2017 Mini Screening #1: Them! (1954) [35 min. Edit]

1954’s “Them!” is a landmark SF/Horror movie directed by workhorse Gordon Douglas (famous for the minor classics “Yellowstone Kelly”, “Rio Conchos”, “Sylvia”, “Stagecoach”, “In Like Flint”, “Lady in Cement”, “Barquero”, “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!”, “Necvada Smith” a. m. o.). It was released at the same time as the first Godzilla film in Japan (which was shown in the U.S. two years later in 1956), triggered by the same fears of nuclear weapons and the possible breakout of another world war. Preceded by the smash hit “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” (1953), the first nuclear monster movie (with special effects by “Gwangi” animator Ray Harryhausen),  “Them!” is the silver screen’s first “giant bugs” film, as well as a smart genre-mix of horror, SF, action, and detective film. It became surprisingly one of the highest grossing films of Warner Bros. Studio that year, and received an Oscar nomination for the Best Special Effects. Starring character actors James Whitmore, James Arness (later famous for the TV Western series “Gunsmoke”), Edmund Gwenn (“Miracle on 34th Street”) and singer Joan Weldon who states about this movie: “I didn’t think much of Them! when I read the script. I just knew that [my character] was a scientist, and I was hoping that somewhere along the line there would be some romance or love interest. But Gordon Douglas didn’t want to refer to any kind of romance whatsoever. It was totally devoid of any interplay with anybody. The ants were supposed to be the star.” [Quote from IMDb]

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/

Watch on Vimeo: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3g4v34


26 thoughts on “2017 Mini Screening #1: Them! (1954) [35 min. Edit]

  1. The movie Them! Compare to the movie Cleopatra, is totally opposite, and have big contrast. Why I would say that, because different than the Cleopatra, spending big amount of money on the production, the movie Them! Only had a small budget on the film, but they made the money worth, and win the award. The movie is basically about the giant ants’ attacks and kills people. They are the result from the nuclear radiation of WW II.
    Although the props and special effects of the film are very simple, and looks really fake compare the films in nowadays, the film did everything possible to elaborate on the scientific knowledge involved, making the whole piece of authenticity strengthened. 
    This rigorous approach not only made the film look still thrilling after half a century, but also affected many of the monster science fiction films that followed.
    The film is probability the earliest monster or horror movie, which is made in low budget, but very effective. The director is good at shooting the scene in different perspective. That’s why the movie’s effect is good. Fake but still attractive at the same time. Plus, it is the one of the first movie that has the huge monster disaster story, it is a new field for people, so people feel excited about this kind of movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All very good points. One more to add and combines with the perspective shots that add feeling to the scenes. It goes further into playing on the fears of people. While this was talked about in class, fear is powerful and using it to get an emotional reaction is solidified in the modern movie, I think Them helped create this technique.


    2. I agreed with your opinion. Even though the film was made by low budget, the quality of the film was good. I think this proves that if they spend a lot of money to productions, it does not mean that they are able to produce a good film.


    3. You made a really strong point that had never occurred to me. This is both a monster and a disaster movie. By choosing to make the ants a swarm of ants rather than one giant monster which seemed to be the norm among monster movies it became more than a monster movie. The monster became a punishment for what humans did to the world by introducing nuclear weapons. Humans gained the power to destroy the world and these ants represented the threat of swarming everything rather than just the typical rampaging monster.


  2. Them! was really good, It’s one of those movies I’ve always been aware of but never sat down to watch. When we were guessing what later movie was influenced by Them, Starship Troopers was mentioned, and Alien. I was seeing a lot of influnce on 1990’s Tremors. Not just in the giant monsters coming from underground but the whole desert/dry land kind of environment in the first part of the film. I’m a fan of practical effects, I take some good practical effects over most cgi any day, there are times when it can be good, mainly in cases where its more necessary to use it on something that would otherwise be impossible to capture, but practical effects can often br better, especially when it comes to monsters in films. The ants were pretty cool, maybe nowadays they seem a little animatronic in their movement, but considering the time in which the film was made or even the nature of how insects generally move around, it all works. The acting was decent aside from the kid in the beginning. Overall I enjoyed it.

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    1. I am so glad someone mentioned Tremors! That movie was what got me into B movies in the first place. Growing up in the 90s meant that Tremors was on almost every week on the SciFi channel and my perspective was that it was the Sharknado of my time.

      You also mentioned that they looked animatronic. This reminded me of another monster movie that I grew up with. Jurassic Park was mostly animatronics and to this day it holds up and actually looks better and more realistic to the recent Jurassic World movie.


  3. I had never seen “Them!” before but I have seen some old SciFi/horror films that revolved around giant mutant creatures. I was surprised that this film was pretty well done and had a famous cast and was nominated for an Academy Award. I always thought all of these films were cheap, intentionally ridiculous B movies. Maybe I just thought that because the special effects are bound to look a little ridiculous now. I guess I knew that “King Kong” was highly regarded for it’s time but it was a much earlier film (1933). I thought the best part of this film was the beginning when there was some suspense about what exactly was killing people. Once the ants were revealed, they weren’t realistic enough to be scary. I think the film would still be enjoyable for kids though because they wouldn’t be as critical of the effects and they wouldn’t necessary know that this type of film has now been made a hundred times. Maybe it wouldn’t be as enjoyable as watching cowboys battle dinosaurs but not bad. It would also be more appropriate for kids than a lot of SciFi/horror films made recently because it doesn’t show anyone’s head being ripped off or anything like that.

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    1. A lot of them are not intentionally made that bad, but budgets cause them to be bad. To compare “good” vs “bad” hiding the monster movies. Jaws was effective because the shark kept breaking down and forced them to minimize its time and made it more effective. The Evil Dead was so low budget that once they knew it wasn’t going to be scary they played up the comedy to make a dark comedy. I think Alien was one of the first to intentionally hide the monster not for budget, but an actual understanding of what makes it more effective. The bad ones, are ones that cannot complete their vision, but still go forward as if it will be what they originally envision. The lack of embracing the nature of the movie with the budget makes the very bad ones.


  4. I have had seen the clips of this film prior to the screening on certain documentaries and Youtube videos.
    Considering the fact that this film was released over 60 years ago, I was quite impressed by the use of special effects.
    The theme of insects/animals being mutated by the radiation from the atomic bomb reminded me of the Godzilla franchise (which possibly was influeced by this film).
    The final showdown where the military raids the ants’ nest also reminded me of the Alien franchise, especially when they were looking for the queen ant to kill it to stop it from laying the eggs.
    I agree with SiskelAndEbert about the mystery regarding the monster’s identity in the beginning of the film. I love the suspense in horror / monster films when the monster is not shown to the audience and remain mysterious. While I am not sure if Them! was the first to execute this, I see this being done in many monster films today. One of the films that executed this amazingly (in my opinion) is Cloverfield. Being what is now categorized as a “found-footage” film, the film builds great mystique of the identity and the appearance of the monster. (They barely show the full shot of the monster throughout the entire film)
    Though I did not watch Them! in full length, I enjoyed the 35 minute edit version of it. I also appreciate how much it has paved the way for the genre of monster films.


  5. Them! was a really neat film to see a peek of, and I hope to finish it in the future, although I haven’t gotten around to it yet. As one of the first widely successful B-movies, and an early monster movie, I think Them! is a cool look into the development of films off the main stream, as well as bringing new things into the spotlight. The ants were cool, and I like the trend of giant monsters, as well as the interesting look into Cold War anxieties of the time. The fifties were truly a time of scientific potential, and that meant there were a lot of questions being asked that we didn’t have the answer to—especially questions about the effect of nuclear technology on the world and its inhabitants. It had its quirks and problems, but all in all it seems like a movie that has held up through the passage of time and remains enjoyable to watch.


    1. As a follow-up to my last post on Them!
      I think after hearing the rest of the semester how much Them! changed the film world I gained a whole new appreciation for it. I liked it already, I thought it was solidly made and produced, and the acting was pretty good and the story was pretty genki, so it was already kind of solid, but mostly I guess I’m into it because it did all those things and made it possible for b movies, low production value, monster films, and stuff like that to take the main stage. It proved that historical spectacle movies (which I talk about in another blog post but are just kind of disappointing) weren’t the only way to go, and that actually people’s tastes were changing, and it wasn’t enough anymore to just flex what a big budget and special effects prowess a particular studio or movie had. And it kind of forced a lot of ingenuity and creativity, to have a smaller budget and a smaller ability to handwave special effects. You had to work with what you had and that can lead to some really interesting new solutions. Like in words with friends when you only have letters like v and t and z and all the middle tiles are taken up but you end up learning a really cool new word and scoring a lot of points on your friend. It’s challenges like a small budget and lack of complicated special effects that drive the industry forward, in terms of technology/production, quality of the story, directing, and cinematography. Like in the movie Valley of Gwangi, the dinosaur Western. Obviously they didn’t have the technology or money to make a big animatronic dinosaur, but what they did have was enough creativity and hard work to make a really freakin’ neat dinosaur fight scene which is legendary in the animation industry and drove forward animation in leaps and bounds. Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIDJ-Y-_Dxs Or Gwangi vs the elephant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A6tNff9y98 So I feel like Them! opened the door to stuff like this, and it has a certain spirit I really like.
      Plus, it introduced the idea of films as social commentary to the mainstream. It’s interesting how the monsters and tensions within movies and fictional media sort of channel or express the anxieties of a particular generation or time period. Sort of like a representation of the zeitgeist of the time. Science was producing stuff so fast no one knew exactly what they would do or what effect stuff like nuclear weapons and radiation would have on our world, so suddenly mutant monster movies became popular; or, we were in the midst of a cold war with the Soviets, who were from extremely far away and supposed to be completely different as people and with no real concept of what this mysterious threat actually looked like—so, naturally, alien movies became popular. I think that’s really cool because it allows us to go back later and understand what our mindset was as a country and a culture at a given time. Like, this stuff probably gets used in sources for sociology papers. Maybe in [a hundred or two hundred or three hundred years](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABhRl6rgmLU) anthropologists (or even aliens!) will look back on our movies and it will help them understand who we used to be. A bunch of two legged humans afraid of ants.


  6. I have never seen this film before, but I really like the concept of story. I like how they built a suspense from the beginning where they are trying to figure out the cause of the Giant Ant attacks with some clues like the leftover sugar droppings. I also like how they added the ant’s cries especially from the beginning where I thought it would be like a fictional creature and ended up showing a giant ant. They did not reveal the creature until the sheriff was involve in the action along with the main characters in the desert. It somehow reminded me the Ant from the film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989) and I was amazed to see the tiny details like the eyes and hairy legs of the ants that made them look real. As well as the setting for the ant hive where the three people discover the hideout and destroy it with flamethrowers to prevent more breeding of giant ants. With the story plot of discovering the giant ants and to destroy the queen to end the madness might sound like a typical sci-fi film these days, but I could imagine people back then really amazed after watching the film. I think with those facts itself that made the film even better to enjoy watching.

    I also like how in the end that they left everyone in the audience to think, if those ants were affected with the nuclear exposure, what else would be? That leaves the audience left wondering around and thinking of possible predictions to themselves. I also thought that with that quote itself, it lead to other giant-creature films to rise like Tarantula, Godzilla, King Kong etc. as it somehow felt like it was the beginning of a new film genre and more similar giant-creature films show up in theatres. Overall, I really like this mini-screening and it was a good introduction for our class discussion for Monster Movies.


  7. Them! was very good, and I enjoyed watching it very much. As watching this film, I remembered Gojira. I have known that USA film used figures for creepy giant creatures in science horror films, but I have not known that they also used character’s costumes like the film Them! did. In Japan, using costumes are a typical way to represent creepy giant creatures, and Gojira is a great example of that. For Sentai (squadron) hero TV series in Japan, they have used a lot of creatures’ costumes because it is cheaper than using CG or other special effects and easy to handle. The monster films used creatures’ costumes are called Tokusatsu (special effects) film in Japan. I am not a fan of monster and science horror films, but I like the idea that nuclear tests or hydrogen bomb cause mutation of creatures’ DNA, and I think it is a very understandable reason that giant creature is born.


  8. Big Monsters are awesome. I am not sure what the first monster movie was but this type of story has been around since the very beginning. From the story of Gilgamesh to modern movies like Pacific Rim and the recent remake of King Kong we see an extreme interest in seeing giant monsters fighting. “Them” was no the first nor was it the best monster movie but its time played a major part in it’s success. It played on the atomic fear that the world faced due to the Cold War and the potential all out war between America and the Soviet Union. Japan was especially affected by this type of story due to their country being the only victim of atomic weaponry. In Japan, monster movies are so iconic that it has become a stereotype of Japanese people and culture. Many of these monsters are similar to “Them” because nuclear fallout being the source of the monsters power. These movies became more than just giant monsters fighting armies and other monsters, they became political satires that reflected the feelings of the people.

    “Them” has also helped to popularize a type of film that is both absolutely terrible and also extremely entertaining. Although there are a handful of highly successful and well made movies it is the terrible movies that I want to focus on. I am one of the weirdos that we talked about in class that loves watching terrible movies, especially the Mega Shark series. The most popular version of these films is the Sharknado series but as we saw in class there are an insane number of films which included all the crap that Ed Wood made. I believe there is a film company called The Asylum that makes films with the purpose of making god awful films targeted at the audience that’s willing to watch it. Some aspects that I love about these movies include cringe and awkward dialogue, monsters and characters doing stuff that are too stupid for Hollywood movies to attempt, seeing actors you never see anymore.


  9. This is the first time for me to see this kind of a movie. I thought it would be boring, because the giant bugs look cheap. Contrary to expectation, this movie was fun to watch. In the beginning of this movie, it was scary because it did not show the appearance of the creature, so it was good to puff up the creature image. After people knew about the creature, I felt this horror movie changed from only a horror movie, but also to a comedy. My fear was gone when people used weapons to kill the creature. Even though some of people were killed by the creature, some people used multiple weapons such as flamethrower and it seemed kind of overkill. I usually do not watch horror movie so much, so I thought horror movies contains panic scenes and people should be killed by somethings with unreasonable and one-sided action. This movie is a horror movie, but the people defeated the creatures by using weapons, so for me, it was easier to have a fun feeling while I watched this movie. I think Japanese horror movies have a bad aftertastes, but American horror movies have more happy ending.
    I think monsters’ needs are changing. In the movie Edwood, it mentioned Dracula and Frankenstein were popular monsters at the old time. After the audiences were satisfied with those monsters, I think not human based monsters became popular like the movie Them!,. Recently, I think human based monsters become popular again. I am not sure but maybe this is one kind of genre cycles.


  10. These kinds of films always bring me back to my childhood. I will always remember my mother taking me to Warehouse video and seeing if the copy of ‘Tremors’ in the blue VHS box was available. We rented that film so many times that the cashier one day told us that we could keep it, free of charge. A young Kevin Bacon battling huge man eating worms in the Nevada desert – nothing else came close to being so cool in my young age.

    I think the genre of these films came out of the postwar nuclear age. The Cold War had a huge impact on filmmaking, especially in Hollywood, with the red scare and McCarthyism running crazy in the 1950s. This fear of communism and nuclear war with the Soviet Union birthed an entire era of apocalyptic films with silly and stupid giant monsters attacking cities and a band of morons or the military fighting them off to save the free world.

    While films like Them! had terrible special effects and are laughable to audiences these days, back in their own times they were scary and mirrored the paranoia that had gripped the Western world in the heyday of the Cold War. I think inclusion of scientific rhetoric into the films, even though they made no sense to the audience, gave similar films in the genre a sense of realism.

    Yet, I think the filmmakers were either themselves paranoid with the threat of nuclear war, or conscious of the fact that they were taking advantage of audiences that were, or both.

    The special effects were also laughable, but at that time were believable. In addition, the camera shooting and sound effects were completely new to an audience that was coming out of the Second World War and developing a sense of normalcy after wartime. However, as previously discussed, the Cold War loomed over audiences like a monster waiting to strike. This made moviegoers all the more willing to see a scary monster film that would have a good ending (in most cases) of good winning over evil (meaning the US emerging victorious over the Soviets).


  11. At 1950’s, I think that is a good S.F. movie during that time because it is a movie makes from a big studio. “Them!” is the name of this movie, but it is no way to understand this movie. When audience hears the name of this movie. And, they might have a question about name. “Them” what’s the meaning by that? What do you guys think about the name of this movie and why the movie director likes this name? There are lot of movie named by single word such as Titanic, Avatar, etc. But those are nouns, it means something and describing something. But “them” need a reference for that word. I know this is a monster movie, so “Them” illustrates all those monsters. As, they don’t have a name for them. This is a movie is made by Warner Bros. They are kind of a big studio and major studio at that time. In the movie we can find a lot of good scenes and some Computer Graphics, I think? I did spending some time to finish this S.F. movie, it is interested and funny film. I am kind of a big fan of S.F. movie, so I do enjoy this movie.
    New Mexico’s testing atomic weapon demonstrates the power of the Country as the movie might sell all over the world. The movie helps to support a country. I believe movie can support and show the power of country in somehow. There are lot of movie in our modern cinema. Most of big movie comes from United States. We can always find High-tech in U.S. movie. I think it can illustrate a country as those things can shows the ability of a country.
    in the story, there is a scene shows an atomic weapon test, and I think it is a good Computing Graphic at that time. It represents the power of the weapon because the light is as shine as a sun light. It makes sense to audience. After the testing, the monsters come into our eyes. Those monsters are big animal, it is not a really monster. It just a big animal. I think the movie title are not really suitable as the name should be something about big animal. So, in general, the monster is OK; I mean the effect and overall designing. I’m not finish yet…. I will talk more tonight or soon.


  12. Them! 1954.

    In particular, the film, when the Los Angeles government through radio and television, announced to the public giant ant invasion, the implementation of the control. There is no destruction of the chaotic scene (in fact, the whole film almost no! How amazing it!), But as peace and happiness as usual, in this calm under the already hidden crisis … And this is also the monster movie special. From the perspective of special effects now, although “Them!” nominated the best Oscar effect in 1955, it is already a piece of cake for us, who are now accustomed to eating big fish. If you write aside the special effects of leaving the name of the history of the green point of view, this 1954 monster movie, the story structure unexpectedly careful and complete. Directed by Gordon Douglas very smooth compact, completely unobtrusive, not too many effects show off, the story has been to maintain suspense, the picture is also very simple and powerful
    In addition to this movie people want to see the suspense plot, the story to the characteristics of the ant and plot development is good. Ants become late-night killers, because they are afraid of heat, and do not come out during the day activities; web of underground homes, naturally becomes some venues; when the queens drift to the city, the drainage system to become their nest, the civilized achievements that he has set up above make the curtailment a dilemma. In the movie, we cannot see the ants to the destruction of human civilization, a single giant ant cannot resist the unity of mankind culling, it is horrible that the number of giant ants and their ability to reproduce, but in this regard, ants And humans are so similar, when they are larger than humans, we become fragile, as the ants experts said: “In the past humans have seen ants, not more than an inch, then how are they However, the youngest of them, there are instinctive gifts of hard-working production and organization of society, compared to their brutal behavior, human weakness.
    In 1954, when the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union came into being, this movie was not only a well-made monster movie, but also shows the human being’s fear of the enormous power of nuclear weapons. I think this fear is still like Deeply invisible monster, hidden in the depths of everyone’s heart.


  13. The short screening that we saw in class was almost not enough for me! It is definitely an interesting movie, almost groundbreaking for its special effects and content. I wanted to see more of it as I love horror and monster movies, and because it was so different from the other films we watched or talked about previously. First or all, I want to say that I absolutely agree with the point made by Tourbillon about the title of the movie. “Them!” does not really explain what the movie is about, but it attracts the interest and curiosity of the audience. I cannot even explain how. Probably, it has to do with the vagueness (As Tourbillon said, who is them?), but also with that exclamation mark. Just that alone communicates certain impressions in combination with the poster: these “them” are dangerous and unidentified. They are definitely a threat! Great title, simple and catchy.
    The movie is one of the best of its period, as Karl said. Everyone was shocked by the fact that a B-movie with such a low budget made such a success. I might be biased when I say this, I was not surprised that this movie was so praised by the audience. This was the era of the big historical movies, which were absolutely gorgeous, but long and heavy. No wonder the public got excited for a good escapist movie, which allow the spectators to relax or to feel certain emotions while watching it. Them! Is unique in its style, or at least was unique. It had the capacity of engaging the audience’s emotions instead of just telling a story that was already known, like Christian epics did. I am not saying that those were bad. In fact, many of them did enjoy quite a success. I just like the engagement of Them! way more.
    Apparently, a lot of people back then shared my opinion, as it became so popular very quickly. It is not hard to image why it was praised so much. It was something still new to the eyes of the spectators, while other genres had produced so many versions of the same story or style. Monster movies were still relatively young. As Karl wrote, only “The Beast from 20,000 Phantoms” preceded Them!. Moreover, as I have already mentioned, the film triggered new feelings and emotions among the spectators. Fear and adrenalin were the new trend. And nothing more than these has the power to intrigue the audience. Another important point that explains its popularity is the underlying topic of the movie: radiation. The fear of atomic bombs and their effects on people, animal, and environment was at its pick at that time. It was such a current topic that everyone wanted to see what it was about. Again, this topic applied to fear and monsters looked very appealing. Furthermore, as Karl said, Them! was targeting a younger audience, that was left out by the big productions. Opening the market to new groups of spectators triggering their interest was definitely a smart move to ensure the popularity of the film. It is curios enough that this was not the plan of the director of the producer, who were still surprised by the success of the movie.
    The plot of the movie is a classic: mysterious deaths, investigations, finding of the monster, fight, and final victory of the good guys. The simple plot was accompanied by a low budget, but, as I said before, the outcome is definitely a positive one. The only one super annoying thing was the noise that those ants were making. So annoying. Even though it was bothersome on one hand, on the other hand it makes the monster even more remarkable. The features of those ants were already incredible, given the time they were designed. I also very much liked the idea that the director took a small, harmless insect like ants, and turned it into the scariest thing. Other monster movies used dinosaurs, reptiles or mythical creatures to impress the audience. Them! used ants. Definitely groundbreaking!


  14. I mentioned Them! In the under Monster movies. Them! Is a good movie but I am not a big fan of hairy bugs movie. At one point, I am freaked out by anything that is hairy and flying which leads me to my hatred towards bug. Nevertheless, the movie Them! surprisingly have a good quality and it’s not surprise that it is well known. The special effect is stunning, and I really loved it. One thing this movie reminded me was that, how they made the ants big and people small is like the Lord of the Rings style. How they made Gandalf looking huge and make the chairs look small and other characters. I research how they made it was entirely on the camera angle and that is very surprising. With the point of view, some parts of the movies, the actors aren’t even facing the other actor’s direction but only to look like it is.

    Anyhow, giant bugs films are often big but again, I am not a big fan. They often have the group of fans who loves this movie and they will follow the director’s movie. Which is a huge boost for them because they can cater the movie for the minority and gain name and some money. I can see why Them! won Best Special Effects, I mean just by looking a few clips, that is more than enough to know how good it is at that time and few directors would have thought of them. It really brings up the name of their movie. Unique if one must say. However, in the movie, the actors aren’t famous and that is one other thing that kept me thinking. With no stars in the movie, it gives you an idea how, depending on the movie style, theme, and genre and the way it makes. You don’t really need big names to be successful. It was also a good idea how they wanted the ants to the star and not the actors because, if you go and watch a giant bugs movie, you would want them to have ore screening compared to the actors. It was a smart move to focus on the monsters. Just like other monster movies, they tend to give teasers at the beginning of the movie and reveal them later however sometimes they give teasers but never to show the monster. Which also remind me of the TV series, Stranger Things. I wont be go into detail but if you do watch they give the same feeling on it.


    1. I would also like to add what, it was pretty interesting how they do not have any romance or whatsoever because with all the other films, there will always be romance included and especially for monster movies. The scientist character wanted the romance and Gordon Douglas doesn’t which I think was a good move because when romance is included, people would focus on the couple instead of the Ants. I can see how he want the Ants to be stars and make a difference in the movie industry. Them! also gives me a similar vibe to other movies, one of the reason is because of the setting. In the desert, it is a common setting to have this type of movies, or even under the sea or out of space. A trivia ive found out from IMBD was that the flamethrowers that was used in the movie was actually loaned by the military which I think is surprising. Adding that the movie is black and white, it is probably one of the few movies that actually got my interest. I would have never guessed that it is from 1950’s era. Being one of the most known sci-fi monster movie, I believe because of this, movie that includes insects or animals to be portrayed as monsters are inspired by this. Just like Jaws and others. Honey I Shrink the Kids could also be influenced by the movie because they have the giant/small people and bugs around them which is very similar to Them!


  15. I had not watched old American monster films before, so it was a good opportunity to watch it during the class, even though it was mini screening. I was surprised that Them! was made in 1954. Since I am used to watch CGI, I was not scary to see the huge aunt, however, it looks real compared to other monster films. After I watched the film, the sound generated by the huge aunts was stuck in my head.
    It is interesting to know that the film was influenced by what people care about at that time. In the beginning of Them! official trailer, the man said “I tell you gentlemen, science is agreed that unless something is done and done quickly. Man as the dominant species of life on earth would be extinct within a year”. This phrase would represent the people’s feelings at that time. It would terrify the audience at that time because they know that the science including nuclear develops very quickly, although they were not able to follow them. Before the development of monster films, people watched films that avoid what happened in the real world. Of course, there were no monsters in the real world; however, some people may want to face the actual problem which frightened them. As professor explained during the class, people were scared of the threat of atomic disaster when Them! released. This is interesting that the film which reflects social problem.
    Although it was low budget films, I was surprised that the quality of the film. I think that the filmmakers work hard not to make audience feel that the movie was made by low budget. Professor also mentioned that during the class, but I also noticed that when the army is on the way to the underground, the number of cars looks a lot because of the shooting technique by filmmakers. Some films which spend a lot of money for production are not able to make good quality of films. I think that the filmmakers of Them! did a great work, and this is why that Them! was able to gained commercial success.
    I think that the development of B Movie would have good influence to movie industry at that time. The hit of Them! was able to prove that if the filmmakers have good production skills, they are able to produce a good movie. Also, since B Movies are made by low budget, they use unknown actors. I was surprised that many actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood were used to play in B Movies.
    Overall, I enjoyed watching Them!. I surprised the quality of the film because the film was not produced by mainstreams and made by low budget.


  16. First impression toward Them! Is very disgusting and annoying. The creature’s visuals and the size are too disgusting that it did not feel like watching horror film and the sound of creatures makes me head ache. Horror movie has both hates and likes which makes the audience addict to it. It has thrilling that makes it continue to watch. However, Them! Is just super super annoying. I really do not understand why the film maker chose the ants’ sound such a creepy tone that harsh on our ears. Them! is the most worst movie I have ever watched in my life. Makes me sick.

    One thing that caught my eyes was the elements in the film. The producer really put effort in the setting, the weapons, and the costumes that the actors were wearing. Also, the quality of creepy ants was pretty high that it was quite impressive in a sense.

    Started off with two police preserved one girl walking alone at desert place. Just watching the intro, the audience would not recognize they are watching a creature movie. After the scientists questioning the girl and headed to the sand place, the scientist observed the footprints. It makes the viewer to think what kind of monster going to come out. The glasses the people wore is it for protecting the eyes from the sand. When the majestic ant showed up, the first thing came up on my mind is that it’s too big and too noisy.

    What was the most shocking is that the number of ants were living in the tunnels. Since it was too many, it made me when is it going to over and which ant is the last one to kill. Moreover, if the director wanted that many ants, he should have created one super strong ant like a boss in an ants’ community. That is why the scene of ants killed at the tunnel felt boring because all ants were same. Bet the director wanted to impressed how huge the creatures are to the audience, but he should have resized because the monsters’ moves were so slow which is another fault of making the film uninteresting.

    The film ended like a very nice story that one man who fought bravely toward giant ants, but due to the noise, the size, and the amount of ants made it in low value. However, it seems have a high value in the society. Also, Them! was supposed to be a 3D movie, but couldn’t completed due to the technology at that time. Therefore, the producers used gigantic prop to give thrilling to the audiences.

    Godzilla 1954 Eng subs Trailer

    Godzilla 1954-2016

    Godzilla is another masterpiece of nuclear monster film. The first series was released on 1954 and it still continues which is over 30 series. The beginning of creating Godzilla was from producer Tomoyuki Tanaka who had a strong desire of producing a special effect film. At that time, bikini atoll and nuclear experiment were social issues in Japan, so that staff got an idea from that issue which produced first series of Godzilla.
    It’s directed by Ishiro Honda, special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura as the performers for Godzilla. The spectators of the film were 9.61 million people. Also, it is the only Japanese character that registered at Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to movie criticism Higuchi Naofumi, he explained that the Honda director wanted to make a Japanese version of King Kong. Since there was no CG at the period, Godzilla is a human wearing Godzilla suit. Thought it does not have a reality like the recent Godzilla, but had an impact at that time.

    The story starts with the freighter ship destroyed near Pacific Ocean and the boat that went to rescue was also drowned. Then at the night of the storms, Godzilla, a giant monster which live under the sea during Jurassic period appears at the ship incident. Since many people had been killed due to the huge storms, the government made a researcher to the island what is exactly happening. When the researcher arrived, he witnessed 50 meter tall (164 ft) Godzilla which began story of the magnificent monster heading to Tokyo.

    In 1956, America made a remake version called “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!” Directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishiro Honda. The co-star is Raymond Burr.
    Godzilla King of the Monsters! Trailer


  17. It was the first time for me to watch old monster movies. Before watching “Them!”, I expected to watch low quality monster film. But, my expectation was completely overturned. I really enjoyed this film and thought that it has good production value. As a fact, this film was made at low budget, yet this film was not bad at all. Personally, the repeated sound effect of ants was a little bit annoying, but I thought that this eerie high-pitched work well for making audiences shiver. Also, I found similarities between Them! and Japanese famous monster film, Godzilla. Those were story plot and blast scenes. I was surprised by the fact that B-movie, Them!’s quality is almost same as Godzilla 1954 that was created by the main studio, TOHO. Even though them! was created about 60 years ago, there were elements that are still used today’s monster films. For example, the ants were mysteriously created from nuclear power. This fear of mysterious creatures is a still common element of modern monster films. Recently, I watched “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Although it was not a film, this SF monster drama’s main story plot is also based on fear of mysterious creatures. From that point, I thought that Them! is not only interesting film but also historically important film because it created the basis of monster films. Even though we did not watch whole parts of this film in the class, I really enjoyed this.


  18. It was I think the oldest scientific fictional monsters movie i’ve ever seen. I’m not a big fan of a monster movie, so the movie “Them” didn’t really interest me and wasn’t a memorable movie to me. However, considering the impact that “Them” had on the history of a film industry in the America, the film is a very remarkable film to remember. Before the Them, the film industry was under the control of Hollywood Studio System and many low budget movies couldn’t be spotlighted. However, because more people started to want to watch more realistic or different styles of movies other than escapist movies, it was a right time for Them to be released. From today’s eye, “Them” isn’t technically a great scientific fiction movie but still matched with the desire and curiosity of what people wanted to see at the time. Furthermore, due to its black-and-white movie, that helps artificial giant ants to look less unrealistic.

    The time when “Them” was released was 1950’s, and it was after WWII where a nuclear bomb was used. After the war, people were afraid that other countries, especially, Russia might use a nuclear bomb to America. To suppress such anxious about an attack, people wanted to see a movie which dealt with a nuclear power. It sounds strange but they felt they watching an unrealistic society more increased their fear than watching facing a realistic society did. So, the theme of “Them!” was perfect. The story is about giant ants which are generated as a cause of nuclear power explosion. The story doesn’t too directly tell about nuclear power and that was just what people wanted to see.


  19. From a personal perspective, I believe the plot began with a captivating story with the New Mexico police department, discovery of the little girl and the trailer in the desert. As the story develops, I can say that being part of the audience; I had created a perspective that the story will entirely focus on the little girl and the New Mexico police department. However, the movie has many twists in the plot, which is one feature that makes a movie outstanding. A continuous film that lacks any twist in its plot is often monotonous and tiring. Theme movie introduces different twists including the General store owner; Johnson is found dead; the little girl found earlier being diagnosed with catatonic, ants being found in the desert and strange sounds within the desert that are causing restlessness among the population. It is therefore evident that the Them movie has numerous twists. However, as much as twists develop the story and add more captivations, it may bring confusion since the introduction of many stories within one movie is bound to bring more confusion rather than making it more exciting, thrilling and captivating. Another notable thing about the Them movie is the editing and cinematography features. The most important aspect that makes a film attractive to the viewers is the editing features. From my perspective, I can say that from the presentations, the movie crew did a fantastic job since the movie had the best sound editing. In support of this fact, the film was even nominated for an Oscar award due to its unique effects and later on won a Golden Reel Award for being one of the movies with the best sound editing features. Besides, since its production, the film has been nominated for two American Film Institute awards, an indication that indeed the cinematography aspects incorporated in the movie, including its sound and editing effects are of high quality. After watching this video, I can support this fact, and I believe the film deserved to be nominated for the awards mentioned above. Besides, as mentioned earlier, the movie is based on science fiction genre and also monster features integrated into the process. Many producers usually produce videos of other types since science fiction ones tend to be more complicated, expensive and require considerable creativity to deliver a fantastic movie. Considering that Them movie has been nominated for various awards is a clear indication that the movie is of great significance in the film industry. The fact that the management team was successful in producing an excellent film that has gained massive recognition from the public since its production is a sign that the people involved in its creation were determined and committed. I therefore give credit to the production management team since despite the many twists that were included in the movie, they managed to make it high quality and attractive in the long run. Besides, considering that the film was science fiction, many producers find it challenging to make such movies interesting. However, in this case, the movie was outstanding, and it is essential to appreciate the fact that the movie was successful despite the many challenges that producers face when shooting a science fiction film. To support this point, the movie was rated as one of the best science fiction films produced in the 1950s. Conclusively, it is factual to say that the Theme film contributed substantially to the film industry. The film was a success since the management team incorporated high-quality features in the sound and picture effects, allowing it to receive massive support from the public. Additionally, considering that the film was science-based, the cinematographic effects played a considerable role in its success. Besides, the movie plot was well scripted given that there were many plot twists included in the film. However, it is vital to note that the film could have been more of high quality if it could have concentrated on one storyline with only one significant twist to avoid confusing the readers with many story developments.


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