September 12, 2017

Philadelphia Police: "Hmm. No, We don't know where all of these gnats came from, either."

And the police make the obvious joke so you don't have to: "However, we, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."

Isn't that why we have police, to make obvious jokes so you don't have to?

Or... are the police properly pushing Philadelphians to see that you shouldn't call the police about the sudden presence of numerous gnats?

Here's the Know Your Meme article on "I, For One, Welcome Our New Insect Overlords." The line, famous from "The Simpsons," originally appeared (verbatim, spoken by Joan Collins) in a 1977 version of the H.G. Wells stoy "Empire of the Ants." Here's a hilarious trailer for that, well worth watching even though it does not include the Joan Collins line:



I really enjoyed seeing the old-time monster-movie effects. It made me think of Frank Zappa's paean to cheap special effects, "Cheepnis":



The jelly & paint on the 40 watt bulb/They use when the slime droozle off/The rumples & the wrinkles in the cardboard rock....

48 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

"Empire of the Ants" can't hold a candle to the special effects of "The Giant Spider Invasion."

"That puppet later grows enormous, and at that point this "queen" spider is played by an altered Volkswagen Beetle dressed in a furry dark rug and eight giant hairy legs.”

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

Isn't that why we have news reporters, to make a cutesy headline and but not identify the type of insect they're reporting on and to quote people who don't know anything?

Curious George said...

"And the police make the obvious joke so you don't have to: "However, we, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."

I'm not sure it was a joke the way Philly and other big city Democratic Admins have been throwing their cops under the bus.

MadisonMan said...

I think having a well-developed sense of humor is vital for any person who works with the public. That's doubly true if you're a policeman.

Quaestor said...

If you really want some cheapness watch The Beginning of the End a sci-fi starring Peter Graves which could be alternatively titled "Chicago vs the Grasshoppers". If you can lay hold of the MST3K presentation all the better.

Laslo Spatula said...

1977 was a great year for bug movies.

William Shatner in 'Kingdom of the Spiders'

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...

It's been a very wet summer in the East, couple that with the EPA's harebrained ideas about wetland (i.e. swamp) preservation and periodic swarms of gnats, midges, and mosquitoes are inevitable.

SeanF said...

"We, for one," is taking the royal we a bit far, isn't it?

Quaestor said...

And there's Tarantula, starring John Agar (always the sign of a quality production) which features perhaps the first appearance of Clint Eastwood in a speaking role.

Laslo Spatula said...

Another Bug movie from 1977: "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

Dean Jones AND Don Knotts!

Don Knotts does seem to have insect qualities.

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...

Was Herbie a bug or a bread?

Jaske said...

Them! is a much better giant ant movie, classic black & white 50's sci-fi.

Laslo Spatula said...

Another 1977 movie with horrible bugs: 'Damnation Alley'.

From Wiki: "...they encounter mutated "flesh stripping cockroaches" in the ruins of Salt Lake City which eat Keegan alive."

Not many things say the Seventies like Jan-Michael Vincent.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

The insect-monster movie that scared me the most when I was a child was "Monster from Green Hell." The enlarged insects were bees.

khematite said...

Another thing being done for us, so that we don't have to--according to CNN's Chris Cuomo,during Hurricane Irma:

“There is a strong argument to be made that standing in a storm is not a smart thing to do. We do it so you don’t have to.”

exiledonmainstreet said...

I don't remember watching any scary insect movies when I was a kid. I saw "The Birds" on TV though, and that made me nervous when I saw crows lined up on telephone wires.

Laslo Spatula said...

Then there is 1975's "Bug": Trailer

Mutant cockroaches that shoot fire from their ass.

Really.

I am Laslo.

Gahrie said...

Oh, if only there was a cheap, safe, effective solution (cough DDT cough) to this insect problem.

CJinPA said...

"Empire of the Ants" can't hold a candle to the special effects of "The Giant Spider Invasion."

Alan Hale Jr.'s most evocative role.

Darrell said...

No, Ma'am, we don't know where the gnatzis came from. But I heard they all voted for Obama and worked for the Democratic Party just two weeks ago.

Darrell said...

I had most of the bad sci-fi films on 8mm. At least as much as Castle Films(?) used to put on those reels. I think it was Castle--the early 1960s was a long time ago.

Laslo Spatula said...

2002 had "Eight Legged Freaks ", a giant spider movie.

Trailer

Not much to say about it other than it had a hot 18-year-old Scarlett Johannson.

This was when Scarlett was at her hottest.

Because she was eighteen.

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...

Them! is a much better giant ant movie, classic black & white 50's sci-fi.

A fine movie, intelligent and understated. Once you accept the premise, mutant ants the size of automobiles, the one gaping hole in the plot is the notion that a beat cop would become the federal government's point man in the ensuing crisis. However, the cop is played by James Whitmore, a very underused and underappreciated actor, consequently Them! is worth your time on his account alone. Them! was one of Warner Brothers very few forays into sci-fi, and to their credit, they took pains with the production. Originally, it was budgeted to be a Technicolor film, and the giant ant models, many of them full-sized with animated effects were designed to be very impressive in color with striking prismatic eyes. Unfortunately, someone in the accounting department pulled the plug on the Technicolor idea (Techicolor, Inc. got a royalty on every booking of films shot with their process) probably because Hollywood was growing paranoid about television. Anyhoo, the only color seen in the finished film is the title splash. Great movie. See it.

rhhardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

I favor replacing Golf with Gnat in the telephone alphabet, as well as Mike by Mnemonic.

tcrosse said...

I favor replacing Golf with Gnat in the telephone alphabet, as well as Mike by Mnemonic.

Also Papa by Pneumatic, Kilo by Know.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Not much to say about it other than it had a hot 18-year-old Scarlett Johannson."

It also had Kari Wuhrer as her mother. Kari was thirty-five at the time. And hot.

If a movie were to have a mother-daughter shower scene this would've been the one.

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...

The insect-monster movie that scared me the most when I was a child was "Monster from Green Hell."

That was probably Althouse's id monster rebelling against the horrific rip-off of Stanley and Livingstone.

Quaestor said...

Also Papa by Pneumatic, Kilo by Know.

Too many people would take pneumatic for N.

Quaestor said...

Alan Hale Jr.'s most evocative role.

Released in Manilla as Jonas Grumby vs. the Flying Saucers

Bad Lieutenant said...

Too many people would take pneumatic for N.


That's the, extremely annoying, joke. All the words they've been suggesting sound like they begin with N

mockturtle said...

Well, let's see....since the eclipse, we've had hurricanes, floods, fires and now a plague of gnats. Could the end be near? ;-)

buwaya said...

The old plantation (where we still hold a couple hundred hectares) was notable for the size of its insects.
Giant insect movies are more plausible in the tropics.
They could even be realistic.

Carter Wood said...

The greatest insect horror character ever was the baby in Eraserhead.

That was an insect, wasn't it?

John Nowak said...

I'll second Them! A legitimately good film, and both scary and fun.

I have a soft spot for Tarantula, because the Air Force shows up with napalm and ...kills it. Anticlimactic, yes, but I've always wanted to see that in a giant monster film.

Also, as pointed out before, the squadron leader is Clint Eastwood.

Hagar said...

"Leiningen versus the ants."

It is the time of the year for ants to swarm - and they are not "gnats".

David said...

They came from South Carolina. There is no more room for gnats there. Complete saturation.

rcocean said...

Killer Bees. Nough said.

YoungHegelian said...

And who can forget Attack of the Giant Leeches? This 1959 classic, available in its entirety on youtube, was the subject of an entire issue of Cahiers du Cinema in early 1960.

John Nowak said...

Attack of the Giant Leeches is surprisingly good, except for the parts about giant leeches.

EDH said...

So, Spiro Agnew correctly predicted these insect overlords would dominate the media as the "gnattering nabobs of negativism."

Mark said...

The Naked Jungle (1954)
Charlton Heston, Eleanor Parker

A horde of attacking black ants devour the jungle and anything else (and anyone) in their path threatening a cocoa plantation owned by Charlton Heston, whose mail-order bride has only recently arrived.

mockturtle said...

I thought John Carpenter's The Thing was rather well done.

Ganderson said...

Kari Wuher was hot

Jay Elink said...

Peter Graves recovered from his shlock shame when he became the lead in the original "Mission Impossible", a huge TV hit back in the mid-60's.

Last I saw him he was in a "House" episode, where he was porking a fellow geriatric resident in an old folks' home. Still had all that hair. More than enough to share with guys like me, but no....

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

I thought John Carpenter's The Thing was rather well done.

It was indeed, and a very faithful adaptation of the source material, "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell.

Yet I still prefer The Thing from Another World (1951). Though attributed to Christian Nyby many film historians have concluded the directorial credit should have gone to Howard Hawks. I don't know what to think other than Nyby managed to adopt his mentor's style as his own quickly and with high competence, and then never used it again. Strange. TTFAW was a low-budget picture, and Nyby managed to hide its strengths and exploit its strengths with remarkable aplomb. Take for example the scene shortly after the alien has escaped his ice prison, the scientists and soldiers are gathered around the severed arm of the Thing while it's being examined and classified. Suddenly the apparently dead arm begins to move with renewed life. The production couldn't afford a complicated mechanical effect for such a brief usage. Consequently, Nyby shows us only a glimpse of it leaving the dialogue to fill in the gaps. Same with the creature's spaceship. We see nothing but its dorsal fin protruding through the ice. Everything else we know comes to us via the dialogue and blocking of the characters. We know only what the characters know and for that reason the mystery and foreboding only increases. Returning to base with the alien "corpse" the airmen don't engage in the kind of tension-building argumentative colloquy typical of today's genre films. Instead, they defuse the tension with the kind of joking reparté real soldiers employ to cope with terror. The understatement continues. There's no scream queen, no duplicitous villain, no internecine hatreds, and almost no explicit violence — in short, there's none of the lazy formulaic post-modern dreck Hollywood inflicts on us routinely today. In place of the bloodshed, we're presented with two intelligent and competent protagonist forces. The alien loses the fight mainly because the humans turn out to be slightly more crafty and courageous than it gives them credit for.

The acting is also superb. The entire cast is composed of B-list actors, and yet they are nothing but effective and convincing.

mockturtle said...

I'll watch out for that one, Quaestor.