Fuck Them!

Okay, not really, but it makes a great subject header.

I just watched Them! and I’ve decided that I can’t do old monster movies anymore because of the special effects. I think Jaws is probably the cutoff. I’ll grant that Them! is really old (the first giant-monsters-from-radiation movie?), but it really spins up promisingly, with a solid eerie sensibility. But by the time the hero is in the LA river flinging himself into paper-maiche mandibles to Save the Children, I’ve decided this is little more than a historical curio.

Not that I would want these things updated. Indeed, when the title comes onscreen, I was really annoyed that the DVD makers decided to paint the word ‘Them!’ bright red. It’s a friggin’ black & white movie, you morons. Who told you to take a Sharpie and color on it?

Maybe I’ve watched too much MST3K and my mindset it too meta to suspend disbelief anymore. But I’m afraid that giant monsters won’t work for me anymore in a post-Jurassic Park T-Rex attack world.


Maybe it helps that I first saw Them! as a child but I always enjoyed the movie. I just look past the anachronisms.

Them! and all other giant insect movies were ruined for me by my junior high school science teacher who went through that mass increases by 3x while size increases by 2x calculation to show us why they were impossible. Add the dated special effects and Tom’s right, they’re stricly MST3K fare.

Besides, when I see Them! now, I figure the Ants got that big because James Whitmore fed them Miracle Gro.

CG has stolen your imagination!

The Harryhausen giant monster movies are still entertaining – the stop-motion animation still works, and is far more interesting than immobile paper-mache giant ants.

I’ll grant that Them! is really old (the first giant-monsters-from-radiation movie?),

Very close - Godzilla, King of the Monsters, beat it by less than a year. You really should see the original Godzilla movie, which is easily the best of the 20 Godzilla movies, and really the only one that’s a “serious” movie.


I still love Ray Harryhausen’s animation. Yeah, it barely holds a candle to the CG stuff that’s commonplace today, but I like it anyway.

The shark in Jaws has aged very poorly, though. Which is a shame, because it’s still a fantastic movie.

Considering the mechanical shark never actually worked during filming, it’s certainly held up well enough, probably because Spielberg shot around it for most of the film. So there aren’t many scenes where you get a good look at it. It only becomes an issue when it consumes Robert Shaw, and by that time it reallly doesn’t matter that much anymore.

Jason and the Argonauts rule!!!