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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Ants: Panic at Lakewood Manor" aka "Ants" aka "It Happened at Lakewood Manor")

 

directed by Robert Scheerer
USA 1977

In case you haven't already guessed it, this TV movie involves (drum roll please...) killer ants. A first? Actually, no. Hell, it wasn't even the only killer ant movie of its year. EMPIRE OF THE ANTS, a cheese-fest about giant, super-intelligent ants starring Joan Collins, also debuted in 1977 (though it played in theaters, unlike this one). Ants! doesn't feature giant ants, just normal-sized ones... and yet it can't even claim to be the first to do that either. The vastly superior PHASE IV (1974) featured them as well, only three years earlier. And, of course, the killer ant movie to end all killer ant movies was THEM!, a still highly enjoyable gem from way back in 1954.

Excerpt from TheBloodyPitofHorror located HERE

***

The story centers around an old hotel run by Ethel (Myrna Loy) and her daughter Valerie (Lynda Day George). Next door, construction foreman and Valerie's main squeeze Mike (Robert Foxworth) is building or digging something when his men happen upon an ant colony. One man dies, another is in the hospital, and the grizzled doctor is flummoxed. Why is an ambulance having to show up at the hotel three or four times a day, what is causing these mysterious poisonings? We certainly hope thousands of killer ants don't ruin Tony (Gerald Gordon) and Gloria's (Suzanne Somers) plans to buy the old hotel, or handyman Richard's (Barry Van Dyke) romancing of hot homeless hippie Linda (Karen Lamm, completing the sexy blonde trifecta featuring George and Somers). Government officials poo-poo Mike's killer ant theory (I blame Jimmy Carter), and shut the hotel down because of a mysterious "virus." Mike goes a little nuts trying to prove his theory, and inadvertently pisses the ants off as well. The insects trap most of the cast in the hotel, and they must be rescued since no one seems to own any of those flowery looking ant traps.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE

VHS Cover/TV Guide Advert/Poster

Broadcast Premiere: December 2nd, 1977

 

Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparisons:

Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

   

  

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution

Direct Source Label

Region 1 - NTSC

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:33 1:35:37.875
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 / 1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,727,947,809 bytes

Feature: 15,100,557,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate DVD

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1616 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1616 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Direct Source Label

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
 None

DVD Release Date: February 9th, 2014
Keep Case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.85:1 / 1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,727,947,809 bytes

Feature: 15,100,557,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Author/Film Historian Lee Gambin and Ex-Fangoria Co-Chief Editor Rebekah McKendry
NEW Audio Interview with Actress Barbara Brownell (38:50)
NEW Audio Interview with Actor Barry Van Dyke (40:10)
NEW Audio Interview with Actress Anita Gillette (32:19)
NEW Audio Interview with Actor Moosie Drier (33:14)
NEW Audio Interview with Production Assistant and Daughter of Producer Alan Landsburg, Valerie Landsburg (45:22)


Blu-ray Release Date: July 5th, 2022

Standard Case inside slipcase

Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (June 2022): Kino have transferred Robert Scheerer's Ants! to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "Brand New 2K Master ". This release includes both the 1.33:1 TV and the 1.85:1 theatrical versions. While on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc, in 10980P, neither are transferred very robustly with a bitrate in the mid-teens. Both transfers have the same file size and running time - the only difference is the cropping for the widescreen. It still looks quite soft will dull colors if an obvious advancement over the poor 2014 DVD.

NOTE: We have added 24 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language for bother ratio versions. Ants! has few aggressive moments - plenty of screams and construction equipment that have modest depth. The score is by Kim Richmond (as Ken Richmond) (Harry O), sounding not especially crisp, but probably authentic, in the lossless transfer. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Robert Scheerer's Ants! is pure garbage and the bare-bones Direct Source Label DVD was one of the worst I have reviewed ever (true, 10,000 reviews later.) It was out of ratio - they even spelled 'Suzanne Somers' name incorrectly on the cover as 'Suzanne Sommers' . The film? It compounds to ridiculous story by shamefully throwing in the great Myrna Loy... and then tries to make up for it with 70s babes Somers (cleavage enticement), Lynda Day George and Karen Lamm. Ohh my... see, these aren't 'giant' ants as in Empire of the Ants or Them! - and it has no where near the intellectual prowess of Phase IV, or The Naked Jungle. It's a TV movie, with minimal budget and tailgating the existing wave of creature-feature appeal (Jaws) or the many disaster flics of the decade. Disaster indeed.. Let me give an example of the absurdity of the entire premise. Ants can move quickly - but not that quickly. You have one on your calf and you slap it off. You aren't immediately covered by their poisonous army. If Suzanne Somers felt an ant or two on her in bed - what would she do? I can guarantee she wouldn't stay in bed pushing her breasts together while hundreds more crawled all over her naked body. So, Ants! requires a huge suspension of disbelief. They should have used larger pismire sizes but it probably wasn't in the budget. They are aggressive here and poisonous. Silly but, yes, sometimes even that fits the bill... The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by film historian Lee Gambin (author of Massacred by Mother Nature: Exploring the Natural Horror Film) and Ex-Fangoria Co-Chief Editor Rebekah McKendry (?). Lee makes comparisons to The Swarm, discussing the environmentalist movement that the film touches upon, it's exploitation representation, how the ants were manipulated on screen with a hair dryer, Ants! 70's aesthetic - and much more. I don't recall hearing from Rebekah - maybe I missed her input? Kino include over 2-hours of audio interviews (by Lee) with actors Barbara Brownell, Barry Van Dyke, Anita Gillette and Moosie Drier (he had regular appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and The Bob Newhart Show). Lastly is a 3/4 hour audio interview with Production Assistant and daughter of Producer Alan Landsburg (Jaws 3-D), Valerie Landsburg. I did not indulge. Ants! has created a bit of a cult following because of how absurd it is. Kino have done strong work with their Blu-ray package in augmenting the presentation with some extras. There is a reversible artwork with Somers breasts covered in ants (see below) and an O-card sleeve. Some may enjoy the film's horribleness. At the writing of this review it is 50% OFF

***

ON THE DVD (2014): It's single-layered and interlaced in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and it looks like there is some warping as many times there is horizontal stretching (fatter faces) making characters appeal abnormal - look at the capture below of poor Brian Dennehy. The DVD image is represented by the samples below. It's below par, but watchable.

Lossy Dolby about the same level as the video. The film has a score by Kim Richmond (as 'Ken Richmond') - it's unremarkable. There are no subtitles, or extras, on the NTSC DVD.

This bare-bones DVD, and film, is of poor quality. Pass.

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

DVD Menu
 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.33:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.33:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

As close as the film get to the salacious advertisements...

 


1) Direct Source Label - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino (1.33:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Kino (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


  More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

Box Cover

  

   

  

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution

Direct Source Label

Region 1 - NTSC

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


 

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