Empire of the Ants - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Empire of the Ants Reviews

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August 28, 2017
I was entertained by this movie, I also enjoyed the earlier ant horror movie called Phase IV
½ May 8, 2017
Over-the-top, goofy little monster movie, but I had a blast with it. Much more than some others of its ilk. I liked the core group of characters, and the effects are surprisingly decent, especially considering its age.
May 5, 2017
this movie is so scary

April 18, 2016
In the ways it works, it works good, but otherwise it's a lacking monster film with bland characters and a loose story-line. The composites are sometimes decent and sometimes bad. The practical effects are pretty cool, and used plentiful for closeups. Nothing remarkable.
Super Reviewer
February 16, 2016
Improves towards the end, but by that point it's too late.
February 13, 2016
Perhaps the worst film I've ever seen. Hard to believe it came out the same year as Star Wars. 0-
June 4, 2015
There's a fun turn of events in the latter half that spices things up but what precedes it is an hour of giant ants (horribly green-screening or shaky-camed prosthetics) screeching and terrorizing bad actors.
½ May 28, 2015
While there is little put into plot and character, the terrible special effects make this almost a "need to be seen for yourself" kind of movies. Superimposed footage of ants fighting the humans can at times be hilarious and you'll likely be scratching your head at how ants can crawl up the sky in the background. The plot gets a bit more interesting towards the end, but in a classic b-movie sort of way. It's so dumb it's actually kind of fun, but I couldn't recommend it.
½ May 18, 2015
Empire of the Ants is one of the more overtly awful killer bug movies that American International Pictures produced during it's "nature fighting back" phas. It's very poorly made, has obvious allusions to Jaws, and a cast of very unlikable characters. This is a really silly one that gets on your nerves a lot of the time because of the sound the creatures, which is a high-pitched screetching that seems interminable. There are some parts of it that make you laugh out loud with its awfulness, but that doesn't make it a must-see, craptastic movie. But, if you do like those kinds of movies, then there isn't any reason why you shouldn't see it.
April 22, 2015
s/b called 'empire of the angst'
½ February 7, 2015
Unintentionally bad, but that's why I loved it. The effects were horrible and I was laughing more than anything through this movie. That it was meant to be taken as a serious horror makes this movie a great comedy!
½ January 30, 2015
Pretty dull. A few chuckles but not enough camp to hold my attention.
November 14, 2014
A very bad movie for numerous reasons that never goes far enough into so-bad-it's-good territory. 23/100
½ August 26, 2014
Watched this cheesy gem last night and loved every minute of it! I had the opportunity to talk to Bert I. Gordon a few years ago. He told a story about Joan Collins refusing to go into the water so he just shoved her in while the camera was rolling!
½ July 3, 2014
Food Of The Gods was a success for AIP and so, Gordon was back the following year with another giant creature feature from yet another H.G. Wells story, this time Empire Of The Ants. And this one works slightly better with it's story of radioactive waste dumped in the ocean and making it's way to the shores of a small island where it is consumed (why?) by the local ant population. Enter Marilyn Fraser (Joan Collins), a greedy real estate developer who takes a boatload of potential scam victims to the island to show then where their future homes aren't really going to be built. Obviously they get stranded on the island with the large and highly intelligent ants who not only have an appetite but, use pheromones as a form of mind control to make humans into slaves. Now it's up to boat captain Dan Stokley (Robert Lansing) to try to get this beleaguered group to safety, battling both the ants and their human drones.
Again flick is directed... but, this time co-written with Jack Turley... by Bert I. Gordon and once again with a somber and serious tone despite the silliness of giant, mind controlling ants. But, this film seems to work a bit better then Food Of The Gods as giant ants are a bit more effective then giant chickens and the cast is a bit more subdued, especially hero Lansing, so, we don't get the glaring contrast of serious tone and over the top acting... though there is still some of that. Once again Gordon gives us cheesy moments of real ants photographed and superimposed to look giant and plastic heads and limbs for close-ups though, ironically, the ants make a shrieking noise like a school girl who has just found an ant crawling on her arm. We also, again get characters making some really stupid decisions like an elderly couple who, while fleeing the ants, see a doorless shack and proclaim "We'll be safe in there!"... and there is some really bad dialog recited with straight faces by the cast. And again, like the previous Wells adaptation, this one just should have had more fun and more energy for a B monster movie. Sure there are some sequences which work and give chills but, Gordon's earlier films were a lot livelier, where these two Wells-based flicks are taken far too seriously considering the subject matter and the SPFX, which were cheesy even in the late 70s. No one is saying to make a joke out of it but, recognize that it is a Saturday Night Sci-Fi flick and have a good time with it, like Gordon did with his films of the previous decades. After doing more seriously toned movies like Picture Mommy Dead and Necromancy, Gordon seems to have lost his sense of fun. Empire and Food lack the charm that made Gordon's earlier films a delight.
The cast are a bit more dialed down then Food Of The Gods' Lupino and Gortner, especially with leads Collins and Lansing. Joan Collins plays the manipulating, bossy bitch she made a career out of and keeps a very straight face despite acting with plastic ants. Lansing plays the soft spoken hero very well and it was refreshing to have an older man as the hero instead of a young jock or soldier. The supporting cast features 70s/80s regulars Pamela Shoop (Halloween II), Robert Pine (CHiPs, father of Chris "Captain Kirk" Pine) and Albert Salmi (Superstition) and there is a some cheesy over-acting here but, it is a movie about giant ants so, we'll cut them some slack even if it butts against Gordon's too serious tone.
Overall, much like Food Of The Gods there is some fun to be had here but, certainly not enough as we'd like or, to make it a real B-Movie treat. Sure there is cheesy FX and dialog to laugh at, as well as, the added nostalgia of the 70s stereotypes that make up the film's characters but, the film forgets to have a little fun and Gordon doesn't give it the charm of his earlier works. An amusing watch that would definitely be helped by a few brews and a visit from the MST3K gang.
½ April 16, 2014
Empire of the Ants (Bert I. Gordon, 1977)

In the late seventies, I was at a friend's house and I caught a few sequences of It Happened at Lakewood Manor on television. I had no idea what it was, and I spent years, decades actually, tracking that movie down. This, of course, brought me into contact with pretty much every ant-related movie that was made in the seventies. Once I found out Empire of the Ants dealt with monster-sized ants, I knew it wasn't the movie I was looking for, but when I found a listing for it in the mid-eighties and saw Joan Collins' name attached, I had to wonder what sorts of shenanigans this movie held in store. Now I have seen it, and I know the answer, and I wish it was 1985 again and I was just stumbling upon this movie and still wondering how ridiculous it could be.

You know that old saw about having prime real estate in Okefenokee Swamp to sell? Well, this is where it came from. Collins (Dynasty) plays Marilyn, a shady real estate agent who's trying to pass off a little island in the middle of a swamp as paradise that's just begging for a resort to be developed on it. She takes down a passel of prospective buyers, and they discover the area infested with ants. Now, that's not usually enough to get people to not buy land, but you see, these ants are about twenty feet long, as tall as elephants, and need a few tourists to help out with their plan for intergalactic domination. Or something.

While you're watching this, if you're an aspiring filmmaker, just keep saying to yourself "someone greenlit this." Of course, in the direct-to-video age, if you end up making Empire of the Cockroaches, it's probably not going to open on a thousand screens...but you never know. Put together a bunch of non-actors, head them up with some fading TV character types, add the cheapest script and special effects money can buy, and, well, you've just created an American International Picture, really. My guess is that if you caught this back in the day, and were very young at the time, it may hold a good deal of nostalgia value, the same way It Happened at Lakewood Manor does with me these days. But for everyone else it can safely be avoided. * 1/2
October 6, 2013
Empire of the Ants (1977)
½ June 30, 2013
Pretty bad, but surprisingly entertaining and fun.
½ March 12, 2013
Unententionally bad, but that's why I loved it. The effects were horrible and I was laughing more than anything through this movie. That it was meant to be taken as a serious horror makes this movie a great comedy!
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