Saturday, December 25, 2010

No need to be bugged by 'Empire of the Ants'

Empire of the Ants (1977)
Starring: John David Carson, Joan Collins, Pamela Susan Shoop, and Robert Lansing
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A group of would-be investors and a con artist (Collins) trying to sell worthless swamp land become intended prey for giants ants.

"Empire of the Ants" is perhaps one of the more ridiculous "giant animals on a rampage" movies. If you're a ten-year-old who likes monster movies, you're probably going to find this film exciting and scary. However, if you're any older than that, you're going to be annoyed at the bad creature effects, even worse trick photography, and the stupendous degree to which every cast member over-acts. Either that, or you're going to be so amused at how awful everything about this movie is that you're going to so amused that you'll want to gather some friends together and make the movie the centerpiece of a Bad Movie Night.

The special effects are so sloppily made that it's plain to see that the actors supposedly fighting the giant ants during trick photography sequences are just poking at thin air... and the ants are just being ants. Similarly, there are several scenes of giant ants climbing buildings that are plainly regular-sized ants crawling across photographs of buildings. This is not something little kids are likely to catch, but adults will notice fairly quickly. It's amazing that this film is so ineptly made, given that its director had about half a dozen other creature features focused around giant creatures or people shrunk to tiny sizes where he used tricks similar to the ones he used here. Perhaps there simply wasn't enough time or money to do this right, or maybe he was starting to lose his touch.

The only thing that saves this movie from a Two Rating and being fodder for the Movies You Should (Die Before You) See blog is the fact that it's paced fairly well and the abundance of unintentional hilarity makes it even more watchable if you have a taste for movies so bad they are good.

1 comment:

  1. I fall in the camp that finds this flick deliriously funny. In addition to having some of the most ludicrous giant insect effects ever, it holds the honor of featuring the worst Joan Collins performance ever captured on film -- except perhaps for the one in "The Devil Within Her," which also features the silliest murders ever perpetrated onscreen by a killer baby.