Friday, July 10, 2009

Them! (1954)



Fear 1/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 1/5
There is nothing like a goofy monster movie to sit back, relax, and just have a good ol' time with. Not much to think about by way of plot construction, no overly stylistic direction or message conveyed, just pure unadulterated silliness abounding in each monster soaked shot framed and each line of dopey dialogue delivered.
Them starts with a duo of police officers who come across a girl that is in a state of complete shock, unable to tell them why she is out wandering around aimlessly in the New Mexico desert. Upon driving back into town, they happen upon a mobile home that has been ripped to shreds. They take an imprint of a large 'foot' that's found nearby. When they get back into town, they learn that the Feds are already hot on the case, having flown in two scientists who specialize in entomology.
Tension begins to mount as one of the scientists (who looks exactly like Sir Richard Attenborough) tries to snap the little girl out of her vegetative state. As he does so, she starts screaming 'Them! Them! Them!' repeatedly and goes into a mad frenzy. As they travel out to the middle of the desert, they find a large hole in the ground (I thought ants lived in large mounds?) and we catch a glimpse of our creepy crawly antagonists. No real insects or reptiles superimposed against city scapes (ala The Giant Gila Monster). No, what we have here folks are good ol' fashion, life-like, 'full-scale' ant models. They take out the colony only to find that the queen has escaped. When they get back to the police station, they come back to reports of strange 'flying saucers' and head out west to track down the queen.
One of the best Cold War era mutant monster movies, this film will keep you entertained with its surprisingly good tension builds but more importantly, with its hilarious (unintentional?) dialogue. After one of the scientists assures the police officers that the original hive has been more than saturated with enough cyanide, an officer remarks: 'If I can still raise an arm once I get out of this place, I'm gonna show you just how saturated I can get!' Nyuck nyuck.
A perfect popcorn flick for any night, Them is thoroughly entertaining and one of the most perfect monster films ever made. Good times indeed.
Cortez the Killer

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