My main problem was the characters. Filming in a remote swampland sometimes proved to be problematic, and was particularly taxing for the women because their restrooms were approximately a half-hour away by speedboat. The script refines the formula of Food Of The Gods, pitting a gaggle of diverse soap-opera stereotype characters against a menace straight out of 1950's nuclear-fear monster mash in this case, Empire Of The Ants borrows directly from classic Them for its giant mutant ants. The shortcomings of this technique were highlighted in a scene where the ants are climbing the outside of a sugar refinery, and some of them appear to suddenly crawl off the building and walk vertically into the sky. To create the effect of giant ants, the director often used the technique of process shots, where images of live ants were combined with images of the actors on set, reacting to the menacing insects. The problem before my viewing of Empire of the Ants was how they would create the ants and how they would look.
I half expected to see the ants in bell bottoms, but fortunately they had the good fashion sense to stick with the straight legs. The opening narration briefly introduces the viewer to the ant and its behavior. The sense of humor continues to the cast: Joan Collins hams it up in a way that suggest she is preparing for her later role on Dynasty and Robert Lansing informs his heroic role with a sarcastic, deadpan sensibility that makes him fun to watch. Before long, they wander into a Floridian town, who's sole economic support is the local sugar refinery. Let's also suppose that they can become intelligent enough to herd people into a particular location, and to permanently enslave them afterwards. The ants destroy their boat and chase the group through the woods.
At one point, the cold weather was so bad that it caused Shoop's jaw to dislocate during one of her screaming scenes and she had to be sent to the hospital to be treated. The director had previously promised that a cage would be installed to protect the actors, but for some unknown reason the cage never arrived. It gets worse, as you know, but we'll return to this line of thought after giving some of the other plot details an appropriate level of scrutiny but to tip you off just a bit, I was already rooting for the ants by this point. The Unbelieving Town Officials are actually Brainwashed Town Officials. I'll stop now actually, I c an't.
Joan Collins later said she did not like working with the ant props as they bumped and scratched the actors, including herself. For starters, I couldn't resist watching this B-movie flick because they always intrigue me. Gordon films, the director himself oversaw most of the special effects. Then the gi ant ants show up. I don't know how they did it, but they did do it well. However, the survivors manage to escape and burn the sugar factory, killing the giant ants, and leave the island by a speedboat. When the film called for actors to be attacked by the ants, large rubber mock-ups were used, which were animated by crew members who wiggled the gigantic props in front of the camera.
But for the ants to accomplish all of the above in 24 hours or less, like so? Gordon followed up on the success of Food Of The Gods with this equally goofball monster movie. The queen ant, using pheromones, has the entire town completely under her control. That said, Empire Of The Ants is actually quite entertaining for those in the right trash-craving frame of mind. Well, stranger things have not happened. And it is oh-so-necessary to add this thought; Empire of the Ants was the only known antidote for the ant-dispossessed.
Based very loosely on the short story by , the film involves a group of prospective land buyers led by a land developer, pitted against giant, mutated ants. There they meet the Unbelieving Town Officials, but hah! A typical poofing goes like this: - The entire town lines up in the sugar refinery. Well, not the ones who aren't involved in the destruction. Otherwise, it's just not as fun to see them meet their demise. I would've liked to see the ants attack and destroy the town.
I mean, a little destructiveness never hurt anybody. . I'm not saying I wanted Oscar-winning characters, but I would've liked to see some personality. They were dull, had no personality, and were just there for the feeding. Gordon's tidy direction keeps things rolling at a fast clip and his script's silliness is informed by a sense of humor about its contrivances that gives it some camp appeal. Listen, I've got a Business Degree. I didn't see any sugar refineries when I lived in Florida, but that's because I didn't visit any fraudulent resort islands except for Disney World.
But as long there's hope - and Joan Collins - the Movie Club will not yield to despair. Meanwhile, shady land developer Marilyn Fryser takes a bunch of new clients to view some 'beach-front property' on a nearby island. But their safety is short-lived when they realize that not only are the giant ants feeding on the local sugar factory, but that they are doing so at the invitation of the humans. Ants have never been feared by man or woman. Empire of the Ants was one of those rare movies that rated two viewings by the Movie Club. Even lacking specific experience in the fields of sugar refining and human enslavement, I can tell you that it takes somewhat longer than 24 hours to set up a sugar factory with a slave-based work force. They all arrive on the fraudulent resort island expecting to receive a free meal although some of them end up being a free meal.
But, thankfully, I was wrong. It was basically just a time-filler. Another more crude effect used by Gordon was one he borrowed from his previous film , where he would place live insects in a miniature set lined with still photographs of the location and let them crawl around. Let's just buy all that for the moment. The film's third act also boasts a surprise twist that is so hilarious that it makes the film worth watching for b-movie fanatics all on its own. Later that same morning, the radioactive barrels washed up on the shore of the fraudulent resort island and began to leak silver radioactive paint.
Oddly enough, Empire had a minor hole in the plot that now calls for some gentle probing. Wells film cycle, which include 1976 and 1977. If only Joan Collins could have exhibited the same good sense. The remaining humans soon discover that the gi ant ants are herding them into a certain direction, so, the humans just kind of go with the flow and head straight for the danger. Gr anted, it took me five years to get my four degree because I got poofed once or twice along the way, but I still have a fair idea of how long it takes to set up and run a business. It is the third and last film released in 's H. The dialogue is corny, the plotting is daft and the special effects are as antiquated as they are unconvincing.