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The last gasp of gimmick-horror auteur William Castle (who produced and co-wrote), Bug is an entertaining throwback to the mutant-monsters-amok theme of the 1950s (themselves throwbacks of another kind) that he found so profitable. The film stars Bradford Dillman as a kinder, gentler mad scientist who discovers the presence of a bizarre strain of mutant cockroach emerging from the earth after a severe earthquake. Although larger than the average beetle, the most disturbing aspect of the critters is their innate ability to ignite fires with their bodies -- a talent dramatically revealed after a few of the bugs crawl up a vehicle's tailpipe. When Dillman discovers that the creatures possess a group intelligence, he attempts to train and breed them -- which proves to be less than a good idea. In Castle's heyday, this would have proven an ideal theme for one of his patented gimmicks (perhaps having little rubber bugs drop from the ceiling onto unsuspecting patrons at appropriate moments), but director Jeannot Szwarc (who later helmed Jaws 2 and the hankie-fest Somewhere in Time) plays the story straight, with remarkably chilling results. This is also remarkably violent for a mainstream PG film (particularly in the scene where Bad Seed Patty McCormack's hair is ignited by the six-legged arsonists) with a downbeat ending typical of many horror movies of the '70s. ~ Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide
The long-running cartoon from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera that began life in 1969 as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? becomes this live-action, tongue-in-cheek comedy-adventure featuring a computer-generated version of the easily frightened, mush-mouthed Great Dane. Freddie Prinze Jr. stars as Fred, the blonde, confident, ascot-sporting leader of Mystery Inc., a ghost-busting service that exposes phony supernatural phenomena as the work of shysters. Working with Fred are: his rich, beautiful girlfriend, Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who has a bad habit of getting kidnapped by villains; Velma (Linda Cardellini), the real brains of the group who pines secretly for Fred; cowardly slacker and dog's best friend Shaggy (Matthew Lillard); and the snack-gobbling pet pooch Scooby. However, after solving its latest case involving a beleaguered toy company owner (Pamela Anderson), the group fractures over Fred's habit of grabbing credit for everyone's hard work, despite the pleas of Shaggy and Scooby. Two years later, they are reunited at Spooky Island, a theme park and teen spring break destination that owner Emile Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson) claims is plagued with ghosts. Suspicious as usual of any claims involving the paranormal, the Mystery Inc. clan is soon probing a scheme involving ancient rites, summoned spirits, and brainwashed college students, forcing the group members to resolve their differences and uncover the truth. Directed by Chris Columbus protÃ©gÃ© Raja Gosnell, Scooby-Doo features the voice of Scott Innes as the title character. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide