Sunday, October 19, 2008

Empire of the Ants

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Rating: Yeah
Moderately Trashy

This was the viewers' choice film at Al Fresco, Halifax's out door fillm festival (it was screened August 30th, I just took my time writing this review). The theme this year was environmental disaster movies (or EnvironMental movies as I like to call them) and the other films on the ballot included Soylent Green (which I voted for on account of Mr. Heston dying earlier this year), Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster and Toxic Avenger (Night of the Lepus was conspicuously absent).

It's about what happens when a sleazy real estate agent (Joan Collins) takes a bunch of people down to Florida with the intention of selling them shitty swamp land. When they get there, they find the place overrun by giant, mutant ants who are intent on taking over then entire state, sugar refinery by sugar refinery. And they're welcome to it! Really, who gives a shit about Florida...

Though this movie is undeniably lousy, it had a certain charm which surfaced every now and then in lines like "we just wanted to enjoy the last years of our lives! Is that so wrong?" and "it's none of your business what I do with my sugar".

The characters never seemed to behave in a rational way. I mean, after just barely escaping the jungle full of ants with their lives, they head straight for the nearest sugar refinery. Coz, you know, ants would never go there.

Christ. Forget the plot, characters and dialogue, the way the movie was shot and edited is completely incoherent. In one scene, the motley crew is headed down the river in a small rowboat when, holy shit! They are attacked by ants! In one shot, we see some asshole wrestling with an ant. He falls into the water. In the next shot, everyone is in the water and the boat is sinking. Did I miss something?

But despite that, the movie was actually really awesome. It was even better than Frogs if such a thing is possible. I really liked looking at the ant effects which, though primitive, were fairly effective and more interesting to look at than crappy ass CGI.

Yeah, this movie was well worth watching.


Directed by: Bert I. Gordon. Written by: Jack Turley based on the short story by H.G. Wells. Starring: Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, John David Carson, Albert Salmi, Jacqueline Scott, Pamela Shoop.

Next, another Bert I. Gordon masterpiece about giant stuff: Food of the Gods

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