blogs tagged "scifi"

Phase IV (1974)

Mon Dec 23 2019 22:52:54 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: film movie scifi ants

The other night I had been in and out of consciousness, fighting some unknown food poisoning or 24-hour-bug, and passing the waking time with some restful movie binging. Since it's the holiday season, I first watched some Die Hard, but later found this interesting/familiar image in the scroll:

phase iv

I remembered having seen this cover many times, and I always found it pretty fascinating, so I decided to click it on. Within the first few minutes, I was sure that I had never seen this thing and that I was definitely in for a trip!

The film is Phase IV (1974).

You can read reviews and much more in-depth history and raving critiques of this film elsewhere...but I thought I'd offer up my quick recommendation.

This film was so much fun! It's a huge sweatbox of long drawn-out high-color macro shots of ants and masterful/powerful/deep synth-and-timpani work. The plot revolves around a couple of scientists trying to learn about newfound ant behaviors (strange collaborations) after a cosmic event. Their research turns them into renegades who must struggle against their unseen funding/organization sources...and the ants themselves. Shit escalates quickly -- there's some secrets, a bunch of retro tech/gear porn, a farm girl, lots of great scifi mumbo/philosophy, a little bit of body horror, and LOTS of great sound/score work.

Put all of this together with some intensely artful and colorfully composed sequences of ants doing evil ant things, and it's a winner in my book. Like so many films of the era, it hasn't aged that well in a few areas and has some rough spots, but if you can look past those things, you might enjoy this thing as much as I did!