THEM! (1954)

1h 34m / Not Rated / Sci-Fi

The 1950s were drenched in schlocky, gimmicky horror and sci-fi pictures that got churned out in backlots and piped into cinemas all over the country as fast as the negatives could get processed. But THEM! is more than just a “what about [thing] but really big?” movie. It’s one of the first, and probably the best.

THEM!, of course, torments its cast (which features James Whitmore, Joan Weldon and Edmund Gwenn… yes, THAT Edmund Gwenn… who also played Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street) with a horde of atomic-bomb-irradiated gigantic ants, who grow to unthinkable size and start wreaking havoc in Alamagordo. But the real appeal here are the bang-bang pace of the action and the innovative visual effects, which were nominated for a Best Effects OSCAR that year and inspired a myriad of imitators.

The “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” series is presented by 13 Ugly Men.