Field Guide to Invertebrates in Film: Sick Girl (Master of Horror Series)

Sick Girl (Masters of Horror Series) (2006)
Brazilian Mantis-like parasitic insect, undescribed species
Size: About 8-10 inches long
Modus Operandi: Inserts proboscis into victim’s ear and sucks victim’s blood, simultaneously injecting a mutating protein that allows for compatibility between the insect’s DNA and the mammalian or avian DNA. Subsequently impregnates female humans.
How the Menace Emerges: Sent as a biological weapon to a lovelorn entomologist
End Goal: Reproduction

At last! A contemporary entry into the Field Guide! Alas, it's not necessarily great news. Like a lot of the Masters of Horror films I’ve seen, Sick Girl starts out with a fun premise and a neat critter but falls down somewhere along the way. I should mention that I’m not a fan of the series as a whole. I love the concept of proven horror directors doing short, quick bits for TV with free creative rein, and I think Mick Garris is a swell guy, but most of what I’ve seen in the series is lackluster. Even those I like, entries by Joe Dante (Homecoming & The Screwfly Solution) and Stuart Gordon (Dreams in the Witch’s House & Black Cat), have their flaws.

Sick Girl is well-shot, with a fair dose of humor, gore and quirk and it is obvious that Lucky McKee is no hack. With Sick Girl as in May, we can see that McKee has both a cinematic sense of color and composition as well as a solid sense of character and story development. In Sick Girl, he and Angela Bettis (May) create another likeable, but awkward female character out of step with the world and lonely. This time Bettis plays Ida Teeter, an entomologist whose fascination with insects keeps scaring away potential girlfriends. As her coworker and piggish relationship coach says: “At some point you’ll have to make the choice: babes or bugs? You can’t have both.” Her loneliness and the potential for Sick Girl to really shine both end when she meets her dream gal. The certainly awkward, but much less likeable Misty is played by Misty Mundae, er… Erin Brown (Play-Mate of the Apes), who seems to be trying to break out of her soft-core and straight-to-video roles into actual horror, a genre that conveniently also has a use for actresses that don’t mind nude scenes. Paired with the comedic and interesting Bettis, Mundae seems untalented, vapid and out of her element. Although there is a nasty bug that does nasty things, it is the human characters within the story that are the real horror here. Desperate and lonely people make bad decisions when bitten by the love bug.

Nit-picking Science: Silly Misty, Lucanus laetus is found in China, not Thailand!

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