On Saturday, February 25th, the 26th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival occurred in Foellinger Auditorium. This is an annual event, put on by the UIUC Department of Entomology, where bug lovers, families, and university students come together and appreciate all the workings of insects. Each year, they highlight a specific bug. This year’s theme was termites, which did not disappoint.
The films weren’t the only thing the festival offered. Once you walked into the main lobby of Foellinger, you were greeted with tables displaying endless specimens of dead bugs like butterflies, moths, bees, and many more. There were also a variety of live insects you could hold including tarantulas, hissing cockroaches, and grasshoppers that literally mated in your hands(they just didn’t care I guess). The volunteers were very helpful in terms of answering any biological questions about the bugs, and, of course, were on standby if someone prematurely wanted a bug off their hands. You could even try to eat a couple of termites, which had a crunchy shell with a moist inside.
The festival featured a lot of pieces of artwork, which were all of bugs. If you’re not artistically inclined, these paintings could make you feel bad about yourself- talented children drew beautiful and vivid descriptions. Some even garnered awards.
Towards 7:30 p.m., the main event started and we all made our way into the auditorium. All the films were old-timey cartoons including Popeye, Woody and Woodpecker, and Pink Panther. Each of them were about termites, from outer space or Earth, and the destruction of houses as termites love to eat wood. The feature film, “Alien Apocalypse,” made the audience squirm…for all the wrong reasons. In the movie, alien termites traveled to earth in order to harvest wood for their home planet. In the process, they enslave the humans on Earth and movie follows a group of people as they try to start a rebellion. Bruce Campbell couldn’t even save this one as it wasn’t even “The Room” good. Despite this, the audience still ended up having a good time. The funniest point of the movie was the final scene, which caused the audience to erupt in laughter. Bruce Campbell made a beautifully memorable face while he was fought the alien creatures which was oddly placed and unintentionally sexual. Hopefully we get moments like these in the future Insect Fear Film Festivals to come.