After an earthquake releases an underground breed of fire starting roaches, the bugs go on a rampage, such as bugs do. The roaches get around by climbing into cars exhaust pipes and spreading around the town. How do they get up off the ground into an exhaust pipe? Why do they set cars on fire? Why do they kill people? No idea.
Professor James Parmiter is a biologist at a local college and is called upon when someone discovers the bugs. Parmiter determines they set fires by picking them up and burning his fingers. So he decides it would be a good idea to study them.
After the bugs kill his wife, he hunkers down in a cabin at the edge of town and tries to breed them with another species of beetle or roach. This proves to be a very bad decision when the new bugs can not only can set fires, but have a taste for human flesh. Now they're setting fires, eating people, and communicating by spelling out words. Freaky bugs indeed. Thanks Parmiter for making things so much worse.
Parmiter proves to be a terrible scientist since he never suspects that anything bad could happen from breeding killer fire roaches. He also never latches the box they are in, even after he discovers that they've escaped and eaten a steak. Yes, you heard me - they ate a thick juicy steak. Also if they're fire bugs, why the hell would he house them in a wooden box?
This is a William Castle film, which depending on how you view him is either fantastic or something to avoid. It's a bit slow paced, but kind of amusing at times. Who leaves a surprise birthday cake in someones garage? Why are people living in the Brady Bunches house? Seriously, look at the kitchen and then the living room - this is the Brady Bunch set.