Thursday, June 2, 2016

Empire of the Ants, Joan Collins before Dynasty

Before her iconic role in "Dynasty," Joan Collins graced a Bert I. Gordon epic, 1977's "Empire of the Ants."  Horror film fans will be more impressed that Pamela Susan Shoop also graces this film.  Ms. Shoop's death scene a few years later in "Halloween 2" goes down as one of the most famous demises in slasher film history.  You will recall Ms. Shoop played the naughty nurse who is drowned in a hot tub's scalding water by Michael Myers. A morality scene no doubt. Based on a H.G. Wells story, let us look at "Empire of the Ants."
Marilyn (Collins) lures potential buyers to her new beach resort development.  Most notable of the cast are Coreen (Shoop), a vixen who goes through married men like crap through a goose.  Also, her soon to be prey, Joe (John David Carson). Robert Lansing plays a boat captain who brought the peeps to Marilyn's resort.  Uh oh!  A barrel of radioactive waste washes up on shore and is soon feasted upon by ants.  The waste works fast, as the ants, now six feet long, begin feasting on Marilyn's potential customers.  As some retirees and construction workers fall victim, Marilyn and a handful of survivors run...but to where?  Coreen fends off a rape attempt by a soon to be corpse, and attaches herself to Joe.  Our captain takes the lead and leads our crew to the river.
The river seems to be safe from the water-fearing monsters, but that won't last.  In one heartbreaking scene, Christine (Brooke Palance, daughter of Jack) is dissected by the vermin as her two-timing husband just watches.  But wait! Our captain has led them all to civilization...Fort Pierce, Florida. No spoilers here, but I know you know this is too easy.  Waiting for them in this quaint beach town is something more ominous and horrific than large insects. The captain, Coreen, and Joe will have to brave monsters and the slimy Marilyn if they seek to survive.
I know what you are asking. Is this a better film than the 1950s classic, "Them"?  Well... I'll put it this way..."Them" didn't have Pamela Shoop playing a vulnerable damsel.  Will Coreen's immoral lifestyle spell her doom? Did Joan Collins get her inspiration for her "Dynasty" role (Alexis) by studying the monster-queen ant?  This gem is available free on YouTube.


  1. It wouldn't be a Zisi review without "like crap through a goose" and "Uh oh!" Well done, Chris!

  2. This was pre Predator, but we know where they got the monster ideas from