Tuesday, October 21, 2014
31 Days of Halloween - Day 21 - Movie 1
Joan Collins plays a shady real estate developer who takes potential clients to an island in the hopes of selling them beach front property. Little does she, or her guests, know that the island is overrun with giant ants.
Bert I. Gordon (The Amazing Colossal Man, Beginning of the End, Food of the Gods) continues his cinematic fascination with giant creatures with Empire of the Ants (1977) loosely based on a story by H.G. Wells. Formulaic by way of 1970s disaster movies in which a cross section of personality types are introduced so we can fathom who they are, then the horrible element is introduced and the characters are picked off one by one. It's schlocky, but somewhat entertaining. Coming out the same year as Star Wars, which really upped the ante on special effects, the effects here are awful when they fail, such as the transparent superimposed ants, but actually pretty damned good when they work out. The effects are a combination of macrophotography of actual ants inserted into footage of actors, or on miniature sets, mixed with full sized ant props which are shaken at the actors by off screen crew members. The story itself isn't all that interesting, or new, until very late in the film when it introduces an interesting plot development. By the time this comes to the forefront though, the movie is pretty much over.
If you like other 1970s nature gone mad films like Day of the Animals and Frogs, you may get a kick out of this. Everyone else though would be much better off watching Them! (1954)