Empire of the Ants / Jaws of Satan (Double Feature Blu-ray / Movie Review)
Another Double Feature from Scream Factory to sink your teeth into and, this time, it’s the cheeseball Empire of the Ants, from director Bert I. Gordon (The Food of the Gods) and the 80s snake fest Jaws of Satan. Both movies are lowbrow cinema, but enjoyment can be had from these little films, as long as you go in with a drunken mind and the knowledge that these movies are in no way good, but fun to a certain degree…
SUBTITLES: English REGION: A RATING: PG / R PRODUCTION DATE: 1977 / 1981 RELEASE DATE: May 26th, 2015
A double feature of creepy crawlies!
EMPIRE OF THE ANTS Brace yourself for mutant mayhem and pestilent payback in this “scary” (Los Angeles Times) creature feature about good bugs gone BAD! Starring Joan Collins (Dynasty, Tales From The Crypt), this incredible insect extravaganza is swarming with flesh-crawling chills, hair-raising thrills and spine-tingling terror. Directed by the great Bert I. Gordon (Attack Of The Puppet People, The Amazing Colossal Man, Village Of The Giants), Empire Of The Ants is a towering H.G. Wells tale come to terrifying life!
JAWS OF SATAN Satan takes the form of a cobra in this spine-chilling tale of terror. Commanded by the Prince of Darkness, snakes terrorize a small town in Alabama just as the town’s new dog racing park is about to open. The local doctor, the town priest and a “snake expert” must band together to save the town from his evil scheme! Fritz Weaver (Creepshow), Gretchen Corbett (Let’s Scare Jessica To Death), Jon Korkes (Syngenor) and a young Christina Applegate (Married With Children, Streets, Anchorman) star. New High-Definition Transfer!
First up in this review, we have the giant man-eating, radioactive filled ants in Empire of the Ants. This is another film from Director Bert I. Gordon, that is full of cheesy awful effects and a slow plot. Honestly, it isn’t a terrible film, but it’s not a fun one either. I found myself bored throughout its 89-minute runtime. I enjoy the main idea behind the flick, a group of people on an island, attacked by these ants and later on when you see them control humans, it’s a pretty neat idea. The film almost comes off like a Body Snatchers flick during the later parts, but sadly, it’s over too quickly and the end comes up and we pretty just feel empty inside. Not much more can be said about this one. I never saw the movie before and my first viewing of it was not a success, but then again, this is all just one man’s opinion. You may love it for all I know!
The next movie on the disc is Jaws of Satan, the better of the two flicks in my opinion. Released in 1981, with a notable name behind the camera, Dean Cundey of Halloweenfame as the Cinematographer, you at least know the movie is going to look pretty decent. As for the story, it’s a thin one for sure. Satan has returned to Earth in snake form, more specifically a cobra and is out to get a Priest (Fritz Weaver.) Why? Because a curse was put on his family of course and Satan ain’t got nothing better to do than to hunt down and bring his soul to Hell. Whilst doing all that, other snakes are getting crazy and attacking numerous people and the local doctor, played by Gretchen Corbett and an out of town doctor, played by Jon Korkes, who looks like he doesn’t know what his doing there, is out to save the people. The aforementioned Priest is ready to go head to head with this cobra, but only if they can find it. Prepare for an ultimate showdown, which results in a hilarious goof at the end of the movie. No really, the last shot of the film has the worst error I’ve ever seen in a movie before (think burnt coat hanger.) Terrible plot and goofs aside, this one was way more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
Scream Factory has got to be applauded for bringing out these two films in a format we never thought they would ever appear on. The films look pretty damn good, although I noticed some strange contrast issues in a few scenes for Jaws of Satan, along with some high-level distortion at the beginning of the movie, which forced me to turn down my speakers. As for Empire of the Ants, I can honestly say it’s probably never looked as clean as it does here.
The special features are sadly pretty lacking. There is a commentary from Director Bert I. Gordon on Empire of the Ants. Also, you can expect the usual trailer, radio spot and photo gallery, along with some trailers for their other Double Feature The Food of the Gods and Frogs. Jaws of Satan sadly gets the short end of the stick with only a trailer. Booo!
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
— EMPIRE OF THE ANTS —
New Audio Commentary With Director Bert I. Gordon
— JAWS OF SATAN —
Empire of the Ants / Jaws of Satan Double Feature, much like their other DF The Food of the Gods / Frogsis mainly for the fans of these cheesy, low budget affairs. It’s incredibly nice to see that Scream Factory shares our love for all type of cinema and does service to fans of whatever cheesy stuff they adore. I personally wasn’t a fan of Empire of the Ants, but I did enjoy Jaws of Satan to a certain extent and the Blu-ray is looking pretty sweet. I recommend picking up this disc, but make sure you get it for a good price, as the features are lacking.