From arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to entomophobia (fear of insects), creepy-crawly creatures earn top spots on lists of what humans fear most. Many scientists say we developed these fears as a result of evolution. We cringe at these spiders and insects because our ancestors learned to associate them with life-threatening bites.
Filmmakers have noted this widespread fear of bugs, and have created numerous on-screen stories that prominently feature pests. If you enjoy getting a good scare from the safety of a movie screen, check out these 10 movies with memorable bug scenes.
- “The Fly”
Before Paul Rudd become a bug-inspired superhero in “Ant-Man,” Jeff Goldblum assumed the role of half man, half flea in “The Fly.” Goldblum plays a scientist who uses his invention on himself with disastrous results. Fans of the film may also want to view the original 1958 version, starring Vincent Price. Both versions have sequels as well.
- “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”
For a family-friendly bug film, watch this 1989 Disney movie. Rick Moranis stars as the inventor of a shrink-ray that accidentally unleashes its powers on his two kids and two teenage neighbors. While the kids journey through their backyard jungle, they encounter several over-sized bugs, including a bee, an ant, and a scorpion.
- “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”
The second film in the Indiana Jones franchise is actually a prequel to “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” In one notable scene, Indy and his entourage attempt to enjoy a dinner with live bugs as a primary protein option.
Later, leading lady Willie Scott, played by Kate Capshaw, must wander through a tunnel overrun with insects to save Indiana Jones and his pal Short Round from peril. The scene used real insects-so many that crew members often found them crawling in their hair and clothes off set.
The title of this 1990 Jeff Daniels film tells you exactly what creatures it features: spiders. A small town must take precautions around arachnids when an extra-venomous species starts to bite and kill citizens. This film’s special effects and plot feel somewhat campy today, but this movie still contains plenty of jumpy moments. Actual arachnophobia sufferers likely want to stay away from this flick.
- “Dr. No”
Is James Bond afraid of spiders? Evidently not. At least that’s what the first film in this long-running franchise seems to indicate. The movie’s villains attempt to take out Bond with a tarantula, but the MI6 agent uses his trademark moves to conquer the spider.
- “The Swarm”
Over his long career, Michael Caine has acted in many critically acclaimed films, but this 1978 movie isn’t one of them. Caine plays a scientist connected to a series of killer bee attacks in Texas, and many other top actors join him on screen. Film buffs should watch this sci-fi horror film just to see Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, Patty Duke, and Jose Ferrer face off against the swarm.
This 1954 film plays on more than humans’ inherent fear of bugs. It also draws inspiration from Cold War fears about atomic bomb technology. After bomb developers test their creations in the desert, the radiation fallout produces a race of giant ants bent on eradicating humans before they get exterminated themselves. This black-and-white classic earned an Academy Award nomination for special effects.
- “Mothra vs. Godzilla”
What happens when an airplane-sized moth faces off against a dinosaur-like monster? Find out in “Mothra vs. Godzilla.” Japanese filmmakers made numerous movies with over-sized bug villains during the 1950s and 1960s, and many critics hail this film as the best of the bunch. Be sure to watch the 1964 original before moving onto the 1992 sequel, “Godzilla vs. Mothra.”
- “Men in Black”
This summer blockbuster features Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as a secretive team of government agents (named “Jay” and “Kay,” respectively) who manage aliens that live on Earth. Jay and Kay’s nemesis is an extraterrestrial species whose members look like giant cockroaches. One bug comes to Earth to lead an invasion and disguises itself in the body of a farmer. “Men in Black” was the second-highest grossing movie of 1997, surpassed only by “Titanic.”
- “A Bug’s Life”
No list of bug movies feels complete without this Pixar Animation Studios film. This kid-friendly motion picture teaches that bugs aren’t always scary. Inventor-ant Flik recruits other bugs to help his colony stand-off against not-so-nice grasshoppers in this retelling of “The Grasshopper and the Ant.” Adults will enjoy hearing the voices of famous actors like Kevin Spacey and Madeline Kahn.
Even if you get a thrill out of watching giant bugs or swarms of insects wreak havoc on the big screen, you don’t have to tolerate bugs at your home or workplace. Contact a professional pest management team whenever you suspect spiders or insects are getting too comfortable.
For more facts about pests, read our other blogs posts.