LEGION OF FIRE: KILLER ANTS; MARABUNTA: TERROR IN BURLY PINES
Marabunta opens on a dreadfully portentous narration a la The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971) this is not science-fiction, this is science fact. The story you are about to see could happen tomorrow. But really Marabunta is not anything we have not seen before in a dozen 1970s Natures Revenge films. Its treatment here emerges as only dull and entirely cliched. The story seems to take forever to get to the main action with the ants.
When it does eventually get started, Marabunta seems to have been entirely contrived in terms of self-contained action set-pieces. The ants cause a helicopter carrying Eric Lutes and Julia Campbell to crash and they are forced to travel down a rapids in a canoe (where they very obviously become replaced by stunt doubles wearing the same hats they conveniently do); they face off against the ants with a flamethrower but their escape route is cut off whereupon the film fades to commercial break and when it resumes they, just like cliffhangers from the serial era, suddenly discover a canoe they had not seen before. Elsewhere a tractor slips out of gear and causes a barn to collapse, trapping a farmer and deputy inside; sheriff Mitch Pileggi has to drive his pickup truck in an obstacle course between explosions coming from gasoline-soaked antholes; Eric Lutes has to make an escape from the school by swinging down onto Mitch Pileggis pickup truck via the rope from the flagpole; at the climax, he has to abseil down a cliff and get back up, only for the winch to predictably jam just as the ants come; and finally he falls down a hillside just as the series of explosions to blow the dam occur and has to be airlifted off on the strut of a helicopter.
What is noticeable is what a small-scale catastrophe this is we never see anything more of the disaster affecting the town, for instance, than a couple of people running from a house to their car and farmers rounding up herds. The climactic dam explosion and flood is surely one of the least convincing floods ever placed on screen, being limited to some shots of a swollen river and a single shot of water surging past the school. Indeed, there are more shots of the heroes flying off aboard the helicopter at the climax than there are of the flood and its aftermath.
Film available online (Part 1 here):-
Part 2 here:-