topical as long as world leaders have access to bombs. One day those bombs will unleash giant bugs on humankind as well. (Kieran Fisher)


3. Slugs (1988)

Slugs

Do you like paperback horror? Then you’ll love Slugs. From the illustrious mind that gave us Pieces and the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 classic The Pod People, Juan Piquer Simón’s film is filled with all of the familiar stock characters and situations you come to expect from a fast and dirty horror novel of the ’70s and ’80s. Unscrupulous government officials? Check. Stoic and amiable protagonist? Check. Vietnam Vets and Alcoholics? Check, and check.

Slugs is the kind of movie that becomes charming because of its blunders, like a score that has all the charm of a mid-’70s TV movie and dialogue that is all too casual in the face of danger. “I hope something like that doesn’t happen again,” a man calmly says after watching another man literally explode with worms. Slugs succeeds like other Simón films by using its thin narrative merely as a device to string together deliriously fun moments of splatter, tailor-made to the gorehound sensibility. Maybe it simply speaks to my own love of the genre, but seeing Carlo De Marchis’ effects remind me why I love these unconventionally good films: the imagination and creativity that bring these images to life is nothing short of inspiring. (Jacob Trussell)


2. Phase IV (1974)

Phase IV bug horror

The first — and, tragically, the only — film directed by legendary graphic designer Saul Bass, Phase IV is an ingenious sci-fi film with a secret weapon: ants. This gorgeously-shot film follows two scientists grappling with unexpected changes to ant colonies following a mysterious cosmic event. As the ants develop into strategic and powerful adversaries, the film descends into a creepy-crawly horror-fest that would give anyone the chills. With a tight pace, limited cast, and eighty-six-minute run time, Phase IV is proof that wonderful and horrific things can come in small packages. (Anna Swanson)


1. Arachnophobia (1990)

Arachnophobia

No other movie on this list has Jeff Daniels shooting a giant spider with a nail gun as it flies through the air while on fire, and for that alone, Arachnophobia deserves our number one spot. There’s so much worth celebrating in this film about an undiscovered Venezuelan spider species that crawls its way to small-town California. From the comically huge spiders who leave vampire-like puncture marks in their human prey to the smaller soldier spiders who hide around the house and will make you never want to go near a box of cereal or pair of slippers again, there are arachnid encounters in this film that are sure to make anyone squirm. Throw in John Goodman as a confident exterminator named Delbert McLinktock and you’ve got yourself a horror-comedy for the ages. (Valerie Ettenhofer)


Bugs are probably eating your brain right now, so you hurry up and read some more 31 Days of Horror Lists!

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