So we start off with a small town on an average day. An earthquake of low to moderate richter rocks the area and forms a rips a ridge in the ground. Sure, nothing odd about that. Soon residents begin to be involved in mysterious fires and some are even terrorized by some bugs. Later a scene shows steam and cockroaches bellowing out. Enter - Professor James Parmiter, he is a teacher of entomology at the local college. He is contacted by a local resident who recently had an experience with these fire cockroaches and brings one to him. The professor starts investigating their strange ability to start a fire in their back end. A visit to the rip in the earth confirms his findings. His wife is lost in a fire and starts loosing his mind. Held up in a fixer up shack on the outskirts of town he carries on his experiments with the cockroaches. He tries everything from using a pressure tank to breeding with a domestic cockroach making notes along the way. Things get concerning when the new batch of cockroaches ends up being bloodsuckers. I won't ruin the ending and leave it at that.
The story starts off like most would but for the latter half it turns down another road which is almost unexpectedly. The latter end of the film is entirely about the mad professor’s experiments. From a scientific side I did find it interesting but it made the movie boring. The only thing that kept from being worse is you see the professor slowly becoming more crazy and obsessed with the cockroaches. You just wonder where it’s going. I would have preferred more terror of the town but oh well.
Some pretty good effects -- well for 1975. These particular cockroaches move slow but they managed to create fear. When a cockroach drops from the ceiling and lands on you, you’re done for. Good camera shots. The acting was alright, they do have to act scared of something that isn’t and did so but the whole concept is cheesy and so it ends up being fake-ish. The professor was likely the star along with the cockroaches.
The movie was alright for what it was. I think maybe something further couldn’t have been done with the story direction. After it was realized that the cockroaches were dying, the story continued in lab experiments...where is the terror in that? It was what it was and I rate it 4/10 but suggest watching it only to see the affects and feel of fear created by a docile insect.