Thursday, June 3, 2010


Last night I also saw the 1954 movie, "Them!" (not to be confused with 2006's "Them", a French suspense-horror film reviewed below) which answers the question nobody asked--namely, what would we do if nuclear testing created a race of giant ants that attacked us?

Folks, here is why no one asks that question. Nuclear testing is more likely to kill living things than it is to turn them into giant, unstoppable monsters. This is why after Hiroshima was bombed we weren't suddenly overrun by thousands of giant, man-eating Japanese people. (Though that would have really been something). And even if ants were made gigantic, they wouldn't be able to support themselves on their thin legs. And even if physics were defied and the ants could support themselves on their thin legs, they wouldn't suddenly develop a taste for humans.

The film opens in the New Mexico desert, where cops find a trailer that was bashed in and sugar cubes laying around. Since this was 1954, they didn't jump to the logical conclusion that Roseanne Barr needed a sugar fix. (Yes, 1991 called and asked for its joke back). They find a catatonic little girl who survived the attack, and later she screams "Them! Them! Them!" because apparently going "Giant F***ing Ants!" would have upset the censors. Sure enough, they find a scientist who suspects giant ants all along, because he's a nutjob. Fortunately for him, they see some of these big ants so no one tosses him in a rubber room where he can no longer be a threat to himself and others.

You can imagine the rest--they locate the ants' nest in the desert, and dump plenty of cyanide gas in there. But because the movie has only gone for a half hour at this point, you know that that's not the end of it--one of the queens had escaped and made it to Los Angeles, where it was hiding in the sewer system. In real life, this means the end of the ant queen, because it would have been mugged and spray painted by some of the Crips and Bloods that run that joint, or at least it would have been stuck in traffic for quite some time. But now, the military has arrived!

But before they can poison the L.A. sewers, it turns out there are two young boys who somehow got stuck in the sewers with the ants. One military guy makes a valid point:

Insensitive Military Guy: "I say we poison the sewers right now."

Hero Who We're Supposed to Think is Smarter: "But there are two kids down there!"

Insensitive Military Guy: "So you want to risk the lives of thousands of citizens for the sake of two boys who are most likely already dead?"

Hero Who We're Supposed to Think is Smarter: "The kids' mother is right over there. Do you want to be the one to tell her that???"

Insensitive Military Guy (looking at the sorrowful mother): "Ah, hell you're right...."

Uh, WHAT??? Military and government operations are all about probabilities--we take actions all the time that are likely to cause some deaths if it drastically improves the chances of saving more lives in the long run. The Military Guy had made a valid point--two people who are very likely already dead should outweigh the entire city? All because it's too hard to face a grieving mother??? I like Insensitive Brando Guy's answer:

"Okay I'll tell her. Lady, your kids are dead. Here's a phone number of someone to console you. Bring out the poison!"

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