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ENLARGING BERT I. GORDON'S CULT CLASSIC 'EMPIRE OF THE ANTS'

Title: EMPIRE OF THE ANTS Year: 1977 Rating: ****

Cult director Bert I. Young peaked during the 1970's, bringing his previous two decades of signature normal creatures superimposed to look gigantic around their hunted prey humans, with both rats and ants... the first being FOOD OF THE GODS and the second, and best, is EMPIRE OF THE ANTS...

Although infamously campy, there's a good cast playing eclectic characters and a good reason for them to be gathered together... in this case on an island where real estate con-artist Joan Collins is trying to sell bogus dream property...

Robert Pine and Pamela Susan Shoop in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS

Which takes up the first act, before the titular ANTS show up, the tourists ranging from womanizing Robert Pine, his put-upon wife having to compete with single pretty scream-queen Pamela Susan Shoop countered by older independent retired woman Jacqueline Ellis crushing on manly Robert Lansing, the boat captain who gets them across...

Once the dangerous action takes place, Lansing... a science-fiction staple for decades including 4D MAN... is a solid leader for both the characters and audience, seeming in a more legit movie altogether...

Robert Lansing and John David Carson in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS

Meanwhile the buried lead is John David Carson as a young divorced flake turned reluctant hero, and a few old-timers provide director Gordon the inevitable body count deaths as the ants... either the genuine enlarged ones from further away or the plastic prop-heads close up... provide a suspenseful threat...

Then something happens in the final act as EMPIRE turns into a small-town-with-a-weird-secret rural thriller, which would make any other fitfully entertaining sci-fi/horror lose ground... but what's left of the characters... that carried us through the first two acts... are still interesting enough to root for, providing Bert I. Gordon both his most conventional and bizarre motion picture.

Bert I. Gordon's EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Bert I. Gordon's EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Robert Lansing, Jacqueline Ellis and Joan Collins in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Robert Pine and Pamela Susan Shoop in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Albert Salmi in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Bert I. Gordon's EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Bert I. Gordon's EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Joan Collins in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Jacqueline Ellis and Robert Ellis in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
John David Carson and Edward Power in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Pamela Susan Shoop and Brooke Palance in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
John David Carson and Pamela Susan Shoop in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
John David Carson and Pamela Susan Shoop in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Bert I. Gordon's EMPIRE OF THE ANTS

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