Friday, 7 January 2011

Why Joan, What Big Ants You Have ...

Empire Of The Ants

Joan Collins is the 'B' movie queen here facing up to a queen ant of gigantic size. She stars as Marilyn Fryser, a real estate seller who relies upon the gullibility of those seeking investment in property and land opportunities. Her devious demure is the perfect precursor to the iconic super bitch role she so ably makes her own, as Alexis Carrington Colby, in TVs Dynasty just a few years later.

Based upon the H.G. Wells story of nature fighting back against mans ignorance of the natural world around him. An unethical crime of toxic waste dumping, and its effect upon the ecology in the Florida Everglades.

Marilyn Fryser charters a small boat captained by Robert Lansing's character, Dan Stokely. An honourable man at the mid point in his life and disillusioned with the hypocrisy and avarice of people like Fryser. The guests and potential purchasing clientele are a small group of people from all backgrounds of life, each with their own reasons for being aboard, and pretty much all of them with no intention of committing to any investment on offer.

On the beach front the food and drink spread and real estate guided tour, laid on for the marks of con woman Marilyn Fryser, soon turns into a tidal wave of panic and pandemonium, as a parasitical player such as Fryser isn't the only predator seeking to feed on such easy prey !.

In typical H.G. Wells fashion nature spews forth monstrous manifestations, this time in the form of gigantically developed ants. In the same vein as The Food Of The Gods (1976) and Night Of The Lepus (1972) the real stars of the show are the antagonists, and in Empire Of The Ants the human protagonists don't have as many legs to stand on !.

This one is as silly as they come but still daftly enjoyable, and viewing here in High Definition compliments of the MGM HD Channel, it looks very crisp and clean for a movie over thirty years old.

With Joan Collins character losing the plot, in more ways than one as a Realtor, it's down to the stoic Robert Lansing and the younger male co-star John David Carson's character Joe Morrison to fend off the attacking giant monstrosities. Most of the support cast become food for these demi gods of the everglades, with the alligators presumably packing their bags and putting on their best crocodile boots to hightail it out of Ant Dodge City sharpish !.

The ant effects are at their worst when clearly just superimposed into proceedings, and at their laughably best when seen up close attacking the poor unfortunates who stumble and fall before them. There are a few moments of old school bright red blood letting but generally its harmless enough PG13 rated stuff.

The second half of the movie takes a bizarre storyline turn for the funnier, as the beach front survivors believe they have reached safety with the residence of a largely populated Florida town, only to discover that they have walked into an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) type scenario where the ants mind control the humans. Herding people and using them as slaves to cultivate and produce a regular harvest of sugar for the ants to feed off of. Given a few years who knows what they may have advanced to, chocolate confectionery and perhaps a chain of coffee houses !?.

It's time to up the anti for Messrs Lansing and Carson to save themselves, emancipate the populace from their enforced slavery and allow Joan Collins to have her curtain call. Can she triumph as the ultimate Queen or does she 'Die Nasty' !?.

Empire Of The Ants never looked as good as it does here in this glorious HD print, so well done to MGM for dusting down and giving it the full treatment.

Check Out The MGM Site For Details & The Movie Trailer

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