8 Reviews (2 New)
A Dark and Scary Place
Psychologist John Holden arrives in England from America, only to be informed that his contact, Professor Harrington has been killed in an accident. As part of his investigation into the occult, Harrington had been about to expose the eminent Doctor Karswell as a Devil-worshipping back magic cultist. Harrington’s daughter, Joanna, is convinced that Karswell had her father killed by summoning a demon. A practical man, Holden is wholly unconvinced. However, he does intend to continue Harrington’s work, and that includes looking into the affairs of Doctor Karswell. Unsurprisingly, he is warned off, but Holden is not easily scared. That is until he is passed a paper depicting runic symbols and told he only has three days to live. As the deadline fast approaches, he is finally forced to concede there are more things in hell and earth... But is there a way out...?
Fully restored, and for the first time on DVD, comes this black and white classic from the 1950’s. Jacques Tourneur’s film must have made quite an impression upon its first release, because it still resonates with intensity today.
The appearance of the demon is almost secondary to everything that comes before and after. Not many movies around this time played the supernatural story for real, with scientists, psychologists, hypnotism, and a strict, learned approach. Consequentially, it works very well as a psychological thriller, throwing ambiguity into the mix, and a sense of impending doom - of time running out.
The villain of the piece, Karswell, is gentlemanly, as most great perpetrators are; he is even seen entertaining local children as a clown of sorts on the grounds of his large estate. The plot motors along, using audience shocking sound and vision tricks of the trade that have become almost commonplace now.
The disc carries the original uncut UK film (95 minutes), and also the cut US version (82 minutes) which debuted under the title Curse of the Demon in 1958 as a double-bill alongside Revenge of Frankenstein. There is also a stills gallery. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the packaging as I only received the disc itself. Only a small percentage of the horror and science fiction output of the 1950s worked; those that did became film classics, and Night of the Demon is most assuredly one of them.
(Review originally written by Ty Power for reviewgraveyard 2010)
An atomic submarine is on its maiden voyage when the crew pick up a large, dark shape closing on them fast. They also detect a strong radiation trace. When they finally surface and limp back to port, it is to discover a substance caught-up in the propellers.
Here, Commander Pete Matthews meets Professor Lesley Joyce, the Head of Marine Biology at the Institute of Oceanography. He feels an immediate attraction. The substance is found to be part of a huge octopus from the depths of Mindanao Deep, awakened and brought to the surface by recent atomic testing. The Navy Admiralty is informed but, initially, they don't take it too seriously. However, the creature attacks another vessel, leaving only a handful of survivors. When one of them tells his story he is carted-off to see the psychiatrist. Consequently, the others deny they saw anything.
Lesley Joyce and her associate Doctor John Carter are due to leave on a research trip, but when news of the attacked vessel reaches them the navy cancels their release. Lesley gets the full story from one of the survivors, and suddenly the search is on for the creature. Officially, the US Navy tells the world that they are carrying out exercises in the Pacific, but when the word gets out they are obliged to tell the truth. Any number of depth charges and aircraft fly-overs fail to locate the beast.
There is an incident at Harper's Cove; they find a car turned over and large circular prints in the sand. Curiously, Commander Matthews decides to go swimming for fish. All of the fish have been scared away from the area by the radioactive field surrounding the creature. The gigantic octopus makes another appearance that night, and they report on its direction. The coastal Pacific waters are mined and the nearby Golden Gate Bridge is closed as San Francisco waits for the imminent arrival of the behemoth.
A special torpedo is adapted to penetrate the monster and fragment, blowing it apart. The Commander and Professor Joyce drive to the bridge. Doctor John Carter is already there. The huge octopus is wrapped around the bridge and pulling it apart. Matthews saves Carter from being killed. The public is instructed to remain in their homes, but there is a certain amount of panic with rubber-neckers. The creature is in the docks area and destroying everything around it. Matthews commissions a submarine, taking Carter with him, but it is necessary to drive the creature back underneath the sea. The army achieves this using flame throwers.
It works . The submarine is able to successfully fire a torpedo into the octopus. However, the octopus grabs the submarine and it is stuck fast. Matthews dons his diving gear and shoots a harpoon at the creature. But he is injured. Carter goes out next and finds a sensitive area which makes the creature release its hold on the submarine. The two divers manage to flee the area as the torpedo is detonated. The creature is no more. But are there more of them out there?
This is one of those films which would be average at best if not for the fantastic stop-motion work of early effects supremo Ray Harryhausen. Quite frankly, the guy was a genius and I can't sing his praises highly enough. The plot itself is a generic one for this period: the military tracking and destroying a monster which has inadvertently been causing damage and loss of life. The budget was pretty low, but a step-up from the penny-pinching of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (which, ironically, was a much better movie).
Ray Harryhausen made some preliminary sketches of what he needed to achieve with his monster scenes, and then went to carefully study the rolling movements of octopuses to ensure that his model was as realistic as it was able to be. There is a long-standing joke among fans who say that the octopus only had five tentacles. This was true, but not through any mistake. Harryhausen had to construct what he could with the restraints of time and money, An octopus would never have all eight tentacles in the air at once, as it would need most of them for balance and movement in the water. As with all myths and legends, this one got further exaggerated to only four tentacles. Harryhausen, even by this time, had such a status that he was left alone by the film executives to weave his magic, sending periodic clips to show where he was at.
There are some nice extra features on this two-disc remastered DVD set: A Commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Visual Effects Artists Randell William Cook, John Brono and Arnold Kunert; David Schecter on the Film Music's Unsung Hero; A Present Day Look at Stop-Motion; A Digital Sneak Peek of It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again! Comic Book; Video Photo Galleries; and Original Ad Artwork.
The best extra feature, however, is Remembering It Came From Beneath the Sea - Tim Burton Sits Down With Ray Harryhausen. Gothic director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Batman, Mars Attacks!, and countless more) made a very good documentary film in 2011 (just two years before his death) called Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan. Here, he talks to the great man primarily about his three films Earth Vs The Flying Saucers (showing some of the models), 20 Million Miles to Earth, and this one - as all three had just been colourised. Burton asks Harryhausen if he agrees with the process, to which the latter replies that they would have been made in colour originally had they possessed a higher budget. I can understand Burton's question though, as I'm of the school that they should remain black and white if they were made that way. An advantage of this set though is that you get the choice of viewing either, and can even flick back and forth mid-movie.
(original review Ty Power 2020)
An old man who lives in a shack in the woods outside of town finds a meteor rock which has just fallen from space. When he prods it with a stick a gelatinous substance engulfs his hand. He runs across the road and is nearly hit by teenager Steve Anderson and his girlfriend Jane. They drive him to the doctor, who later watches helplessly as the substance totally takes over the old man until there is nothing left. His nurse is similarly consumed, forcing the doc to lock himself in an adjoining room.
The teens return from looking for clues at the scene of the meteor and the old man's house, to find the doctor's surgery in darkness. Rushing around the side, Steve sees through the window as the 'Blob' envelops the helpless doctor. When they report the incident, all that the sheriff's office find is a mess in a locked room. With no proof, the teens are accused of a prank. They are sent back to their respective parents until the next day.
Steve and Jane sneak out of their respective houses in the middle of the night (Steve making enough noise to wake the street, and Jane having a loud conversation of the stairs with her young brother). They ask for help from some other teens, but no one will take them seriously.
Steve and Jane find the Blob in a food store and are backed into a storage room. It starts to come under the door before conveniently retreating. Perhaps that's why they call them convenience stores! The teens set off horns and sirens to bring out the town's people. They think the Blob is in the store, but it is in the cinema, and it's grown very big. The people run screaming into the streets from the cinema.
Our heroes are trapped in the dinner, which is completely enveloped by the creature. The police attempt to electrocute the thing with power cables, but it doesn't work and the diner erupts in flames. In the cellar, the survivors realise Co2 extinguishers keep the Blob at bay with the cold. The local school is raided by the police and other teens for the extinguishers, and they manage to freeze the thing as Steve and the others escape the cellar.
It is not dead. No one knows if it can be killed. The inert Blob is dropped in the remote and extreme cold of the Arctic. We are safe... as long as the Arctic remains cold.
The Blob was supposed to be the B-Movie to a B-Movie. In other words, it was released as a double-bill with I Married a Monster from Outer Space, but test screenings proved The Blob to be the more popular of the two films. At this point the outlay for promotion was increased. Over the years it has garnered fond memories and familiarity with fans of films from this period. Every year in July cult film fans flock to Pheonixville in the US for Blobfest, a three-day film festival where they re-enact the scene from the movie when the audience flees in terror from the cinema.
Although Steve McQueen looks like the oldest teenager in history, this movie helped launch his career, and the career of music composer Burt Bacharach. The title song for the film, 'The Blob' was co-written by Bacharach and appears on his album, Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection. Because the teens themselves look like adults, the authority figures of the police, doctor and parents are made to look even older.
The Blob itself is well-realised. The effects are kept to a minimum so that, although there are plenty of moving images of the creature, it is made in the way that you think you see more than you actually do, in terms of people being attacked and engulfed. The film has heart, and shows off its quaintness and quirkiness. A remake in 1988 achieved nothing in capturing these moods. These B-Movies exist in their bubble of the 1950s and 1960s wherein they are king. It is only now with films like Big Ass Spider and It Came from the Desert that young filmmakers are creating their own B-Movies in this style.
In a discussion with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, astrophysicist Neil Degasse Tyson stated that among all Hollywood aliens the Blob was his favourite and most plausible alien character in science fiction.
(original review Ty Power 2020)
A group of scientists embark on a boat trip to the Florida Everglades in an attempt to capture and study the infamous Creature From the Black Lagoon (or Gill Man, as they come to refer to it). However, there is already dissension in the ranks. Doctor Barton (Jeff Morrow), who leads the expedition, wants to practically dissect it for the purposes of medical experimentation and to ascertain how it breathes under water, in order to further space travel. Whereas another doctor is determined it should not be harmed, but only logged as a new species or missing evolutionary link. Further conflict comes in the form of Barton’s mistreatment of his wife, and her flirtatious manner in front of the other men. The Creature is tracked/leads the boat into its own territory where, cornered, it attacks its aggressors. After being stunned by a tranquilliser, it is accidentally engulfed in flame. Back in a lab, they discover that the Creature has lung tissue and that its massive burns have revealed somewhat humanoid characteristics. After it weakly attempts to escape, it is seen as the original monster certain individuals had condemned it as. But events which follow prove that Barton is more of a monster...
This is the third and last of what became the Creature Trilogy. There are elements of this film which I love, and others I have little or no time for. The early underwater scenes featuring the Creature (played by Ricou Browning) are beautiful to behold – particularly now the picture quality has been lovingly restored. The concept for this sequel quickly moves from intelligent prehistoric fish to Frankenstein’s Monster. After the marvelously sculptured mask is abandoned for the moral tale of the misunderstood ‘monster,’ we witness situations which tell the audience that the Creature is essentially sound in its ‘human’ values. The scenes in the pen are quite revealing in this respect. When a mountain lion enters the electrified pen by climbing an extending tree limb and dropping down to attack a sheep, the Creature steps forward to protect it and kills the lion. This gives Barton an idea, so that when he kills one of his wife’s suitors he drags the body into the pen to make it look like the Creature was at fault. As in all these stories, it is the real monster of the piece who gets his final comeuppance.
Unfortunately, the plot line which really ties this film to its 1950s origins is the character of Marcia Barton (Leigh Snowden). She exists only as a possession of her husband, and really shouldn’t be present at all. It was no doubt obligatory to have an attractive female part for the men to gush over, but it is unnecessary here as it means that virtually every scene which doesn’t feature the Creature is taken-up with dreary dialogue surrounding her supposedly inescapable sexuality.
On the whole, though, this is a solid enough film. It ends on an ambiguity. It’s mentioned during the plot that the Creature’s gills have been badly burned, meaning it is obliged to breathe air, rather than oxygen through water. However, the final shot sees the Frankenstein’s monster version of the Creature walking back into the water – the only home it knows. But will the Creature drown, or have its gills repaired themselves? We’ll probably never know.
(Review originally written by Ty Power for reviewgraveyard 2015)
A remote Scottish inn is rudely awakened by the arrival of an escaped prisoner, who killed his wife. Doris at the inn is his ex-lover and protects him by announcing the man as a stranger. Other guests include Miss Preswick, a model hiding from a stalking ex-partner, and a journalist who, with a professor, is on the trail of a meteor which is supposed to have landed nearby. The latter two attempt to leave for a telephone in the next village (the inn's one is currently out of order), but the car refuses to start.
There is a strange loud noise and they all go outside to see what appears to be a flying saucer land (the simple model looks smooth in the first shot and positively shaky in the next; a little bit of editing wouldn't have gone amiss here). The flying saucer is red hot and no one can approach it. Bizarrely, they all go back inside, as if the excitement is over. The on-the-run villain, is recognised by the reporter. He runs away, but Doris hides the man in a storeroom.
A woman dressed in black PVC emerges from the spaceship and kills the inn's handyman with a ray gun. Doris appears to be in a catatonic state of shock. The woman from the craft appears in the doorway of the inn and announces herself as Nyah, from Mars. She removes Doris from her hypnotism, and explains all too freely that this is her first visit to Earth. She was on a course for London, but a collision with a meteorite sent her off-course and to an unscheduled landing in the Highlands of Scotland.
There was a devastating war on Mars between the sexes, culminating in the development of the Perpetual Motion Chain Reaction Beam (eh?). Women became the rulers of Mars, but the men fell into decline - and now Nyah has come to take back some strong men to perpetuate the species. She threatens to prevent objection by freezing movement over a large area, in the same way she had frozen Doris.
Nyah returns to her ship, raising an invisible wall behind her. She then returns, taking the handful of people from the inn to just outside her spacecraft to perform a demonstration of power. It is a robot - and a pretty naff and clunky-looking one at that. It zaps a tree, making it disintegrate, and does the same with a truck. Our villain has climbed out of the storeroom window and is watching from the barn. He just manages to run before the robot disintegrates the barn, too.
Nyah hypnotises him, and uses the opportunity to kidnap a young boy from the inn. The professor is invited to the ship to see wonders and powers beyond the imagination. But all she does is explain how her spaceship works. "We've done enough talking," says the reporter at the inn. Never a truer word spoken! He offers to exchange himself for the little boy. Nyah returns to the ship with the journalist , but when he attempts to control the robot, she threatens to kill them all. She decides to take a guide who can help her when the ship has repaired itself and travels to London. They draw lots to decide who is going. It falls to the reporter, but the prisoner goes instead. The ship takes off but explodes at high altitude. The professor had described the power source and the prisoner had sacrificed his life to save everyone else's, by causing the propulsion system to explode.
This is the one with the dominatrix; it's not just the attire, it's the whole demeanor. Had she placed a foot on a male character's chest, it would have sealed the deal. She portrays a very domineering Martian with very little to back it up. Her ray gun essentially does away with the need for a robot that pretty much achieves the same effect. But who doesn't like a silly robot in these films?
Devil Girl From Mars is a London Films (International) release from British Lion Films. It's clear that there is very little budget at play, as the story is very talky, and everything takes place in the inn (mostly in one room), and a few steps outside - like an Agatha Christie novel wherein the killer is among the potential victims. Rather than creating atmosphere through claustrophobia, however, this simply dulls-down the proceedings to the point of repetition . Nyah arrives at the inn, goes back to her ship, returns to the inn, goes back to her ship, returns to the inn, and goes back to her ship. Did I mention that she returns to the inn? And she does this many more times than I can do it justice here. Presumably, it keeps her fit, though. Each time, she appears dramatically framed in the open French windows, with the weird logic that if it looks good the first time, it will look even better after a dozen times. All that the guests at the inn had to do was lock the French windows and Nyah would have been stymied!
However, you can't apply logic to most 1950s Monster B-Movies. If Nyah had remained in her spacecraft until it had repaired itself, she could have carried on to London and bored them all to death. Instead, rather than taking the two young men at the inn and returning home, she chooses to tell them everything - thereby giving them information enough to defeat her.
Although placed straight, there are a couple of genuinely funny lines: "Come on. While we're still alive we might as well have a cup of tea." And particularly, "Mrs Jamieson, may I introduce our latest guest, Miss Nyah. She comes from Mars." "Och! That'll mean another bed."
(original review Ty Power 2020)
Professor Jarrod is an expert wax sculptor who runs an exhibition of the macabre. His financial partner wants to pull out of the venture, so Jarrod arranges for an interested businessman to buy-in. But his current partner can't wait the required three months for the money, so he sets light to the place for the insurance pay out. Jarrod tries to stop him but, after a fight, finds himself trapped in the building attempting to save his life's work. He is assumed dead; however, Jarrod returns as a crippled, twisted representation of his former self, and kills the arsonist by making it look like suicide. When he kills the man's lady friend, he is seen by her room mate. Later, miraculously looking fine except for being wheelchair-bound and possessing gnarled, useless hands, Jarrod opens a new House of Wax under another name. The Chamber of Horrors depicts lifelike figures of recent violence. The unsuspecting earlier witness is invited to model for a cast, until she notices that a figure looks a little too like her murdered friend...
This is undoubtedly a superb film for it's time (1953), which still stands up well today. The fight sequence between Jarrod and his former partner is a little over-dramatic, but what film wasn't in that era? The performances are solid (Vincent Price was no less than excellent is nearly every part he played), there's no padding, and the plot makes for an enjoyable 84 minutes. There's even an Intermission inserted into the middle of the film, and it's still there now. Originally, House of Wax was screened in 3-D, hence the nonsensical lingering on the man with the bat and attached elasticated ball at the opening of the new museum. As a point of interest, Charles Bronson plays Igor, Jarrod's deaf-mute assistant.
You could pick holes in House of Wax if you really wanted to. There are a few quirky or silly comments, and the epilogue is entirely superfluous to requirements. Also, near the conclusion, all the police rush from the station to the museum, leaving a drunken criminal behind by himself. Nevertheless, this is a great film, and I find a modern remake by a Hollywood incapable these days of inventing a new story to be completely unnecessary.
Extras on this DVD include Round the Clock Premiere, in which black and white footage of personalities of the time visiting the screenings is seen. It's amazing how some so-called starlets react the moment they realise a camera is on them (cue tilting of head and fluttering eyelashes). Also included on this single disc is the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, starring King Kong's Fay Wray, upon which House of Wax is based. It's valid only as an interesting reference; it's a perfectly fine movie, almost scene for scene the same as House, but has not had the picture or sound cleaned-up. At least this 1953 Vincent Price version doesn't have the feel of a Chicago gangster flick.
( Review originally written by Ty Power for reviewgraveyard 2005 )
Doctor Carlo Lombardi, the hypnotist and all-round bad guy in this movie, introduces himself with a voice-over and by staring-out a dog. He has warned that some representation of the occult will happen this night. His parlour trick is to supposedly regress people back to a previous life. He follows strange footprints to a beach house, where he finds two dead bodies. At a carnival, Lombardi keeps a young woman in deep sleep. But she is not a willing subject. He explains, rather arrogantly, that the two men were killed by a creature beyond time, who comes out of the water.
Doctor Erickson is a psychic researcher. He sees Doris as a friend - unlike Doris herself, who has aspirations for them as a couple. But he has a fascination for Lombardi's test subject, Andrea. Meanwhile, Lombardi regresses her, and the She-Creature rises from the sea to kill a carnival stall-holder who knows too much. Bizarrely, he doesn't even attempt to rise from his bed when a nightmare creature crashes through his door and attacks him. The police can't pin a connection on Lombardi, even though they know he's involved.
In front of guests at Doris's house, Lombardi - with Doctor Erickson being invited to prove him a charlatan - hypnotises and regresses his subject, Andrea. In the time of King James Stewart, she speaks as a lady who was called Elizabeth. However, he takes her back further, and a spiritual form which cannot be seen, rises. She has been taken back to the 'beginning' and is barely breathing. The She-Creature, invisible at first, rises from the sea and looms-up behind Doctor Erickson. However, the creature does not attack him, and disappears as Andrea wakes.
Although in thrall of Lombardi, Andrea hates the man and threatens to kill him. The experts are convinced it's nothing but a parlour trick. But Lombardi becomes famous to most, infamous to others. There is another killing at the beach but, again, no one can directly pin it on the hypnotist. Andrea finds the strength to resist Lombardi with the love of Doctor Erickson. By hypnotising the dog, Lombardi plans on having it kill Erickson, but Andrea confronts the dog and seeing something in her manner, the dog backs off.
There is another, final, demonstration. Telling Erickson that Andrea is recovering, he actually sends her deeper into regression. The She-Creature emerges from the sea again and kills the police detective. At the house, it kills Doris's father, but it refuses to kill Doctor Erickson - instead killing Lombardi. Erickson admits to himself for the first time that the creature is Andrea. The She-Creature returns to the sea where it is shot at, even though invisible now. Andrea herself recovers and will forever be free from the menace of the She-Creature. Presumably, now she and Erickson will have time to partake of some rumpy-pumpy.
The She-Creature is one of many excursions by executive producer Samuel Z. Arkoff into the realms of monster b-movies. The script - such as it is - was written by his brother-in-law, Lou Rusoff. The Creature costume (worn by Paul Blaisdell) is not exactly terrifying, but it is further let down by the fact that all of the actual killings take place off-screen. Thus, it is reduced to looming-up behind someone, or waving its 'arms' menacingly. The costume was used again the following year for Voodoo Woman.
Another problem is repeated scenes. Lombardi puts on a show in the same house more than once, the She-Creature emerges from and returns to the sea several times, and Doris half-heartedly attempts to seduce Erickson at every opportunity. Even the plot strand of Doris's father making money out of Lombardi's success can't hide the truth. The DVD film print is quite dark, but maybe this was achieved purposefully to cover the limitations of the Creature. I should also mention Marla English played Andrea, as she's halfway down the main list of credits in the film. For all of you animal lovers out there, the dog King was played by Spike. It's also interesting that Peter Lorre and David Carradine were offered a part in this movie, but turned it down - probably after seeing the script!
(original review Ty Power 2020)
Two policemen in a patrol car find a catatonic little girl walking through the desert. Down the road is a wrecked trailer. The general store is in a similar state. Here they find a dead body and spilt containers of sugar. They split up, and the cop who is left behind is killed by something outside. As an F.B.I. guy turns up to lend a hand, the medical examiner reports that the body was pumped full of formic acid.
Peterson the cop and Graham the F.B.I. man meet Dr Medford at an airfield. Medford is an expert on agriculture. He introduces his beautiful daughter and assistant, Patricia (Pat). One of the atomic explosions nine years before was in the area, and Medford has a theory. He manages to bring the little girl out of her catatonic state by waving a glass of formic acid under her nose. The girl screams "Them!" and attempts to hide.
A visit to the desert reveals several prints. A giant ant appears near Pat and her screams bring the others. They shoot the antennae, which disables its senses, and then manage to kill it. "And there shall be destruction and darkness come up on creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth."
They fly in helicopters over the area and discover the nest. However, Medford stops them from destroying it. They must wait until the hottest part of the next day, when all the ants should be inside to keep cool. They can then flood the nest or 'fire' it to drive them further down inside, and then drop cyanide to kill them. Descending into the nest they find lots of dead giant ants, and a live one which attacks them from another chamber. In the queen's chamber they find two empty eggs. These would have been winged ants... new queens which can hatch thousands of eggs. The priority is to find the queens before they can establish their colonies and lay their eggs. If they don't, mankind will be displaced as the dominant species within a year.
The S.S. Viking sends an S.O.S. that it is being attacked by flying ants, and is purposefully sunk to prevent any eggs hatching. In Los Angeles, a 40 ton sugar load goes missing. At the same time, a man is found with his arm severed and other hideous fatal injuries. His two children are missing. A drunken witness says he saw giant ants near the river, and a search is intensified in sewer drainage system.
Cue convoys of troop-carrying trucks and army jeeps (many of them the same ones!) enforcing a curfew on the streets and guarding storm drains, attentive for activity. The search is on for the two missing children. A jeep driver crawls through the tunnel after hearing noises. Ants are attempting to get to the two boys, and the ceiling is falling in. He flames two ants and attempts to escape with the boys. He pushes them into a crawl tunnel, but is caught and killed himself by a new arrival. The army turns up and kills a number of ants. The objective from Professor Medford is to find the egg chamber and discover if any new queens have hatched. The nest is quickly found with two new queens. They are torched with flame throwers before they can escape and lay new eggs.
Them! is commonly remembered as 'the one with the giant ants' - but it deserves a lot more recognition. It's played straight and with conviction, the only real humour being when the drunk is questioned about seeing a giant ant. Of course, the ants themselves are realised in the best way they can be considering the restriction of the budget. The antennae are floppy and the eyes bulbous. One victim is obliged to literally throw himself into the mandibles of an attacking ant, just to make it look more convincing. Yes, it has its restrictions, but Them! is a well-made movie, which was successful and impactful enough to spawn a multitude of other giant creature features from a host of production companies.
Again, the mutations are the result of atomic testing in the Nevada Desert. Professor Medford speculates on what other monstrosities might have been created by subsequent testing. There are some nice quotes in this film. When a discussion between scientists and the military gets bogged-down in technicalities, we get: "Why don't we all talk English, then we'd have a basis for an understanding." Perhaps the best quote is: "We haven't seen the end of Them. We've only had a close view of the beginning of what could be the end of us."
The DVD extras include some test footage of the ants. Great stuff! The picture is nicely cleaned-up, too. One of the crisper-looking films from the period.
(original review Ty Power 2020)
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