For some reason ANTS, a.k.a. IT HAPPENED AT LAKEWOOD MANOR, a 1977 made for television movie, seemed to be broadcast every other evening throughout the ’80s. A product of the nature-run-amuck cycle inspired by JAWS, ANTS, while short on thrills, is an entertaining diversion that resembles an episode of FANTASY ISLAND gone horribly wrong. Featuring stars on their way up (SUZANNE SUMMERS), down (MYRNA LOY), and nowhere (GALACTICA 1980 bound BARRY VAN DYKE), it’s a perfect time capsule of its era. Icy-eyed construction worker ROBERT FOXWORTH (PROPHECY) while digging next to a fancy-schmancy hotel unearths a special chemical enhanced breed of ant whose bite is as poisonous as the script requires at any given time (If you’re doubting Thomas STEVEN FRANKEN, the poisonous effects are instantaneous!). These killer insects have their own weird trippy electronic soundtrack to accompany them wherever they go and when their numbers are down, it appears something resembling coffee grounds can be used to stand in for them. The ants first mission is to attack the hotel where all the sun-kissed California blondes are residing. At some late point in the game we learn from a questionable scientist that these ants will not attack if you stay perfectly still (Tell that to the sleeping SUMMERS who is now pushing up daisies). This allows for an amazing scene that features LYNDA DAY GEORGE (PIECES) breathing heavily through a rolled up swatch of wallpaper while the six legged dickens crawl all over her face. As lame as it gets, it should be noted that there were many theatrical animal disaster flicks that are far less entertaining. Ultimately, any movie that features anything remotely resembling an L.D.G. FREAK-OUT deserves mucho attention!
indelible scenes

  • The little kid who falls into the ant infested dumpster
  • The ants make a b-line to a sleeping SUZANNE SUMMER‘s dirty pillows
  • The helicopter blows poisonous ants all over the crowd that has gathered to observe the rescue
  • The greedy guy (GERALD GORDON) freaks out and tries to make a third story jump into the pool and …ouch, misses!

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