Them (1954)
Warner Home Video
Cast: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon
Extras: Archive Footage, Cast Overview, Theatrical Trailer

I admit it, I am a sucker for classic horror and science fiction films, as many of you may already have noticed. To me these films represent a glory of filmmaking when all you had was your imagination and two hands to bring your fantasies to life. They are also a reminder for me of the innocence that audiences and movies have long since lost.

’Them’ is one such film that many viewers will chuckle at while I am thoroughly enveloped by the film and its story. Despite its paper-mach&eacute monsters, technical limitations and scientific liberties, ’Them’ is an imaginative giant monster film that spawned a whole slew of imitators, most of which turned out to be much, much worse.

As a result of atomic tests in the desert of New Mexico, a breed of ants has grown to giant proportions and is beginning to attack humans. The authorities quickly try to locate the nest of the ants and kill them with cyanide gas. But when they inspect the maze of underground tunnels that make up the nest, they realize that this nest has already produced two other queen ants, which have left the area earlier. Will they be able to find these two queens before they can make their own nests and populate the world with their annihilating spawn?

Warner Home Video is presenting ’Them’ in its original fullscreen presentation on this DVD. I was very surprised at the quality of the image. There are hardly any blemishes or speckles in the print and the film is entirely free of grain. I noticed two film tears in the presentation, but that’s the extend of it. The rest looks absolutely glorious in a black and white presentation that has deep blacks and good highlights with very good gradient ramping.

The audio on the DVD is also very nicely restored. Though harsh with noticeably limitations, the track is free of pops or noise. The track also shows very little signs of sibilance or distortion, making for a great presentation of this classic film that is virtually free of any defects.

Warner has spiced the disc up with some cool – but tediously slow – menus. They appear a bit incomprehensible at first – in the form of a classic newspaper – but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and appreciate the faithfulness to the material that was applied here. Sadly the menus didn’t work properly in a DVD-ROM environment.

Some Behind-the-scenes footage is part of the release, consisting mainly of alternate takes of shots from the film. An overview of the cast is also included on the disc, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer.

’Them’ is a gem to every fan of classic 50s science fiction and Warner’s DVD release of this movie turned out much better than anyone could have hoped for. Make sure to sink your mandibles into this one when you have the chance. It is most definitely worth it! Now, if I could only convince some of the studio people to lay off these idiot security stickers on all spines, which tore the print right off the beautiful cardboard cover…