All the films mentioned by name in Kim Newman's definitive encyclopedia of horror films, Nightmare Movies. Well worth a read.…
Adapt or die.
Arizona ants mock the food chain on their way to a desert lab to get two scientists and a woman.
I was pretty curious as to the body of work the cinematographer of Phase IV is known for outside of this project, so I wanted to look him up. To show my level of maturity and let you know that you should take my opinions and observations with a grain of salt, I couldn't do anything but giggle at his name - Dick Bush. Although, wildlife photographer Ken Middleham was responsible for a majority of what we see in the film--the closeup photography of the ants. Normally I love this sort of stuff in nature documentaries, but the main difference here is that it's used in a film without a narrator giving tons of facts about the creatures we're watching.…
The story about an interspecies conflict for global conquest between man and ant is not exactly the sort of stuff I expected from famed film credits designer Saul Bass. A cool crime caper is more what I had in mind when I think of his style, and yet here’s Phase IV coming right out of left field. His only work as a director is a weird sci-fi/horror/war pastiche that deemphasizes the human drama while favoring the insects’ point of view, resulting in a refreshing take on the usual B-movie creature feature trope. Ants take center stage whereas the main actors are no more than tired caricatures. In contrast to the mindless, hulking beasts from the Atomic Age cautionary tale Them!,…
"We had quite a severe ant problem at the vineyard this year. I had Art Garfunkel come by with his compressor, and we created a total vacuum outside the house, and we blew the ants out the front door. But I'm sure you high-tech NASA people could care less about our resort-town ways."
Phase IV answers the ultimate cinematic question, what would happen if you mixed 2001: A Space Odyssey with Them!. This film would be the result. Though it is admittedly nowhere near as good as either of those seminal sci-fi works, it is a surprisingly well made, intelligent killer ant film, something which I don't get to say near often enough.
After a cosmic occurrence which prophets say will be the end of the world, humanity is surprised to find that nothing has changed the next day, at least that they can see. Deep within the acrid desert of the American Southwest an army is being forged. Ants from disparate species are joining forces and constructing massive towers, and soon they…
Not a typical science fiction or ecological thriller, Saul Bass's directorial outing, "Phase IV," is a low-key piece of work that is as remarkable for its style as it is anything else. With its closeup cinematography, lack of dialogue, and focus on the real power of nature, the film is a genre oddity. It may not be for everyone, but it is strangely compelling.
Feeling like a combination nature documentary, experimental science fiction film, and 1970s thriller, "Phase IV" is built around the attempts of two scientists to stave off an invasion from ants. The ants are not imbued with radioactive powers or other genre pretensions, they are simply dangerous in their massive, collective amounts.
The standard genre plotting gives…
I keep typing stuff out, and then deleting it, because it is late, I've watched 8 films in the last 24 hours, and Phase IV has left me kind of flabbergasted. I had no idea that Saul Bass had directed a film, and I never would have thought that he would direct a film like this. Honestly, just seek this film out. I don't care if you absolutely hate the experience of watching this, because you'll at least be able to say that you have seen it, and that will pretty much make you be able to one up anyone who is talking about that weird film they saw the other day, at some dinner party you may happen to be attending. All credit goes to Colin the dude for wrecking my mind with this film.
the lost ending to this is very epic.
my kind of insect-takeover.
Surprisingly unmitigated by a rather coherent and conventional narrative, this deeply 70's sci fi thriller has beautiful photography, bearable acting, and that wonderfully ugly tone of the era.
No time for a review. I need to go put poison on the lawn. I think the ants are planning something...
Well this was stupid. But also kinda brilliant. But mostly stupid.
Well, this is the strangest animal attack/eco horror film I've seen. Its an odd and uninteresting combination of Naked Jungle and the Empire of the Ants. Its weird because its not a horror movie. Its not even really an SF movie, or a drama, or anything.
The opening is a good taste of the rest of the film, with a tad bit of voice over and and then five minutes of ants wandering around in extreme close ups. As 1970s space soundtrack happens.
Its as if Naked Jungle was crossed with Andromeda Strain, with all the fun sucked out. And the whole thing is filmed like the finale of 2001.
If all you want from a film is interesting imagery…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Saul Bass’ background in graphic design comes through on screen with a striking use of straight lines and circles. They’re everywhere – the dome, towers, roads, sun/moon, down to the computer readouts, and rows of dead ants. He illustrates the man versus nature theme really well with the computer towers and the ant towers. The immersive photography within the ant colony is spectacular. But it’s the human direction (or lack of) and flat line readings that drags this down a bit. It is unfortunate the female lead is a burden causing problems and isn’t given much to do until her New Eve role kicks in at the end.
So that's how it ends: we all turn into the ant version of Vincent Adultman.
An odd 70s science fiction film that is the only feature film from designer Saul Bass. Filled with some great insect photography and a minimalist and enigmatic approach to storytelling, it's interesting to watch. Kind of amazing in how the battle takes place between the humans and ants without resorting to major effects. In the end it goes more in the direction of 2001 in a way that many films of that followed Kubrick's tried to go.
A bizarro science fiction film about intelligent ants that begin to wage war against the two scientists sent to study them. It's trippy and visually striking, but at the same time it's also odd and somehow kind of sluggish; you get the sense that maybe everyone was a little bit high when they made it. The footage of the ants is actually pretty remarkable, but there's kind of a lot of it, so you have to ask yourself how much time you want to spend looking at ants.
My favorite bit of dialogue: "I'm going to retaliate with 100% yellow."
I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…
UPDATE 1/27/2016: New removal. This time it's the 1980 mini-series The Martian Chronicles. Don't know why, since I was under…