Apparently, even the classiest of DVD runs (viewed over the past two weeks: The Lady Eve (1941), Operation Petticoat (1959), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), After the Thin Man (1936)) can, with the introduction of one silly robot movie (I, Robot (2004)), plummet straight into the very deepest depths of ignominy: Empire of the Ants (1977).
I think it’s fair to say that the experience of watching this film resists representation. All you have to know is that it features Joan Collins and giant, radioactive ants, which are actually normal-sized, (probably) unradioactive ants filmed up close and then badly superimposed on the frame to create the cinematic illusion of giant radioactive antness. Now that’s movie magic!
Plus, what with the bad sound, the ’70s pantsuits, and the negligible acting, it really seemed like it was going to become porn any minute. But instead, some giant, radioactive ants would kill someone.
In the spirit of televised sports’ Sounds of the Game, here are some of the things you would have overheard if you’d been there with us on the couch last night:
“They didn’t do a good job of dumping that radioactive waste.”
“[sigh]. Groups of people should never get on boats.”
“I don’t think they invented knee-in-the-balls until the late seventies.”
“Who’s that guy?” “He’s just here for the porn.”
“These ants aren’t very good actors.”
“Shouldn’t this be called Empire of the Pants?”
“Get more eaten!”
And so on.
Lest you think our evening an entire waste, let me assure you that it inspired one of the Great Ideas of the New Millenium: a spin-off of the classic Tom Collins named—yes, you guessed it—the Joan Collins. We have not yet perfected the formula, but we suspect Tabasco may be involved.