Drive-In Dust Offs: Empire Of The Ants (1977)

Schlock should never be a dirty word in the world of cinema. Some of my favorite films are utterly devoid of taste and frequently, refinement. The majority of drive-in treasures lie somewhere between perspiration and inspiration, covered in flop sweat and trying desperately to entertain. This is often where you’ll find the films distributed by American International Pictures, and always where you’ll see director Bert I. Gordon’s oeuvre. Empire of the Ants (1977) is no exception.

Released by Aip in July and bringing in $2.5 million, Empire was the follow up to Gordon and producer Samuel Z. Arkoff’s success from the previous year, The Food of the Gods, another “loose” H.G. Wells adaptation, and was an even bigger hit (in B.I.G. terms, anyway—everything’s relative, folks). Naturally dismissed by critics, Empire continues the winning Gordon formula of B stars and groovy, goofy, rear projection grisliness.
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