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Them!!!!


JoeinAR
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How many of you have seen this classic 50's horror/monster of nature film.

It is one of the very best of the genre. Even today this film exudes an atmosphere that can creep you.

Well the reason I brought up this film is the noise the ants made. It was one of the scariest sounds I have ever heard.

Here in Little Rock, we have cicadas, which is a 13 or 17 year locust. This year a group which scientist call batch 23 has hatched and is mating. The sound they make is deafening and very much like the ants in Them.

It is so loud that once daylight arrives you cannot sleep through it. If outside, you cannot carry on a conversation because of the noise. Fortunately at night they shut up, which is good because I think they could cause me to revisit a part of my childhood which scared the crap out of me.

Joe, who hopes you do not mind this off topic intrusion.

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Holly Crap!!!!!

I hate those things!!!!!!!!!! They are huge!!!!! Ugh!

I have no problems with snakes or spiders, I've looked after Big cats and even had a serval living with me for a year. My ex boyfriend had bearded dragons and chameleons which I looked after with him. But cockroaches, cicadas, grasshopers..... I don't know, I have problems with them. They freak me out!

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They're disgusting.

Director - who detests them and freaks out like an assinine idiot whever he sees one. (cockroaches, that is......not that it's very often, but still......)

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Yeah cicada's do sound like the ants from Them! My cousin and I used to grab handfuls of the hulls they shed, when they mature, and throw them at my sister because she hated them. They aren't so bad where I live, because the fire-ants kill many of them in the larva stage.

I don't mind spiders, I used to keep tarantulas. Snakes still don't bother me even though I've been bitten by a rattlesnake. Most insects I can tolerate with the exception of cockroaches, especially what we call water-bugs, earwigs, centipedes and wasps. Those give me the creeps for some reason and I'll kill them on site! Scorpions only bother me when they get indoors.

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I've never seen this movie, but I have seen The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I don't know when it came out, so I don't know if it has anything whatsoever to do with this thread, but I thought I'd point out my liking for that movie. :)

~Harry

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Harry, it is appropriate because of all the 50's horror films the 2 that are generally considered the high point are Them and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

I urge you to see Them. Watch it at night in a dark room with just the tv on. This way you can see the power of suggestion to create terror and fear. Even today both Them and Creature hold up well. The giant ants in Them still look great as does the makeup/costume design for the creature.

And for another option check out the great 50's sci-fi films. Some of the best include This Island Earth, Forbidden Planet, It Came From Another World, and the greatest of all pre Star Wars sci-fi(sorry 2001) The Day the Earth Stood Still.

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I love The Day the Earth Stood Still! That's a great movie!!! I don't like many "old" movies, but those two a certainly on my like list.

~Harry

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Yes, and don't forget Clint Eastwood in "Tarantula."

Get out the flamethrowers, Joe, and call in the military.

Figo, who doubts Spielberg will improve on "War of the Worlds."

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How neglectful of me not to mention War of the Worlds, and When Worlds Collide. OH yeah, Deadly Mantis.

Plus all the great 30's and 40's Universal Horror films, plus any black and white movie, regardless of the genre. Old films come in all qualities but they should be watched anyways. They can teach you an appreciation for films in general.

Harry, the Dursley's really did neglect you didn't they. You haven't seen any of the great old movies and no Star Trek. They should be shot. :evil: :twisted: :)

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Well said Joe, I can (almost) forgive you for not liking football as I love all those classic 50's sci-fi movies and their music.

Them! has a particularly good score by the much under-rated (IMHO) Polish composer Bronislau Kaper. I heard a radio interview with him once (recorded before his death in 1983, obviously) in which he said that he got his inspiration for parts of the score from the sound the giant ants make in the film. That chilling opening title with the two rumbling pianos is way ahead of its time, 25 years before JW tried it in the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back. Then when the 5-note ant theme kicks in I start scratching! Kaper was a wonderful composer (if a little insistent at times) and I feel his hour is yet to come. Perhaps Marco Polo can do an album of his stuff one day? I am also a big fan of his music for Mutiny on the Bounty, The Way West, The Naked Spur and more.

Many of the composers who worked on those films were as talented as the Newmans, Steiners and Waxmans but never got the chance to shine when working for studios with minuscule music budgets. Hans Salter, Herman Stein, Irving Gertz, Heinz Roemheld - all deserve to be as well known as their Universal colleague Henry Mancini would become. Some of the composers at smaller studios such as Albert Glasser, Darrell Calker, Mischa Bakaleinikoff and Mort Glickman are almost completely unknown today when their genre scores are nothing less than classics. I think Herman Stein and Irving Gertz are both still alive, by the way.

Have you heard any of Monstrous Movie Music's superb re-recordings of music from some of the classic sci-fi films of the 1950s? They have done three albums so far and each is enough to make all other soundtrack labels hang their heads in shame. I would recommend them without reservation to anyone on this board who may think decent monster music began and ended with Bernard Herrmann. Check out their website:

www.mmmrecordings.com

Damien - a 1950's sci-fi music geek

:) The Descent/Ant Chamber from Them! (Bronislau Kaper)

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Well the reason I brought up this film is the noise the ants made.  It was one of the scariest sounds I have ever heard.

I believe that Warners achieved this terrifying sound by mixing the trilling made by some types of frog with high-pitched parrot calls.

Damien

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I have "Them" on a video cassette right before "North By Northwest" (great score incidently) - They were on back to back one night on AMC so I just let the tape run.

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Joe...

Demian...

YOU GUYS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I don't have any 50's horror soundtracks, though I need some badly.

There was a certain paranoia during the era and all the films reflect that.

It makes for great entertainment if not great cinema.

Once again to all you younger guys/gals watch old movies, it will change your perception of todays films, perhap dramatically. Filmmaking is not an art it is a craft, but craft can become art, and there are more artful movies before 1970, than since. Find them, explore them, learn from them.

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I second Joe's appeal. There were even better movies made in the '70s than there have been in the more than two decades since, and I never thought I would say that. Sure, there is a lot of crap churned out in any era. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the stuff that endures. The films that came out of Hollywood under the old studio system were on average superior to anything produced today. Then again, we're talking about the prime of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston, Howard Hawks, Michael Curtiz, William Wyler, George Cukor, Preston Sturges, Ernst Lubitsch, Cecil B. DeMille, Anthony Mann, Ida Lupino, George Stevens, Victor Fleming, and Billy Wilder. And those were just the filmmakers working in this country! If you don't know who these people are, I feel sorry for you. You have been suckled all your life on artificial sweetener and oleo.

I read an article in the newspaper yesterday on the subject of film literacy. There's yet another book coming out which compiles the so-called hundred greatest movies of all time -- a subjective list, but assembled, I think, with pretty objective standards. I'm not saying invest in the book, or to swallow wholesale what a bunch of critics and film historians may think, but classics are generally classics for a reason. Instead of watching "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" for the 50th time, perhaps you should check out "Gunga Din" or "The General Dies At Dawn" or "The Mask of Fu Manchu" (Karloff version). These are all films that influenced Indy, and if you don't see them, you are missing out on the joke. Educating oneself is so very important, whether it be in film or books or in any aspect of one's culture. Otherwise, one is damned to gaze with an ignorant eye upon the second rate and congratulate oneself that he is witnessing the flowering of genius.

Generally speaking, the level of craftsmanship and technical know-how that went into the great films of the past was superior to that in corresponding films today. The emphasis was on story, dialogue, mood and setting. Directors didn't lean on fast editing or CGI effects to disguise flaws in logic or a half-baked story. The actors were bigger, the lighting atmospheric, the music better -- and everyone wore hats. Also, EVERYTHING tends to look cool in black and white. Movies truly were mythic back then. Spielberg put together a brilliant homage in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," although he pretty much lost it by the time of "Last Crusade." But Spielberg is a frigging Michelangelo next to Tim Burton or whomever was responsible for influential (and popular!) "films" like "Highlander" and "The Crow." When I go to the movies these days, more often than not I leave feeling assaulted and insulted.

It's difficult to believe, perhaps, in a summer dominated by a childhood comic book icon and by a "prequel" to one of my favorite films, but I am desperately looking forward to "The Importance of Being Earnest." I am guaranteed, at least, that the dialogue will be good.

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