The Love Bug (1997 film)

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The Love Bug (1997 film)
Written by Ryan Rowe
Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Bruce Campbell
John Hannah
Alexandra Wentworth
Kevin J. O'Connor
Dana Gould
Harold Gould
Dean Jones
Micky Dolenz
Clarence Williams III
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Irwin Marcus
Cinematography Russ T. Alsobrook
Running time 88 minutes
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Preceded by Herbie Goes Bananas
Followed by Herbie: Fully Loaded

The Love Bug is made-for-television film starring Bruce Campbell and a sequel to the original The Love Bug film. The sequel included a Dean Jones cameo, tying it to the previous films; and introduced an evil black Volkswagen named Horace, "the Hate Bug", giving the film a much darker tone than the other "Herbie" films.

The film is a part reboot and part sequel, in that the events of the original 1969 film are repeated while the storyline plots to follow 1980's Herbie Goes Bananas. It can also be thought a prototype of Herbie: Fully Loaded, in that both show a later racer finding Herbie in a junkyard and restoring him.

This 1997 Love Bug film marks the first new appearance of Herbie in more than 15 years, following the Bug's lone TV series Herbie the Matchmaker, which had ended after five episodes.


The film opens with narration by Jim Douglas and "memory" clips from the first film. The narration ends saying Herbie is now owned by an arrogant Scotsman named Simon Moore III (John Hannah), who abuses and insults Herbie until Herbie comes last in a race, not wanting to obey Simon. Furious, Simon sends Herbie to the junkyard.

Meanwhile, Hank Cooper (Bruce Campbell), a mechanic in a small garage, is told to enter a race and persuaded to acquire Herbie. The judges are Donny Shotz (Micky Dolenz), a car enthusiast; Alex (Alexandra Wentworth), an old flame of Hank's; and Simon. When Herbie and Hank have won the race, Alex questions Hank, and he gives her a ride, wherein Herbie takes them to an isolated road. Meanwhile, Simon finds the engineer who created Herbie: Dr. Gustav Stumpful (Harold Gould), and requests a second such car: an evil, black edition, whom Simon names Horace.

Hank asks Donny Shotz for a position; but Shotz refuses, whereupon Hank blames Herbie and leaves him. When Herbie searches for Hank, he is cornered by Horace and Rupert in an alley, and destroyed by Horace. Believing Herbie dead, Hank gives him a funeral; but learns from Jim Douglas, Herbie's former owner, that Herbie can be revived if repaired with his own pieces. This being done, Simon proposes a race between Herbie and Horace.

During the race, Herbie gets a tire removed, threatened by grenades and is cut in two by Horace (similar to the original Love Bug in 1968, except being sliced through the windshield, rather than being sliced between the front and back seats); but operates both halves simultaneously to win the race. Horace thereafter attempts again to destroy Herbie, but instead destroys himself. Simon and his assistant Rupert (Dana Gould) are then arrested by the state police.

The film ends with Herbie taking Hank and Alex to an unknown place, similar to the ending of the first film.


This 1997 incarnation of The Love Bug is the only film in the Herbie franchise not available on DVD. As of 2010, it is only available in VHS format throughout the United States and Canada. This movie has since been seen in recent years on cable networks; most notably, Hallmark Channel (which usually airs the 1969 original and 1997 film back-to-back) and Disney Channel.

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