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Empire of the Ants

USA 1977
produced by
Bert I. Gordon, Samuel Z. Arkoff for AIP
directed by Bert I. Gordon
starring Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, John David Carson, Albert Salmi, Jacqueline Scott, Pamela Susan Shoop, Robert Pine, Edward Power, Brooke Palance, Tom Fadden, Irene Tedrow, Harry Holcombe, Jack Kosslyn, Ilse Earl, Janie Gavin, Norman Franklin, Florance McGee
based on a novel by H.G. Wells

Bert I. Gordon's giant creature films

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Marilyn Fryser (Joan Collins) is professionally selling overpriced but beautiful looking land to customers who think they have more money in their pocket than they really do ... but what even she doesn't know about her latest project, Dreamland Shores, an idyllic beach community, is that atomic waste was dumped nearby, & the local ants have found one of the barrels ... & we all know what atomic radiation does to insects: it makes them grow to man-size, silly !

So when good Marilyn arrives with her bunch of prospective buyers/jackasses by boat, it's only a matter of hours before the first fall victims to the ants (who are quite hungry for that tasty human flesh), & these bloody insects also take over our human friends' boat, leaving the group - an uneven bunch of losers, has-beens & never-have-been - with but one alternative, to make a getaway to the woods, where there's a little rowing boat tied down that might take them to safety.

He-men Dan (Robert Lansing) & Charley (Edward Power) take the double lead of the group, with Marilyn of course bitching around because ... well, because she's a bitch, but they haven't even come close to the woods when Charley ends up ant-food too.

The way to the boat is of course as dangerous as it sounds, with the group soon decimated to a sextet, & after a few miles in the boat, the most annoying charater, Larry (Robert Pine) is killed too, thank god, the boat is sunk, & like cattle our remaining quintet - still bitchy Marilyn, still he-man Dan, Magarete (Jacqueline Scott), who has fallen for him, Joe (John David Carson), & Coreen (Pamela Susan Shoop), who has fallen for him - are herded to the next village.

There they tell the sheriff (Albert Salmi) what has happened, & wouldn't you know it, he doesn't hesitate a second & believes them every word.

Soon though they find out that the whole town is brainwashed by the queen ant, who has set up shop in the local sugar refinery, & our quintet is next on her to-do-list. But fortunately Dan has some light flares in his pocket, & since ants are afraid of fire, he can distract the queen ant long enough to lose her mental grip over the population, & they turn against their ant-masters, while Joe has the bright idea to drive a tanker into the refinery, the ants' favourite hang-out (because of the sugar, stupid), & then blow it up.

All are saved, except for Marilyn of course, who, because of having always been that bitchy has become the queen ants last victim.

 

Being definitely past his prime, director & genre-fave Bert I.Gordon tried to relive his past successes by doing another one of these movies he always did best - the giant-creature-movie. So he took the basic structures of this genre (which he has made pretty much his own in the 50's) & inserted it with elements of the then current desaster-movie genre (not a hard task, since these 2 genres have pretty much in common to begin with) ... but unfortunately he experiment had mixed results.

On one hand, most of the effects - mainly shots of life-ants blown up & combined with shots of the actors via blue-screen, complimented by some miniature work & good-looking man-sized prop-ants - are prettry impressive (except for one scene at the end where the ants are supposed to head for the refinery, but some just try to climb the painted-on blue sky behind them), on the other hand, the desaster movie elements suffered gfrom what in general desaster movies died suffer form: one-dimensional characters delivering abysmal lines all the while trying desperately to give a human dimension to the proceedings ... but failing miserably.

Still, it's a good-natured trashy 80 minutes, & the writing isn't even half as bad as The Day after Tomorrow (2004) - if any of you even admit to having seen that abomination.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

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Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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