Empire Of The Ants / Jaws Of Satan – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Empire-of-the-Ants-ThumbScream Factory is going all “nature attacks” on us this month.  They’re releasing four films over the span of two double feature Blu-rays.  On May 26th, if you’re a fan of one of more of The Food Of The Gods, Frogs, Empire Of The Ants or Jaws Of Satan, then its your lucky day.  Scream Factory has said that 2015 would see a lot more double features from them, and this month is a special treat.  Not only do the double features themselves carry a nice them, but both of them together for the month all sort of carry that same levity and mission.  Nature’s most fierce creatures, you know, frogs, ants, snakes and (giant) rats will all be coming for you for four straight features tearing and gnawing at you!

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Empire Of The Ants 

Brace yourself for mutant mayhem and pestilent payback in this “scary” creature feature about good bugs gone BAD! Starring Joan Collins, this incredible insect extravaganza is swarming with flesh-crawling chills, hair-raising thrills and spine-tingling terror. Directed by the great Bert I. Gordon, Empire Of The Ants is a towering H.G. Wells tale come to terrifying life!

While this film boasts its an HG Wells joint, its really loosely one.  We’ve seen this done before in AIP with some of Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films.  It snot paired with The Food Of The Gods, which is on the other double feature, which would have made some sense.  That one dealt with large rats attacking in the backwoods, this one deals with large ants attacking some land prospectors lead by Joan Collins.

What’s funny, is this movie came out in 1977 and is a big “effects” kinda movie.  This film couldn’t be further from Star Wars gamechanger than it is.  While there are some decent moments, most of it is obvious and just doesn’t work well in a serious fashion nowadays.  The novelty wears off not too long in and its sort of a trudge through a rather short film.  This seems like it has the potential to be entertaining in a SyFy Saturday afternoon kinda way, but it never really makes it to that level consistently.

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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!

Well, this movie has Dean Cundey going for it, so there’s that.  The film looks nice because one of the all-time great cinematographers shot it.  Its also notable for boasting a very young, child-age, Christina Applegate (As you can see in the picture above.).  Unfortunately, recognizing those names is about where any sort of fun ends with this one.  Its a pretty dull, boring trudge through people fearing a little snake.

The film is titled Jaws Of Satan on the box and press release, but the print of the film they used is under a different title,  King Cobra.  No matter, its not a very good film.  There is some fun cheese with a Satan-possessed snake and people going all in with their performances.  Maybe I watched it on the wrong day or maybe it just falls short of succeeding.  Normally something like this would work enough for me to get through one viewing, but like Empire Of The Ants, I found it another challenging watch.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: Empire Of The Ants – 1.85:1, Jaws Of Satan – 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Empire Of The Ants looks similar to the transfers on the other disc.  Its a decent image with some good detail on static shots and close ups.  Jaws Of Satan probably features the best looking print/transfer of the whole bunch.  Its got some specs and the like but looks neatly detailed.  Close-ups of the snake feature good texture and scale definition.  Overall, these both look pretty good for what they are and I don’t know that anyone is going to put out much better when it comes to these.

Depth:  Both films aren’t poster childs for three dimensional greatness, but movement is very clean and open shots feature a good sense of character, objects and space.

Black Levels: Blacks are decent here and accurate.  Some detail is lost in night time and really dark sequences.

Color Reproduction:  Colors come off pretty bold.  They all get a nice even blend through the palette with none really standing out but playing on a team in and balancing things out.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Close ups feature details like wrinkles, stubble and blemishes.  The further back the camera goes the less amount of detail there is, sometimes looking smooth.

Noise/Artifacts: There is a light layer of grain on both films.  Some specs and film dirt throughout.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Audio is solid in both films.  Action lacks a booming presence.  Of course a good polish job could enhance the audio, but look at the films we are talking about.  The scoring, vocals and effects step on each other minimally, but for the most part are pretty fairly balanced.  This isn’t outstanding by a long shot, but it does the trick and has a sort of “drive in” feel to it which should be a good thing.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are nicely placed in the volume and clear.  Some moments in both films sound like 70s ADR, but that comes with the territory.

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The reverse side of the cover insert features alternate poster art from different countries.

Empire Of The Ants

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Bert I. Gordon

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:19)

Radio Spot (HD, 1:00)

Photo Gallery (HD, 3:12) – Montage set to the score featuring color and black and white promotional photos, poster art, lobby cards, magazine inserts and behind the scenes photos

Other Scream Factory Trailers: Food Of The Gods, Frogs

Jaws Of Satan

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:51)

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Here’s, in my opinion, the weaker half of the May 26th nature strikes back double feature Blu-rays from Scream Factory.  It does boast a little bit more “Oh look, so and so was involved in this”, but he films are for the most part, a little challenging of watches.  The audio and video transfers are solid enough which is really good for these kind of movies.  You even get a new commentary and the regular batch of trailers/photo galleries to boot.  I can’t recommend this based on the movies, but I can recommend the release for fans.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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