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Our 12 Favorite Bug Movies In Celebration Of Ant-Man

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    For those of us who aren't exactly well-versed in the more obscure heroes of the Marvel Comics universe, it was just a little bit odd to learn that the latest movie from the creators of characters like Thor and Captain America is called ... Ant-Man? Then again, we'll see just about anything with Paul Rudd, so the diminutive title doesn't turn us off too much. In this mythology, Rudd's Scott Lang dons a suit that shrinks him down to ant size while also granting him an ant's famously disproportionate super-strength, hence the name.

    Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of using bugs — that's the highly scientific term we're using to include insects and spiders, by the way — in heroic, horrific, and even sympathetic roles. Arthropods, with their armored shells and sharp joints, multiple eyes and waving antennae, just look inherently creepy, and their behavior is even more alien to our human minds. So, why shouldn't they serve as scary monsters reflecting our fears of nuclear power or other scientific experimentation, as they've done in Them! and The Fly? They make really good stand-ins for interplanetary invaders in movies like Men in Black and Ender's Game. On the other hand, they're also really small, so we can accept someone like Jiminy Cricket as a wise advisor, or find ourselves identifying with the plucky misfits in Antz and A Bug's Life. And if you want to get really freaky with your metaphors, view them as murderous sex fiends, like the ladies in Invasion of the Bee Girls.

    Just be warned, these films will make you think twice before you take out that fly swatter again.


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    Pinocchio (1940)

    If the puppet's tiny, know-it-all friend weren't named Jiminy Cricket, would you even know that's what he was? He looks more like an anemic ant, and what is up with making an insect Pinocchio's "conscience," strange blue fairy lady? Still, "When You Wish Upon a Star" is an undeniable classic, and that little guy sure was dapper. He's probably why we're OK with crickets but think grasshoppers are the worst.

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    Them! (1954)

    When nuclear bomb testing in New Mexico accidentally irradiates a nest of ants, the earth's most harmless insects become a threat to all of mankind — ironically created by man in the first place. You may laugh at the clunky special effects of this '50s camp classic, but you will also never watch a colony of ants the same way again. There's a reason this monster movie spawned copycats for decades to come.

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    Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

    Our cinematic suspicion of science hadn't slowed down by the '70s, but it did mutate into some interesting forms, like in this beloved sexploitation flick. Perhaps we're supposed to fear the mad lady scientist who has somehow fused women with queen bees who seduce men and kill them with mind-blowing sex. Although, you may instead find yourself cheering them on.

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    The Fly (1986)

    Director, David Cronenberg had a freaky source to begin with — the 1957 short story by George Langelaan, on which a 1958 movie starring Vincent Price was also based — and then he fused it with his own very special Cronenberg weirdness. Jeff Goldblum is a socially awkward scientist who's working on a teleportation device when he becomes romantically involved with science reporter Geena Davis. One drunken night, he decides to try the machine on himself and winds up genetically fused with the housefly that was trapped in the pod with him. Much grossness follows. Let's just say flies have a very different method of digesting their food.

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    Arachnophobia (1990)

    This is, ostensibly, a dark comedy starring Jeff Daniels as a family guy afflicted with the titular phobia and John Goodman as the exterminator tasked with eliminating the hybrid killer spiders that have invaded their small California town. If you, too, are scared of spiders, the many startling moments of this movie will be nothing to laugh about, however.