“And the beasts shall reign over the earth”

“Unless something is done and done quickly man as the dominant species of life on earth will be extinct within a year.”

A young girl is found wandering in the desert of New Mexico near Alamogordo. She is picked up by state police officers Sgt Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and Trooper Ed Blackburn (Chris Drake). A reconnaissance plane has spotted an RV in the area. The two officers go to its location to see if the little girl belongs to whoever owns it. What they find is devastation.

The officers call for backup to investigate. While that is going on the little girl is sent to the hospital and the two officers head down the road to a near-by general store to see if the guy who runs it, "Gramps" Johnson, has seen or heard anything that could explain the damage. When they get to the general store they find more devastation. Then they find the body of "Gramps" in the root cellar. Ben heads back to town to report in. Blackburn stays behind to secure the scene until help arrives. Blackburn is never seen again.

The FBI sends Special Agent Robert Graham (James Arness) to investigate. A print found near the RV is sent to Washington to see if they can identify what it is. Washington sends two scientists, Dr. Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter Dr. Patricia Medford (Joan Weldon). The Medfords want to see the area where the print came from. Agent Graham and Sgt Peterson take them out to the desert to the site where the RV had been. A small sandstorm begins to brew. Dr. Pat Medford is wandering around the area looking for more prints. She hears an eerie screeching sound. She looks up and sees a nine foot long mutant ant bearing down on her.

“Them” was released in 1954 and was directed by Gordon Douglas. The giant ants are the result of our number 4 way of creating a monster. “A man made disaster such as atomic testing, pollution or other world disruption of the natural order of things that alters the normal structure of a creature creating a monster.” The specific cause for these monstrosities is…ding! ding! ding! Atomic testing! These monsters are not only big, but they breed two new giant queen ants that fly away to create new nests. One nest is hidden in the storm drains of Los Angeles. This is where the biggest war of man over beast is waged.

Not only does this story have good talent it also has a good script and a good storyline so you can forgive the not so good special effects. Even as a kid I noted “those are some funny looking ants”. Even so, I watched from beginning to end over and over. But the scariest part of the movie is not the ants. It is the stridulation sounds the giant ants make. When you hear that sound you know something really bad is about to happen. And you wait… and it does.

Stridulation is the act of producing sounds, usually in insects, by the use of rubbing together certain body parts.