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Films: P is for...

Phase IV

‘What *are* ants?’ King of the ant attack movies (until, of course, we get Ant Attack: the Movie, filmed entirely in one single take from a helicopter constantly hovering at 45 degrees to the gound) this is what you get when Saul ‘Halibut or sea’ Bass, the bloke who did many a head in with his op-art title sequences, gets a whole film to himself. It’s great, with a really off-key ’70s queasiness enhanced by loads of Horizon-style close-up photgraphy of ants demolishing giant spiders and building enormous skyscrapers with the powdery remnants, after some kind of poorly-explained cosmic alignment turns them super smart. Amidst all this trickery, human questers Nigel ‘News-Benders’ Davenport and Lynne ‘Mrs Peter Sellers Phase IV’ Frederick do what they can to look concerned at the latest developments, before things go a tad abstract in the inevitably self-indulgent finale. A throbbing, gristly electronic score from Brian ‘Cherry 2000’ Gascoigne adds to the scarily foreboding atmosphere, similar to that produced by a late night combination of The World About Us and half a pound of Cathedral City.

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  1. THX 1139

    February 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Between this, Empire of the Ants and The Hellstrom Chronicle (a documentary!) among others American films were going “bleee!” at the creepy-crawlies pretty regularly in the 70s. But what most of them didn’t have and Phase IV did have was a psychedelic/cosmic grand finale where we saw our planet ruled by superintelligent ants. Unfortunately that was the bit “the studio” cut out when they sensed box office disaster wasn’t far away. But it is on YouTube in shaky-vision.

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