I recently saw what I must think was probably one of the worst made-for-TV movies ever made. It was called “Locusts” and it was — well — awful.
It always amazes me what atrocities tend to come out of hollywood — like Kangaroo Jack, for example, a story about two guys chasing a rapping, sunglass-wearing kangaroo across Australia because it happens to be wearing a jacket with lots of money in a pocket.
Oh, it has that guy from Sliders and My Secret Identity in it.
But we’re not talking about Kangaroo Jack. We’re talking about Locusts.
I think the title says it all, but let me give you a transcript of the way I think the pitch session for this movie went.
Studio: Tell me about this movie.
Producer: Well, it’s a simple story really, a bunch of locusts are genetically engineered to be resistant to all known pesticides. They escape and wreak havoc on American crops.
Studio: That’s it? That’s not much of a story.
Producer: (Scrambling for a handhold) Well, of course, there’s more to it than that. Let’s introcude a military-type character who wants to release nerve-gas to kill them, which, in turn, will kill 10% of the American population in the process.
Studio: Chemical warfare is good.
Producer: Of course, we can’t actually proceed with that, so… I know! We’ll have the main characters get the US power grid to shut 100% of the US population down for a few hours so they can massively overload the two parallel north-south main power lines making a giant bug-zapper out of them. As the locusts hit the electric field, they fry.
Studio: Okay, but how would the locusts be attracted to them?
Producer: We’d have the characters hang big weather balloons with little bits of tinfoil dangling from them. Bugs are, after all, atttracted to light!
Studio: Right. Okay, so we have locusts eating food and then the swarms travel.
Producer: Locusts travel in plagues, not swarms.
Studio: This is the USA. Bugs swarm. They don’t “plague.” Besides, nobody would understand the concept of a “plague of locusts.”
Producer: Okay, fine. A swarm of locusts.
Studio: Okay, so we have genetically-engineered locusts swarming around eating everything and they get killed by a giant bug-zapper.
Studio: That’s still not enough for a movie; but the concept is sound… I know! Let’s have them eat hot dogs in Chicago and turn CARNIVOROUS!
Producer: YES! Carnivorous locusts! That’s perfect. And that also means we can kill off one of the main characters as a hero… he gets eaten alive as he saves everyone else in his group of scientists!
Studio: Make the movie.
As you can see, it’s a pretty pathetic concept; but what the hell, it killed two hours of time I would have otherwise spent doing nothing.