Phase IV, July 25
Rene Daalder in Person. In a world without an ozone layer, a family's would-be garden of Eden becomes a horticultural hell. Daalder's petri dish of a film offers a florid feast of effects.
Michael Lehmann in Person. Ed Begley Jr. and Stockard Channing are Amazonian insects who take on the form of an all-American family as part of a bid to preserve their habitat in Lehmann's suburban eco-comedy.
Directed by Douglas Trumbull, the effects designer for 2001, this parable posits Bruce Dern as the last gardener in the universe, maintaining a man-made Eden on a space station. "An elegiac plea for grass, cantaloupes, and bunny rabbits delivered by a man who kills every human being in sight."-Village Voice
Mad professor Donald Pleasence attempts a genetic merger between plants and animals in a movie that crossbreeds Island of Lost Souls with Freaks.
Industrial pollution generates some mean mutations among the fauna of the Maine woods in John Frankenheimer's thriller that "plays like a cross between The China Syndrome and Bigfoot."-New West
Response by Entomologist Vincent Resh. Intelligent ants plot to make the world their picnic ground in titles designer Saul Bass's sole directorial effort, "a thoroughly terrifying, bizarrely beautiful ecological parable."-L.A. Times
Amphibians of the Everglades unite against wealthy patriarch Ray Milland and his family of plantation-dwellers in this slimy critique of American excess. "Today the pond! Tomorrow the world!"
Radioactive giant ants run amok in the movie that launched a 1950s wave of post-atomic creature features. "Provides a surfeit of camp pleasures . . . and a deliciously coded narrative. The ants are all too human."-Village Voice