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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars


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on 24 May 2017
Dear God. Stuck for something to help the Yellowtail go down (although it goes down quite well anyway) we selected 'Empire of the Ants' on Amazon. Two things told us it was not going to be a riveting experience: it was made in 1977 and its big star was Joan Collins. Still, we'd paid the not inconsiderable sum of £3.99 and we were going to stick with it. Apparently a spill of nuclear waste has caused ants to grow to alarming proportions, and they get their mandibles stuck into a group of no-hopers, con-men and assorted make-weights as they tour an isolated island looking to buy real estate. It's pretty poor stuff all round, with many of the actors (including Ms Collins) apparently saying whatever the script says without bothering to understand or mean it.
We turned to each other as the final credits rolled and uttered words that cannot be used on this fine forum. Be warned.
If you want a much, much better giant ant film, the 1950's THEM is the one to beat. I was going to say '...despite the crude effects', but it seems nothing had improved during the 20 years between that film and this one.
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on 13 November 2008
Shady business woman Marilyn Fryser(Joan Collins) is trying to sell dodgy real estate in the Florida Everglades to rich vacationers. She takes some on a boat trip to try to persuade them to part with their cash, but nearby a canister of toxic chemicals is leaking, and eagerly being lapped up by thirsty ants(why dont the blighters die after consuming this???). The insects grow to a huge size and soon everybody is in great danger.
American International Pictures, A.I.P for short made some great horror and Science Fiction films in the 60's and 70's. This is'nt one of them. The special effects are terrible, and its not a question of artistic creativity coming unstuck by lack of budget, as what we have here is real ants projected onto scenes with people in and made to look very large. It doesnt work. The model ants fare little better. Now, I never judge a film by special effects alone(I'm a Doctor Who fan for goodness sake!), but there are great periods of tedium in between the ant attacks, and what should have been an exciting climax becomes a stiltled mess in Gordon's hands. This is supposedly based on a story by H.G Wells! For more Gordon eco-horror with a social conscience try the far more entertaining 'Food Of The Gods'. Of course you'll have to survive the experience of watching this first. Pretty bad. 2 out of 5
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"Empire of the Ants" is yet another unintentionally funny film courtesy of director Bert I. Gordon ("Food of the Gods," "The Amazing Colossal Men," et al). The inspiration is the H.G. Wells futuristic morality tale, but in the end the novel is more of an excuse for the film than anything else. Now our story is set in Florida where Marilyn Fryer (Joan Collins, pre-"Dynasty") is running a real estate scam. The land in question is next to a dumping site for radioactive waste which is mutating the local ant population into giant 1950s horror movie type ants in the style of "Them" (literally; they are still puppets). Once the feeding frenzy begins, Captain Dan Stokely (Robert Lansing) loses his boat and drags Marilyn and some other walking entrees into the swamp and eventually a town where things get somewhat interesting.
The title does make some sense when we learn that the queen ant has actually taken over the town and its (yummy) sugar refinery. Just do not ask me to explain how the ants figure out that it is a factory and not simply a giant sugar stockpile, let alone that they need the humans to work the machines. Okay, I know that the answer is the radioactivity, but the idea it increases both the size of the ants along with their intelligence is just a bit much for me to swallow. Besides, nothing in this film makes me disposed to think kindly on these happenings, even though I remember Lansing fondly from "Twelve O'clock High" and interpret his constant teeth gritting having to do with his situation as an actor and not just as a character. "Empire of the Ants" matches the lame story with equally lame special effects; I reject the idea that relying on bad matte shots of real ants, giant fake puppet ants, and point of view shots representing the multi-faceted eyes of insects are cinematic homages on Gordon's part to the "Beginning of the End," "Them!", and "The Fly," the 1950s Science Fiction films that are most identified with such "special effects." After all, we are talking about as director whose is known as "BIG" for reasons that are ironic rather than affectionate.
In the end, "Empire of the Ants" is a film where you might as well root on the mutant monsters because none of the humans are really worth saving. The better parts of the film ("better" being a relative term) are those where the ants are not around (i.e., the part where our plucky group of short-term survivors are fleeing through the swamp). But as soon as the ants pop up the question quickly becomes how much cheese do you want with your popcorn? This is just another embarrassingly bad movie from the Seventies and if it was not raked over the coals on "MST3K" then it should have been. As such, it gets three stars for entertainment value of the double-negative variety.
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on 13 June 2016
classic creature feature, a good way to chill out, good escapism,
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on 27 April 2004
Great transfer from MGM but my copy is not widescreen (while on the backit says so). Classic little 'monster' movie from sci-fi meister Bert I.Gordon. Beautiful Joan Collins is the witty & yes ... bitchy landdeveloper (I'm sure she was having fun while filming this one). Insectextravangza with over the top effects & average acting. Laughabledialogue, but you'll still love it.
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on 3 February 2014
Sleazy scam artist Joan Collins tries to sell phony real estate deals down in the Florida everglades.

What she and her unsuspecting buyers don't know is the area has been taken over by giant ants....

Like the similar movie 'Food Of The Gods', this has that brilliant special effect of having the creatures in question blown up on a huge scale and placing them in the frame with the actors.

The film itself is a load of old cobblers, I never knew Ants sound like electrical lines and scream like women.

The cast are fun though, especially Collins who is trying to be serious in a film which features victims having plastic giant ants thrown on them.

For some reason near the end, the ants have taken a factory over and use flatulence to hypnotise the townsfolk.

Its rubbish but very funny at the same time.

Worth watching it for the man getting angry about false pipes, the elderly couple walking out of a shed covered in ants, and the sheriff putting his hands over his face like Munchs scream.
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on 5 July 2006
This is terrible. Thank goodness the Midnight Movies DVD release had the sense to dress up the cover with shlocky artwork that encourages you to enjoy the cheesier aspects of the film rather than the drama, because as a serious monster movie, it fails pretty solidly. Joan Collins leads the not-so-star cast in a tale of rampaging giant ants, grown huge on eating radioactive waste and overrunning a remote swampland location where Joan is leading a guided tour of prospective real-estate purchasers. The ants have grown to the size of horses and they aren't shy about attacking, so it's a fight for survival as the terrified humans try and escape the ant-filled swamp.

The cast are all pretty forgettable, and even Joan Collins does little with her (admittedly 2-dimensional) part. Playing the part of a haughty, manipulative schemer is one of her proven abilities, and she performs adequately and it is always nice to see her strutting and sniping while she's onscreen. Unfortunately her acting skills fail her when she is called upon to cower in terror in the face of giant ants, but then, none of the cast manage to pull this off realistically with the very poor special effects that have to contend with. And of course its giant ants we have paid to see, so after half an hour of very obvious character setting dialogue and strolling about, we are ready to cheer as we finally see the first giant ants attack....oh dear.

Well, it's not good. The ants are presented on screen in two ways, either in magnified footage of real ants performing on tiny sets, or giant fake prop ants bumping into the live actors for the attack close ups. The shots with real ants are sometimes blended together with shots of the actors which looks really bad on-screen, and you can see the dividing lines between the composite images almost every time. If this had been done flawlessly, the film would have looked great during these sequences because the close up ant footage is quite good, and on certain occasions the joins are not all visible (the old couple who find themselves surrounded when emerging from a small hut is quite a good example), but these good scenes are nearly always spoiled by the actors being required to stand rooted to the spot in case they unwittingly step outside of the patch of screen they are contained in, while the ants similarly rattle around in their portion of the screen, and the two sides never touch each other.

The giant fake ants are another matter entirely. Big cumbersome props of giant ant heads and a couple of the front legs are pushed and poked at the screaming actors who seem to fall to the ground and become magically covered in blood without making even the slightest effort to get out of the way. This is most glaringly apparent in the very first ant-attack, when a man urges his wife to run away, only to remain standing completely still himself, waiting to be eaten. Whats worse is that every (and I mean EVERY) scene involving the fake giant ants attacking people is filmed with a wildy flailing camera that is constantly swinging in all direction, obviously done to avoid showing the dummy giant ants too clearly and for too long. It's intensely irritating, but you can't blame the director, as the model ants are pretty bad. They don't resemble the live ants very well, especially as they have big tufts of ginger hair all over them! Oh yes and they also make a very loud chirruping, whirring noise all the time...of course, because real ants are noted for the loud, electronic-sounding noises they make, aren't they? And later on in the film, they also scream, which I thought had to be one of the female cast members when i first heard it, but no, it's the ants, yelling out and generally overacting more than the human cast.

There's plenty more lame plot, effects and twists to come before the end of the film, and all of it done with a really rotten script and some very daft plot devices. Right at the start of the attack, the captain of the small boat that brought the tourists decides to BLOW -UP the vessel - just because a couple of ants have jumped aboard! Surely any rightminded captain would think of a way to get them off and use the boat to escape rather than scupper it immediately. As soon as I saw this happen, my respect for the script went right down the pan, and I realised I might as well steel myself for plenty more lapses in logic to start cropping up - and they did, countless times.

This film is a dud of magnificent proportions, and to think I actually went to the theatre to watch it when it was released in the late 1970's. As a kid, I thought the giant ants were cool, but I must have missed all the awful script inconsistencies and poor acting. Some of the film is bad enough to be genuinely funny, so if you are thinking of watching it, get ready to laugh, because there's nothing remotely scary or dramatic going on here.
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This is a moderately entertaining, low budget film starring a young and lovely Joan Collins. She plays the part of a real estate agent who inveigles people to visit an island by offering them a free cruise. Once there, she tries to get them to buy property on the island, which is to be developed into a luxurious habitat for the well heeled.
Unfortunately for her, it turnes out that the island is populated by giant, carnivorous ants, who display an uncanny intelligence and seem to thwart their human interlopers. Before one knows it, people start disappearing, and those left find themselves on the run. While the special effects are typical of a B movie, the film is better than one would think and deserving of a look, if one is fond of this genre.
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This is a moderately entertaining, low budget film starring a young and lovely Joan Collins. She plays the part of a real estate agent who inveigles people to visit an island by offering them a free cruise. Once there, she tries to get them to buy property on the island, which is to be developed into a luxurious habitat for the well heeled.
Unfortunately for her, it turns out that the island is populated by giant, carnivorous ants, who display an uncanny intelligence and seem to thwart their human interlopers. Before one knows it, people start disappearing, and those left find themselves on the run. While the special effects are typical of a B movie, the film is better than one would think and deserving of a look, if one is fond of this genre.
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on 9 February 2016
typical 1970 pants
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