I have to admit, there are some bad films that made the cut for this year’s experiment. There are even a few TV movies. But Legion of Fire: Killer Ants falls into both categories and may have the lowest rating on www.imdb.com of any of the films I picked…a whopping 2.8. But hey, it’s got a young, hunky Mitch Pileggi (better known as Skinner from The X-Files). Even if you didn’t know up front this was a TV movie, watching it would give it away as ever fifteen minutes or so the action peaks, fade to black (for a commercial) and then we’re back screaming and running from killer ants.
I’d like to link this film to one of the Five Kinds of Fear exploited in horror films and that’s Fear of Mutilation. This fear has been done and done by much better movies on this blog’s list, but this was the thing that struck me as I was watching this movie about a bug specialist who just happens to go vacationing up in the Great White North at a time when a dormant volcano heats up warming the ground enough to support a huge colony of killer Ants who can supposed strip an elephant down to the bone in under a few hours…oh yeah, there’s also an earthquake that unleashes them on a town where fortunately most everyone is away for the season.
The plot is horrible and depends way too much on coincidence, and the thought of seeing these people running away terrified of stupid ants is comical, but it did make me think…it’s comical only because I’ve never experienced this. The real fear sets in when they begin finding carcasses of dead wild animals strip to the bone. Then they begin finding humans in the same condition. I guess it’s too much to make a phone call at the first sign of ants nibbling on you, but then again this was in the 90’s…and that phone was probably attached to a wall or something.
But after the film was over, after watching the ridiculous attempts to stay these billions of tiny terrors from swarming the town…it really did …if you’ll excuse the expression…bug me. I mean I don’t like for a single ant to crawl on me and I have friends who would rather die than have a spider anywhere near them. We think being at the top of the food chain makes us powerful, but our power is nothing to an army of ants who just keep coming until we are so overwhelmed we scream for help and they swarm in our mouths chocking us…well…I think you get the picture. It’s easy to ward off a serial killer with a machete; you just shoot him and unless he’s Jason Voorhees, he’s going down to stay. There are laughable scenes in this film where people shoot at these ants and it’s ridiculous, but they do it anyway because they don’t know what else to do.
There’s one more ant film this month and I’m hoping it’s a good one because Legion of Fire: Killer Ants was definitely not. But it did manage to tap into my fear of mutilation by insects enough to justify its place here at My Horrible Idea.