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Them!
Formicula

USA 1954
produced by
Warner Brothers
directed by Gordon Douglas
starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness, Onslow Stevens, Sean McClory, Chris Drake, Sandy Descher, Mary Alan Hokason, Don Shelton, Fess Parker, Olin Howland
based on a story by George Worthing Yates

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
A little girl is found wandering through the desert, apparently in a trancelike state of shock. When police officers Peterson (James Whitmore) & Blackburn (Chris Drake) find the trailer of her parents nearby, they find it horribly thrashed, & the parents missing. Later, stopping by a local shop, they find it thrashed pretty much the same way, & in the basement its owner, dead. & while gurarding the place, Blackburn is killed, too, & autopsy shows, he was killed by formic acid.

The local police realizes the case is a few numbers too big for them & contact the FBI, but when FBI-agent Robert Graham (James Arness) takes up investigations, all the gathered evidence soon leaves him baffled as well. When he sends his evidence to headquarters, they promise to send help ... & do so in sending 2 insectologists, doctors Medford father (Edmund Gwenn) & daughter (Joan Weldon) - & these 2 soon come up with the wild idea of giant ants having caused all the havoc ... & wouldn't you know it, their suspicions are soon confirmed out in the desert when they, with officer Peterson & agent Graham, are attacked by one such ants, about ten feet long, too. The four of them manage to kill the animal, but unfortunately, ants are in general no loners but live in big ant-nests in large colonies ...

Soon an ant-nest gigantic enough for ten feet ants is found, too, & bombed with an (un-)healthy dose of phosphor & cyanide ... enough to kill all the ants !

The end ?

Of course not, after the ants have been killed, doctor Medfort (the daughter) goes down into the caves with Peterson & Graham - & has to realize 2 queen ants have already hatched & flown away to build colonies of their own.

One of these queens is easily tracked down as she foolishly planned on building a colony on a ship bound for Asia ... & has thus become an easy targe for bomber-jets, with nowhere to go for her or her offspring (ants of course can't live in water).

The second queen though proves to be a tougher cookie, as she has left no easily detectable trail, & it takes some painstaking policework by Peterson & Graham to track her down ... & only thanks to the evidence of Jensen (Olin Howland), a hopeless & half crazy drunk, can she & her new colony be found - in the sewers of Los Angeles no less.

& while the city is promptly put under martial law, Peterson, Graham & the doctors Medford with the help of the army not only manage to destroy all the ants but also to save 2 little boys from them ...

 

Giant creature films were big in the 50's, & more often than not pretty stupid (if highly enjoyable because of it), this though is definitely one of the best ones, since it boasts a good screenplay that avoids most of the obvious clichés & is at the same time intelligent enough to take itself dead serious (what moved other movies into the realms of unintentional hilarity), is told in a very sober yet suspenseful way, & has some creature effects that, while not being great, are convincing enough to sustain the terror they are supposed to cause.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD