9 Nov 2010

Them! 1954

Them! Was one of the first atomic age films which  success led to many copycats including Tarantula (1955), The Deadly Mantis (1957), The Giant Gila Monster (1959), Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959), the Godzilla franchise, The Attack of 50 ft Alien from Toyland (2010) and many others. “Soon after Them!, giant-everything movies were the rave(Justice, Chris; 2006)

It was interesting to discover that film is full of Biblical allusions and is comparing the dawning Nuclear Age to a Judeo-Christian apocalypse.    The film opens with a still shot of a Joshua tree and a young girl walking alone in the desert. 

Upon finding the ants, Dr. Harold Medford, speaks, “We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true and there shall be destruction and darkness that come of the creation and the beasts shall reign over the Earth.” 

A special note could be made about the use of sound effects. The ants’ eerie calls to each other were scarier than the physical embodiment.  Sounds, not visual images, foreshadow the monster’s arrival, adding further tension to the scene.

Also, the sets and the composition of shots are worth discussing. The crime scene sets would be an example. “Overloaded” with broken furniture, it still kept logics that before it was a tidy place, but someone powerful (or something) just destroyed it. Also most of the time characters are positioned in a way to “fill” three layers of the scene: someone in the foreground, couple just behind them and perhaps just one of the less important player in that scene in the background. Treating actors like another piece of  furniture. But most likely the feeling of depth is emphasized because the film  was ment to be in 3D.

Over all having seen the film a feeling came best described by Classic Horror film reviewer:“ some can deliver loads of fun and warrant critical acclaim. Them! certainly falls into both categories”(Justice, Chris; 2006).


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