Director: Richard T. Heffron
Starring: Ben Johnson, Ron Howard, Katherine Helmond, Lisa Gerritsen, Belinda Balaski
Donny Fletcher is returning home after being kicked out of the military. This brings much shame to his family and especially his ex-military dad Amos is disappointed with him. Shortly after returning home, a big swarm of locusts start to come their way and they now have to decide to either stand and fight them off or run to a safer place, leaving their home and crops behind.
Even though the idea of a locusts swarm sounds like a neat horror movie idea, this is more of a drama with more focus on the family of the Fletchers than the locusts. There is no humans being killed by these locusts, so horror fans do not make the same mistake that I did when I found this movie. Not horror, pure drama.
This was a ABC Movie of the Week back in ’74, I’m not sure how the general quality of those movies where, but this one sadly is a dull affair. The biggest draw and star in this is of course Ron Howard (American Grafitti, Happy Days) as Donny. Donny is a very troubled kid who are not sure of what he will do with his future and also have different ideals than his father and that of his local community.
His clashes with his father Amos, played by Ben Johnson (Mighty Joe Young, Wagon Master), comes more from different views than actually being bad. Amos also tries to be a good dad, but is very old school and struggled to see the world through the eyes of Donny. Katherine Helmond (Family Plot, Soap) plays the husband of Amos, Claire, who gets upset by their relationship and tries to subtly intervene when the opportunity arises. There is also a little sister named Sissy, played by Lisa Gerritsen (Mixed Company, A Howling in the Woods) who were more annoying than the locust themselves.
Locusts is directed by Richard T. Heffron, who has made a bunch of other made for TV movies aswell, none of which I have seen. He has also been involved in some TV shows which I have seen, including V: The Final Battle and North vs. South. I guess he does a decent job here, nothing spectacular or anything that makes you want to seek out more of his work.
Locusts is a boring TV movie that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Don’t be tricked by the title into thinking that this is an obscure horror movie like I did.