Them!

Year Of Production: 1954
Running Time: 92 Minutes
DVD Released By: Warner Brothers
Directed By: Gordon Douglas
Writing Credits: Russell S. Hughes (adaptation), Ted Sherdeman, George Worthing Yates (story)
Filming Location: Los Angeles River, California, Union Station Railroad Yard, Los Angeles, California

Starring: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness, Onslow Stevens, Sean McClory, Chris Drake, Sandy Descher

Tagline 1: An Endless Terror! A Nameless Horror!

Tagline 2: Kill one and two take its place!

Tagline 3: This city is under martial law until we annihilate THEM!

Tagline 4: A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to find any reference to alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
The Shadow of microphone can momentarily be seen on the wall of the room where Dr. Harold Medford asks to see the little girl. There was a cameo appearance in the film by Leonard Nimoy. When this movie was first released in Sweden, it was strangely named The Spiders. This film was originally supposed to be filmed in color. Two days before shooting began a nervous studio cut the budget and the film had to be made in black and white. It was also supposed to be in 3-D. Some elements of the 3-D effects, such as the ants having extreme close-ups and the flame throwers shooting straight into the camera, were used in the film.




Cast Of Characters
Police Sgt. Ben Peterson: He's a real he-man and he's a pretty intelligent guy too. At least he is most of the time. Ben is the cop that was in on the beginning of this whole thing. He found the little girl in the desert and called in the reinforcements. Doesn't he look like he just ate a spicy meatball in this picture?

Trooper Ed Blackburn: Good ol' Ed. He was Ben's partner at the beginning of the film. He's a good actor, but I think he rubbed one of the producer's the wrong way or somethin' because he bites it really early on. It's a shame really, because he seemed really intelligent and like he could have been a great asset to this film as a whole. He doesn't look too happy in this screenshot. Could it be because he knows that in just a few more scenes, he's going to be eaten by a giant ant and sent to that deepest pit of hell that those in the business like to refer to as...the unemployment office?

The Ellinson Girl: This little girl is just a superior actress and I can't say enough good things about the performance she gave in this movie. Isn't this a great screenshot of her? This is when she threw her really sweet freak out in the hospital. I couldn't resist grabbing this screenshot. I mean...well...look at it! Just look at it! Isn't it sweet?

Trooper Capt. Fred Edwards: Ah Freddie my man. How the heck are ya? I'm askin' because you kinda disappeared about half way through the movie. He's the trooper captain, as it says in his name, and he's actually a pretty good cop. He's smart and deals with the situation just the way any professional cop would. Not sure what happened to him though. I wonder... Since he's a cop, can he file his own missing persons report with himself?

Robert Graham: This handsome fellow is James Arness. You may remember him from his role as Marshall Matt Dillon in the TV show Gunsmoke. He always was a real he-man and his role in this movie was no exception. He fights, he shoots, he blows things up. Basically, he's the pride of the FBI and a really great character in this movie. He's the kinda character you actually find yourself pulling for. He and Pat pretty much got a thing for each other, even though that's not entirely explored and brought to it's conclusion in the film.

Dr. Harold Medford: He's a crazy ol' coot and provides some great comic moments here and there in the film. He works for the Department of Agriculture and he and his daughter Pat have been sent out to take charge of the investigation into the strange murders that have been going on, mainly because of their expertise in the scientific field. Now...if he could just learn to use that radio properly...

Dr. Patricia Medford: Pat's a pretty spicy tomato. She a good-lookin' chick with a great mind and a kickin' butt attitude. She's got a thing for Robert but with all the ant stuff goin' on, she really can't get into it too much. She's a strong character and she managed to make it through the movie without being even the least little bit annoying. She really did her part in this whole mess too, doing everything she could to help out.




The Plot

An atomic blast in the desert causes some local ants to mutate into monstrous beasts. After they kill an off duty FBI agent and his wife, other strange murders begin to occur. Ben Peterson and Robert Graham head up the investigation into the strange murders, and when they find that they can't identify the footprints that were found at the scenes of the crimes, Dr. Harold Medford and his daughter Dr. Patricia Medford are sent in to take over control of the investigation. Will they be able to find all the ants and destroy them in time to save the human race from extinction? Will Robert and Laura ever find time to do a little smoochin'? Will old Dr. Medford ever learn to use that damn radio? Probably not, but it never hurts to try.




What The Hell???
1. Ok, so the movie opens with a shot of a New Mexico State Police helicopter following a cop car along a desert highway. I'd like to mention here too that the quality of this transfer is just beyond excellent. It's extremely clean and nice looking with hardly any artifacts at all and near perfect contrast. Anyway, they're looking for something because someone called in a report. Not sure what yet but the pilot just spotted something. Apparently there's a little girl walking through the desert alone. She looks dazed and like she's in another world. I just hope I don't have that same look on my face by the time I'm done with this review. The cops in the car pull over and start calling to her, but she keeps walking like she doesn't know they even exist. She's in a bathrobe and pajamas. This is actually kinda creepy. Almost like a Twilight Zone episode or somethin'.

2. The cop tries to talk to her but gets nothing out of her except a blank stare. I don't know why, but he seems to think that kind of behavior is abnormal for a kid or somethin'. Johnny, the pilot, calls the car at this point and said that he's spotted a trailer about three miles up ahead, and that it didn't look like there was anyone around. This is getting creepier by the minute? Can you feel the tension boys and girls?

3. They get the girl in the car and keep trying to talk to her but she is seriously bugged out. At least she was until she fell asleep. Man I swear, kids can sleep anywhere. Oh crap! The cops just walked around the other side of the trailer and there's a huge hole chewed through the side of it. The inside of the trailer is all tore up too. The cops go inside and start looking around. Apparently the side of the trailer was torn out, and there's sugar cubes all over the place. Looks like the ants basically just tore open the trailer like a can of Alpo so they could get at the goodies inside. They found a footprint too that looked like a cat print but they say it couldn't be a cat.

4. So it's later on now, and the other cops and the ambulance have shown up. The cop is talking to the ambulance driver when all of a sudden they hear a really creepy sound coming from the desert. If you've ever seen an atomic monster movie, then you know what I'm talking about. It's the kind of sound that would make any intelligent person grab every weapon they could get their hands on. Unfortunately, in most of these movies, and in this one as well, it's often just passed off as the sound of the wind or something. Now anyone who could mistake a totally creepy, obviously creature related sound for the sound of the wind, I seriously have to question their intelligence and their life experience.

5. The two cops, Ben and Ed, go down to Gramps Johnson's general store to see if he knows anything about what happened. Unfortunately for them, when they get there, they find the general store looking much like the trailer did, only on a much grander scale. I mean the place looks like a hotel room after Johnny Depp stayed there. The whole place is totally trashed. So the cops go diggin' around the place and spot a rifle on the floor that's completely busted in half. Then they spot a half open door to the cellar and find the dead body of gramps laying at the bottom of the stairs. Wandering over to the massive hole in the wall, they notice, that it, like the trailer wall, had been torn out instead of busted in. Man, if it was me, I'd be calling in the marines about now. And I damn sure wouldn't be walking around without my gun in my hand. Uh oh. They just found a bunch of sugar on the ground with ants crawling all over it. Ben takes off to go to the hospital and leaves Ed behind to watch the store until the crew from the trailer scene can get there. Right after Ben leaves, that sound starts up again. Ed gets his gun out and turns off all the lights. He wanders outside to have a look and ends up as ant chow. In about three days, he'll be ant something else.

6. Back at the station, Ben is in an office with three other cops. They have a bunch of stuff from the both crime scenes on the table and the cop that's talking is telling Ben that with all that stuff, the only information they got is that the car and the trailer belonged to a guy named Alan Ellinson from Chicago. They know at this point too that Ed is dead and they're waiting for a report on some fingerprints. So after some discussion, they decide to have every available man cover the desert. Turns out also that Alan Ellinson was an FBI agent on an extended two month vacation. Apparently this was a cleverly written plot device to give them a reason to bring in an FBI agent on the case. I say that, because we get to meet the guy in the very next scene. Wasn't that clever of them?

7. So Ben comes walking in with the FBI agent who's played by none other than James Arness. God he's tall. Anyway, his name is Robert Graham and he's from the FBI office in Alamagordo. Ben introduces him to the captain and they get right down to work. Robert takes a look at the plaster cast of the footprint they found at the destroyed trailer. He says that he wants to send it down to the FBI lab to identify it. Just then Doc Putnam, the county medical examiner comes in. He gets introduced to Robert and then starts explaining about how Gramps died. He says that he could have died in any one of five ways. Like you really needed more than one? Anyway, here's the list for your reading pleasure.

 

Ways that Gramps could have died:

1. His neck was broken.
2. His back was broken.
3. His chest was crushed.
4. His skull was fractured.
5. He had enough formic acid in him to kill twenty men.

Now, two things strike me about this list. First of all, when they showed his body, he didn't look all that bad, and secondly, why hasn't anyone called in the military yet? I mean jeez people!!! Even to the dimmest bulb, it has to be obvious that something freaky is going on here. I mean, if I was in charge, I'd have heavily armed units out all over that freakin' desert.

8. It's the next day now I believe, and Ben and Robert are waiting for two doctors named Medford from the Department of Agriculture to show up on an army transport plane at the airport. Ben can't understand why the FBI would send out people from the Department of Agriculture. I guess we'll find out in a minute. He's just getting off the plane now. The first Dr. Medford is an old man. He pulls out his hanky and starts wiping the sweat off his brow. Then he proceeds to shake both men's hands with the hand the hanky is in. Disgusting... So the next Dr. Medford comes out of the plane down the ladder, and get's her skirt caught which hikes it up just high enough for Robert and Ben to get a good long stare at her legs. I knew these guys were cool. Anyway, she finally gets off and the old doctor introduces her as his daughter, Patricia. So they all head off together to look at the evidence that's been gathered so far. Robert seems quite taken with the young lady. Doesn't surprise me though since he's already gotten a good look at the goods as she was coming off the plane. She's not a bad lookin' tomato.

9. Back at the station, Robert is showing the two doctors a map of the locations where the attacks occurred. The doctor asks where the first atomic bomb was exploded back in 1945 and Robert tells him that it was in the same general area, near White Sands. The doctor, after reading the medical report on Gramps' autopsy, says that he's sure it couldn't be a hoax. He says he can't tell them his theory until he's absolutely certain that it's true. Now, um...why the hell not? I think at this point with all the weird and crazy stuff goin' on, I'd be about ready to beat it out of him. Anyway, they leave the office to go see a few places and to stop and see the little girl. Actually the next stop is the little girl. We don't get to see them going to all the other places. Budget you know...
10. So the doctor is leaning down and getting in the little girl's face. She's just sitting there with that same autistic look she's had since the beginning of the film. Actually, she's extremely good at it. Anyway, there's a nurse standing behind the girl's chair explaining the girl's condition and the treatments that they've tried and thought about trying to bring her out of her catatonic state. The doctor asks her for a glass and then asks his daughter to bring over the acid they brought with them; formic acid. They pour some of the acid in shot glass and then he holds it under the little girls nose. Back and forth it goes, until at last she comes to her senses and throws a seriously cool freak out. This kid is a great little actress. To be honest, I'd have the same reaction if someone was running a shot glass full of nastiness under my nose too. Anyway, she freaks out and screams and runs over into the corner and starts screaming, "THEM!!! THEM!!! THEM!!!" Then she freaks out more. Seriously, this girl is a great little actress.
11. So out to the desert they go. They all got goggles on because of the sand storm that's going on in the desert. The doctor puts on his goggles crooked. What a goofy old coot. They find another footprint and the the doctor starts going on about his theory and thinking that the whole creature must be over eight feet long. Boy, he's way off. How do I know? Because we finally get to see one of the giant ants in the next scene. Let's go have a look shall me?

12. Pat wandered off and went looking for more evidence. And I think I can safely say she found it. Hoooo boy did she find it. She's kneeling down next to this sand dune and that weird sound is blaring loud throughout the whole area again. You remember, it's the one they passed off as the wind earlier in the movie. Well just after kneels down next to the sand dune, a gigantic ant comes popping up over the top of it. Naturally she screams and runs away. I mean after all, who wouldn't? The ant is really sweet looking. They did a really good job on it. Anyway, the two cops and the old doc come running over and start shooting at this thing. The old doc is telling them to shoot at the antennae because it's helpless without them. Well ben manages to take out one before he runs out of bullets, and Robert gets the other one, but the creature is still alive. So Ben runs back to the car and grabs a freakin' machine gun! He comes back and just starts laying the lead into this thing until finally it collapses and dies. Where the hell did he get a freakin' machine gun? And seriously, if I was him and I had a freakin' machine gun, I'd sure as hell have it in my hands through this whole thing and not sitting in the damn car. I mean, there's some really freaky stuff goin' on here, and you never know when you might need your trusty machine gun. Which brings me to another point. I'm amazed the machine gun actually worked. I mean, don't bullets usually bounce off the monsters in these kinds of movies? Aren't people usually forced to find some other bizarre or exotic way to kill these things? Not in this movie apparently.

13. Once the thing is dead, they all go and have a look. Ben asks the brilliant question, "What is it?" Um...dude, I know you got goggles on and there's a sandstorm and all, but it looks like an ant. Why the hell would you ask such a stupid freakin' question? But then when the doctor tells them what it is, Robert, who's supposed to be Mr. Big FBI Agent over here, is all, "An ant??? I don't believe it, it's not possible!" Both these guys need a good bitch slappin' for asking such stupid questions and being so surprised. Somewhere there's a little yellow school bus with two empty seats I swear to god. Now Ben's asking him if that's the thing that got Ed Blackburn and Gramps. No gee really...ya think? Was it this atomic beast from hell that messed those guys up like that? Hell, and I was sitting here thinking that they both died from like really bad shaving cuts or a bizarre gardening accident or something.

14. The Doctor is saying that the ants are probably a result of lingering radiation from the first atomic blast that happened in the area. He's also saying that the ants tear and rend with their mandibles but they kill with their stinger by injecting formic acid. Then he says that they have to find the nest to destroy the rest of them. Pat says that this one was just a scout and was probably out looking for food and that that's what the sound they heard was. It was communicating with the rest of the colony. Now they're hearing more and more of those ant sounds in the desert and the old doc starts babbling about some stupid biblical prophecy coming true. Yeah, good thinkin' doc.

15. Oh my god. They're all up in two planes now scanning the desert, looking for the nest. Ben and the old doc are in one plane with a general flying them around and Robert and Pat are in a helicopter being flown by another military officer. The professor spots a big mound on the ground, and gets all freaked out. He's staring hard at it, and then goes, "Oh, no. That's not it." I mean it's good writing and it makes it realistic, but having him do that makes me feel like someone just stuck a cupcake in my mouth and then pulled it back out before I could bite down. So he get's on the radio to call to the other plane. Ben's all over him about which end of the headset to listen to and which end to talk in to. So the doctor starts talking and Ben jumps all over him again about not using the call names and then tells him to say "over" when he's done talking. Jeez Ben, chill the hell out!!! I mean who the heck cares, just let the man say what he's got to say already! There's more important things going on here than you being anal about the freakin' radio. So lay off already.

16. After they're done playing with the radio, Robert and Pat spot a huge hole in the ground. As they fly over it, a giant ant sticks his head out. It's got the entire rib cage of someone or something in it's mandibles, and it's been picked completely clean. Pat takes a picture of it just as it drops the rib cage and we see it roll down next to a human skull and Ed Blackburn's holster and belt. That was enough for them I guess, as in the next scene, we find them all back at the office in the police station. You know, all they really have to do to kill these things is bring in a few tanker trucks and dump a bunch of gasoline down the hole. If the fumes don't kill the beasts, they can light it, blow out the caverns, and burn them all to a crisp. What do you want to bet that the thought doesn't even occur to them? They'll probably just spray a bunch of ant spray all over the place or lay out some ant traps or somethin'.

17. Back in the office, the general is saying that if time is of the essence, why won't the doctor allow him to just go in there with some bombers and wipe out the nest. The doctor says that it's not the answer and that the reason you don't see the ants out during the day hardly is that they don't like the heat of the desert. They come out for food between sunset and sunrise. He then proceeds to display a diagram of a typical ant nest and talks about all the parts of it. He's saying that some species of desert ants dig down thirty feet or more. They're figuring that these ants have probably burrowed down hundreds of feet, and if they sealed up the entrance, the ants would only tunnel out somewhere else. That's why the bombing won't work. The professor is saying that they want to wait until noon tomorrow when the ants will all be in the nest. He says that one option is to flood the nest, but there's no real water within twenty miles. The second option is to heat up the surface area to keep them in there, and then dump in cyanide gas to kill them all. The general wants to know how they can be sure they got them all. The professor says that they would have to go into the nest to find out. Yeah, I can see that one now. "Right men. Now we need some volunteers to go down into a nest of giant atomic ants, to make sure they're all dead. The nest has been flooded with cyanide gas, and there's hot phosphorous all around the entrance." Yeah, I'm sure they'll be lining up for that mission.

18. It's the next day now, and they got the bazookas out blowing phosphorous all round the entrance of the nest. Robert and Ben, now in cheap-looking flame resistant enviro-suits, are heading over to the entrance of the nest now to start dumping in the cyanide gas. Just as they get to the edge of the nest, one of the ants comes out of the tunnel. One of them starts shooting it while the other starts dumping in the gas grenades. Finally, they both start dumping in gas grenades and the ant pulls back into the nest. These guys looked like they were gonna need some clean suits when they got done. Then again, I'm sure I'd kinda be freakin' out too.
19. Later on, Ben straps on a flamethrower and he and Robert are getting ready to go down into the nest. Pat is insisting on going with them because someone with scientific knowledge has to go down there to observe. She's really insistent about it and eventually browbeats Robert into letting her go. Man, if these two ever get married, and can see who's gonna be wearing the pants in that family.
20. Down in the hole now, and they're finding dead ants all over the place in the upper level. Now they're descending to the next level, and they 're finding more dead ants. Unfortunately, one of them ain't dead, and it just busted through the wall. Oh, there's actually a couple of them. They just made quick work of them with the flamethrower though. Man, that musta stunk to high heaven. It's a good thing they got gas masks on. Into the queen's chamber now, and they're finding eggs all over the place. They find a couple that have hatched, and pat says that the ones that hatched from those eggs aren't dead. Then she freaks a little and very insistently tells them to burn everything in the chamber. They go ahead and torch everything, and as I'm watching this I can't help but think how fun it must have been to use that flamethrower.
21. Back at the office now, and everyone is sitting around talking and examining the pictures that Pat took in the cave. Pat is saying that there were no larvae in the nest at all and that she thinks they're hatching out of the eggs as fully developed ants. Apparently the two ants that hatched were queen ants and they got away. The doctor is telling them that a single queen is capable of laying thousands of eggs and producing even more queens. He tells the general that he had better inform Washington. Gee, ya think? Shouldn't you have done that ages ago before you even attacked the nest?
22. They're in a different office now at a meeting of big mucky mucks from Washington. The doctor is showing a film about ants and giving a lecture about what they're seeing. It's actually kind of informative. I feel like I'm sitting in a high school science class. The doctor is telling them now that unless they solve this problem and find those queens that escaped, that man would probably be extinct within a year.
23. The army has a monitoring center set up, and a wire just came in saying that a farmer in Brownsville, Texas reported having to crash his plane because of an ant shaped flying saucer. They're holding the guy at the psychiatric hospital. No one believes what he saw. Robert and Pat and Major Kibbee are all at the hospital now and listening to the guy's story. He says he saw three of them. I thought there was only two? Where'd the third one come from all of a sudden? Oh, I think one of the males escaped with the queens to go on the mating flight. That must be what it is. Anyway, the guy tells them that the big one was about fifteen feet long, and the other two seemed to be chasing it. They ask him what direction they were going. He tells them and then asks them if they can get him out of there. They thank him and walk out and tell the doctor outside to keep him locked up until he hears otherwise from them. See, they're trying to keep this whole thing hush hush and if this guy got out, he'd blab it all over the place. Man, it sucks to be him. First his plane crashes and then they lock him up in the loony bin. That is way not cool.
24. They just got word at the monitoring station. One of the nests hatched aboard a ship at sea. The ants killed the entire crew and the navy sent in another ship to sink the infested one. With that ship sunk, they started focusing on trying to figure out where the other nest was. There's a senator that keeps sitting in on these high level meetings that wants to tell the public what's going on, but everyone keeps beating him up over it because it would cause a panic. I swear, politicians are completely moronic and have no business sticking their noses in this kind of an operation. They really need to leave stuff like this up to the experts. I mean, up to this point, they haven't been doing that bad at all. They've killed two nests and are hot on the trail of the third. When was the last time congress worked that efficiently senator?
25. Back at the briefing room, Pat is going over their leads by pointing out locations on a map. There was a big sugar theft, forty tons of it to be exact, and Ben and Robert went out to check it out. There was a railroad car that was busted in on the side. Apparently, there was also a man killed in the area. He was missing an arm and had a big laceration on his chest. His wife said that he had his two kids with him too. The kids are gone. But, I have a feeling that if you follow one of them ants around with a little baggie for about three days...you'll get them back.
26. Robert and Ben are working with the local police in the area where the missing sugar was. They arrange for interviews with the four people that the cops who found the dead man arrested earlier in the day. There was three drunks and a blonde harlot. The drunks didn't even remember where they had been earlier in the day and the harlot just wanted to leave because she had spent the night with a married man and she didn't want no trouble. The third drunk they had to go to the alcoholics ward at the hospital to see, and man is he a nut. Major Kibbee is with them now at the hospital. The old drunk tells them little bits and pieces but then says to major Kibbee that if he enlists him and makes him a sergeant and puts him in charge of the booze, then he'll join up quietly. Then he pulls the blankets over his head and starts shouting, "In charge of the booze! In charge of the booze!" Oh man, what a goof. Anyway, he says that he's seen them down by the riverbed. Robert looks out the window and realizes that they're in the tunnels around the banks of the river. So they leave as the old guy pulls the blankets up over his head and starts shouting again, "Make me a sergeant. Give me the booze! Make me a sergeant. Give me the booze!"
27. So the trio head down to the riverbed in a cop car along with one of the local cops. They start walking around the riverbed and looking for clues. They find a big model airplane and have the cop take it back to the car so he can radio it in to that dead guys wife to find out if their kids had a plane like that. Now they just found tire marks and figure that it belongs to the dead guy's car. Now an ant track in the mud. That clinches it, there's ants in dem dar tunnels. The cop just yelled back to them from the car that the plane did belong to the kid. They asked him about the tunnels and the cop says that there's about seven hundred miles of tunnels under the city. I'm thinkin' that those flame throwers were pretty effective before. Just load up a bunch of guys with flame throwers and send them out through the tunnels. That shouldn't be that hard.
28. They're having a big press conference now to announce that the city is under martial law. Then the guy who announces it starts explaining what's going on with the ants. People don't really seem to be freaking out all that bad. Maybe they didn't need to keep all this stuff a secret after all.
29. I don't get this. Mrs. Lodge, the dead guy's wife, just drove up and was greeted by Ben and Robert who are now wearing army uniforms. Now how come these guys just slipped into the army all of a sudden? One's a cop and the other is an FBI agent. I mean...sheesh! Anyway, it's nighttime and there's a big military operation going on down at the tunnels. There's a guy who's saying they should flood the tunnels with gasoline and light it. They tell him they can't because not only are they not sure if the kids are still alive, but they need to be sure that no new queens have hatched and escaped the nest. Yeah, that would totally suck if that happened, because if it did, the movie would be way longer and I'd never finish this review.
30. A bunch of guys in army jeeps are driving into the tunnels now with their spotlights blazing. Robert, Ben, Pat and Kibbee are all in separate jeeps each riding with at least one army guy, and some with two or three. Ben just heard something in one of the overhead tunnels and he had everyone stop their jeeps so that he could hear better. Ben tells them he hears something and he's going in to check it out. He straps on a flamethrower and climbs up into this feeder pipe. He's crawling...crawling...crawling...hearing a noise...crapping his pants... Oh, it's just the kids. Oh, and there's ants in there with them. The ants can't get into where they are. He calls back to his driver saying that he smells a strong brood odor so he must be near the nest and he also requests assistance because he can't use his flamethrower because the kids are in the line of fire. Outside, a whole bunch of army guys go down into a nearby storm drain. Ben finally makes it down and manages to torch the ants. He gets the kids up into the pipe, but there's another ant coming. He doesn't make it and get's grabbed in the ant's mandibles. Just then, Robert and his crew come in and kill the ant. It releases Ben but it's too late. He dies in Robert's arms. The rest of the nest is coming now and they're being blown apart by the army guys. Go army!!!
31. The professor comes in then and tells them to stop using explosives. They need to get into the egg chamber and see if any new queens have hatched out. Robert takes point, but then gets trapped on the other side of a cave-in. He looks around. He's tense. An ant pops it's head up. He shoots. He's out of bullets. He dodges the ants mandibles and shoots some more. Just then the army guys break through and help him kill the thing. There's more ant sounds, and they find the egg chamber. Fortunately, the newly hatched queens are still in there. The doctor says that he's certain that no new queens have escaped, and once these are destroyed, that will be the end of it. They torch the egg chamber, stink up the whole place, and basically wipe out the remaining threat. And that my friends, is the end of the movie.



Best Quote

Ben: "If you're finished say over and out."
Dr. Medford: "Oh this is ridiculous. A lot of good your rules are gonna do if we don't find..."
Ben: (As he takes the headset and does it himself.) "Over and out."
Dr. Medford: "Oh now your happy."

 

- Ben being Mr. Anal with his instructions to the doctor about the proper use of the radio. - (Reviewer's Note: This was a really funny bit, but I can't believe that with all that's going on, that Ben is being so freakin' anal abut this. I mean, if I was the professor, I'd probably just pull a one cheek sneak and float an air biscuit in his general direction. I mean, they are in an enclosed airplane cockpit after all. So that should be pretty effective. I bet Ben wouldn't open his mouth for quite a while after that.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Them!
Our intrepid heroes have their first encounter with the ants, and Ben manages to pull off a really sweet shot with just a revolver in high winds and from a distance!



The Conclusion
I actually put off reviewing this movie for quite some time. I'm not sure why that is really, but I guess it was because I didn't think it would be goofy enough or be interesting enough to make a good review. Well, it's turned out to be one of those rare instances where I'm happy to say that I was completely wrong. This movie was extremely well written, incredibly well acted, and beautifully produced from start to finish.

The acting was first rate, especially by the little girl who was played by Sandy Descher. Sandy Descher incidentally, was also the little girl in an episode of The 20th Century Fox Hour playing Susan Walker in the Miracle On 34th St. episode the following year. There is no way I could ever describe the raw talent this girl has. It's just something that you have to see to believe. When she was in her catatonic state, her eyes never moved. She was completely focused on one point and was completely non-responsive to any stimulus. When she came out of her catatonic state and had her freak out, she was just brilliant. She acted it so perfectly that you really believed that she was completely terrified. The rest of the cast were all quite good as well, but her performance just put them all to shame.

The ants in this movie really creepy and well done. They actually looked like giant, mutant ants rather than some stupid 50's atomic movie monster. I don't know who designed them, but whoever it was, should have won some kind of an award, because they really looked amazing.

The plot flowed well and there weren't any times where I felt lost or confused about what was going on. This movie was actually written by three different people. George Worthing Yates wrote the story, and Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes wrote the film adaptation. The beautiful thing about how this movie was written, is that they actually allowed the characters to be smart. The dialogue was intelligent, the plan of attack was intelligent, the investigations were intelligent. The writers really allowed these characters to shine, and that took the film to a whole other level when compared to other, more shoddy films with poor dialogue and even poorer acting.

Now I'd like to say a little about the quality of this DVD. The transfer on this disc is about the most beautiful transfer of a classic film that I've ever seen. The contrast was perfect and the film was virtually free of any artifacts. They did an excellent job cleaning this film up and making it just pristine. The sound is excellent as well, and I think thethe only problem I really have with this DVD is the menu system. It was a little awkward the way it was set up, but that's not really a major problem when you consider how great overall quality of the release is.

So that's about it. This film is one of the greats, and this DVD definitely needs to be in your collection of b-movie classics.  That said, it gives me great pleasure to give this stunning example of classic b-movie greatness....

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

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