Thursday, April 26, 2012


Also known by the boring title of "It Happened At Lakewood Manor." Which could make it a horror picture or a coming of age comedy. Probably one involving pie somewhere. No, though, this is about ants. Hundreds of thousands of squirming black ants.

As soon as you hear the music you can guess this was made in the seventies and by Alan Landsburg, the same fella who made "Believe it or not." Shame he couldn't get Leonard Nimoy to hang around the set here, that would have been fun. But we do get Myrna Loy, Brian Dennehy, and Suzanne Somers, so there's some entertainment value to be had there.

The plot is basic one part "Jaws" and one part every disaster movie ever made. Our huge cast of characters are centered around Lakewood Manor which is a lovely old hotel by the lake. Myrna Loy is the owner now in a wheelchair. Her daughter wants her to sell to feckless developer who secretly wants to tear the whole thing down and build up a casino. Meanwhile Robert Foxworth is running a construction site near by. For some reason they got a freaking big hole with a broken pipe that connects to the hotel. Its from here that the ants are coming from.

The deal is that the ants have been infected with POLLUTION (DA DA DAAAAAAA!) and so they are super toxic ants. One bite won't do a thing but a hundred bites will kill. Soon construction workers are falling down left and right and so are hotel workers and vacationers. The board of health shows up. One seems to know Foxworth and warns him against his self destructive streak. The other is a weaselly dick and is just a general jerk. Our "hero" figures out it is the ants.

I say "hero" because the next bit is just amazing. No one believes Foxworth that the ants are killing people. So he jumps into a bulldozer and then proceeds to DIG UP THE ENTIRE ANT NEST. Wonderful work guy. The enraged ants for some reason don't attack him but go over and take over the hotel. So basically he's directly to blame for at least three deaths. By the way Robert Foxworth also played the the jerk off "Hero" in "Prophecy" so it can be said he had a minor market in playing jerk off, self righteous, leading men with a caveman perm and beard. If you never seen him at the time he looked like a cross between ...
...and the EPA putz from Ghostbusters..

So the rest of the film has the decreasing cast trying not to be ant food. Some of the events are actually pretty funny. At one point there is a hoard of looky loos watching the drama, but the first rescue helicopter blows dust and ants all over them. Bravo! It all ends with the surviving cast trying to stay as still as possible as the ants swarm over them. Certainly a lot of last minute creepy crawliness! Overall a great big slab of fun cheese.

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