“This is the ant. Treat it with respect, for it may very well be the next dominant life form on our planet.” It seems we’re moving in that direction. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they shop for prime real estate in the Empire of the Ants (1977).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 170 – Empire of the Ants (1977)
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Con artist Marilyn Fryser tries to sell bogus real estate deals in an area overrun by giant ants.IMDb
- Director: Bert I. Gordon
- Writers: Jack Turley (screenplay); Bert I. Gordon (screen story); H. G. Wells (story, 1905)
- Selected cast:
- Joan Collins as Marilyn Fryser
- Robert Lansing as Dan Stokely
- John David Carson as Joe Morrison
- Albert Salmi as Sheriff Art Kincade
- Jacqueline Scott as Margaret Ellis
- Pamela Susan Shoop (as Pamela Shoop) as Coreen Bradford
- Robert Pine as Larry Graham
- Edward Power as Charlie Pearson
- Brooke Palance as Christine Graham
- Tom Fadden (in his last role before his death in 1980) as Sam Russell
- Harry Holcombe as Harry Thompson
- Irene Tedrow as Velma Thompson
Chad chose Empire of the Ants, his second H. G. Wells-related pick in a row after The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) in episode 166 and his second Bert I. Gordon pick after War of the Colossal Beast (1958) on episode 80 of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era. (This is also the second Bert I. Gordon film featured on Decades of Horror 1970s after Food of the Gods (1976) on episode 28.) Chad does recognize his hometown where some of Empire of the Ants is shot, but it is not a terribly good movie, just terrible. To him, it feels like a TV Movie of the Week. The nasty effects and nasty acting, however, are not counterbalanced by how big the ants are.
Robert Lansing is a plus for Jeff in Empire of the Ants but Joan Collins is a minus. Add in the terrible effects and jeff is in agreement with Chad. The movie is just terrible. Even though the movie is bad from its dreadful beginning to its terrible ending, Bill retains an affection for Bert I. Gordon and his work even though it doesn’t work well in Empire of the Ants. Waiting for a bunch of unlikable characters to start dying is a bit of a drag. Doc is on board with the TV-movie-of-the-week feel to Empire of the Ants, adding that it is just bad and boring. To him, it seems workmanlike, but there is no pizazz to hold a viewer’s interest. This one definitely fits into the “not-so-good” classification.
The Grue-Crew also go through some feedback, during which they promised to provide the link to Grue-Believer Scott’s “erratically published” blog, so here it is. Check out his musings at Saturday Mad Theater.
If for any reason imaginable, you’re looking for a way to watch Empire of the Ants, as of this writing, it is streaming from Plex w/ads and as PPV from Apple TV and Amazon.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule, chosen by Doc, will be Chosen Survivors (1974), a film oft mentioned by The Black Saint, starring Jackie Cooper, Bradford Dillman, Richard Jaeckel, Gwenn Mitchell, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Barbara Babcock, Diana Muldaur, and Alex Cord.
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