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"Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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"Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Old 09-25-23, 12:02 AM
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"Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge



Empire of the Ants (1977)




Selected by Darth Maher


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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2023 DISCUSSION | 2023 LISTS
Old 10-23-23, 10:39 PM
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Re: "Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I haven't seen this movie since I was a kid. It was a staple on Saturday afternoons or midnight movies on the independent channel in the area growing up.

I am a sucker for a 70's disaster flick, and this feels exactly like one. All the standard tropes, characters and set-ups of those are here. It plays pretty much the same as The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Poseidon Adventure, etc. right from the beginning but with one twist...GIANT ANTS! Awesome sauce!

This flick wastes no time and gets right down to the action pretty quickly. No major scientific explanation or hullabaloo...just show us a tank of radioactive waste with the ants near it and Bam! Instant GIANT ANTS!

Who know the sweet Sgt. from CHiPs would be so rapey? Who knew that Pamela Shoop could wear a bra and still look braless the entire time? Who thought Joan Collins was too good for movies like this? Who knew that ants scream like a woman in the shrillest voice ever? Who knew that GIANT ANTS deserved their own version of the Jaws theme? Who knew GIANT ANTS would set up a way to create their very own "pod people" from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers?

And finally, who knew that real ants would be so hard to wrangle for any shot whatsoever and they look like they are just confused and wanting to just wander to random places and be left alone? Finally, the one movie where CGI would be better than practical or real effects for once!

I had a blast with this one and loved every minute of it. From the hammy acting by everyone spouting awful lines to the flailing around while holding a fake GIANT ANT's head. The dialogue, the effects, the music, the generic cookie cutter characters, the EVERYTHING. Just so much fun and I had totally forgotten about this movie. Really enjoyed revisiting it!

My rating: **** out of *****

It was weird because I had a similar experience earlier this month with another movie starring our handsome leading man John David Carson. It was the Bigfoot movie, Creature From Black Lake (1976), and it was another Saturday afternoon movie that I watched a dozen times as a kid and hadn't seen it since back then. It's a shame he didn't become more a bigger star.
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Old 10-26-23, 01:21 PM
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Re: "Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Dreamland Shores: Toxic ants versus yuppies in a clash for the real estate scam island. The scientific voiceover narration makes ants look so epically terrifying; I'll be staring at the ground for a bit. A few good piano notes go a long way, Jaws style. It takes some time to get going but when the Ants show up they are glorious. Still there are some dull stretches before the great ending. The sugar motivated ants is a bit unintentionally funny, they really got literal there. Never underestimate the power of a conveniently located gas tank. Maybe after the challenge I'll look up more footage on ants, they are hypnotic.

I appreciated a lot of the subtext here about who owns the earth - that giant ants negate capitalism and if not now at some point nature is bound to catch us.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-27-23 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 10-27-23, 10:40 AM
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Re: "Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I had fun with this one too. I usually enjoy the nostalgia of 70's movies and seeing the faces of character actors I'd forgotten ever existed. I didn't recognize anyone in this except Joan Collins but hubs recognized the boat captain from somewhere.

I wanted the rapey guy to get it first, but no.

I like a good, silly creature feature and this one certainly was that. I'm trying to decide if it jumped the shark with the whole queen ant/pheromone thing. But given the absurdity of the movie as a whole, I guess jumping the shark isn't possible. And it did add a whole creepy "town with a secret" vibe. "Giant ants? What giant ants?" says the pheromone-controlled sheriff. Good times.
Old 11-01-23, 10:19 AM
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Re: "Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I watched this last night, had never seen it before, and enjoyed it more than I should have. The opening with the timeshare presentation was kind of boring, and the rapey guy who then gets let off and even joked with by his intended victim is certainly a product of its time. Once the ants show up, it was awesome and hilarious. Everyone making bad decisions, Ant-attacks, rapey guy just standing there while his wife is about to be attacked, somehow ending up at a town on the mainland that is I guess connected to the island? But whatever. I certainly wasn't looking for logic in a film about GIANT ANTS! Fun Fun Fun.
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Old 11-01-23, 12:19 PM
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Re: "Empire of the Ants" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Wow, those arts sure are huge. I wasn't expecting to have as much fun, but I really do love these 'nature going wild due to radioactive waste'. This was a filler movie for me between the main theme movies, but it turned out to be a real gem of a first time view. This had a made-for-TV vibe, but more polished.

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