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Them! (1954)

The movies didn’t need CGI to scare people out of their wits 70 years ago when Warner Bros. set a colony of giant ants loose on the world. Even today, a throbbing high-pitched sound, a giant mandible and a traumatized little girl screaming “Them!” generate chills. Drawing on Cold War anxieties over nuclear proliferation, the film inspired a spate of pictures in which insects exposed to radiation became giant monsters. Director Gordon Douglas shot THEM! as if it were a crime thriller — a genre at which he excelled with films like Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) and The Detective (1968) — making the fantastic action all too real. Edmund Gwenn, James Whitmore, and James Arness star, with Leonard Nimoy and Fess Parker in early supporting roles. 

d. Gordon Douglas, 93m, DCP