The Swarm

Day Twenty Four of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Day Twenty Four

The Swarm
The 1970’s was more than the decade of big cars, big sideburns and high heeled boots for men, it was also the golden age of the “nature gets revenge” film.   It usually squared up like his: an ensemble cast gets caught in a disaster of epic proportions in which, one by one, they are killed, usually in gruesome ways.  This disaster could come in a variety of ways: a rogue wave flips over a cruise liner (The Poseidon Adventure), ants run amok (Phase 4), giant rabbits run amok (Night of the Lepus), heck I even saw one film about a fish that ate a boat and killed some guys (Jaws).  These movies were always great fun.  My mom and I would make a game of trying to figure out who was going to die and how.  “The fat guy isn’t going to fit through the emergency door.  I bet he drowns” or “The whiner with the loud sport coat is going to try to save himself by taking the last parachute and jumping for it, but the ravenous parakeets with get him anyway.”  Good fun. . .  Good fun.  It’s in that spirit that I bring you tonight’s Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween selection: Irwin Allen’s The Swarm!

What’s The Swarm about?  It’s about the silliest movie I’ve ever seen.  I remember this movie being a bit of an eye roller for me back in the day and I was only nine or ten years old when I saw it.  The movie opens with a 1970’s made-for-TV quality special forces unit doing their made-for-TV special forces attack on an underground missile silo.  They find most of the airmen stationed there are dead.  They also find Michael Caine.  What’s Michael Caine doing in a missile silo?  That’s a good question; not only do you and I want the answer, so does General Richard Widmark.  Michael Caine explains that he was looking for Killer Bees and that he thought that some might have come by and killed everyone in the silo.  General Richard Widmark is having none of this, so he and Michael Caine shout at each other while we meet the rest of the cast.

Near the silo is the town of Marysville, Texas, whose chief economic activities are growing flowers and getting stung to death by Killer Bees.   Here we’ll find most of the cast getting ready for the big Marysville Flower Show.  It’s quite the tourist attraction, and little do they know, this year’s show is going to play host to a billion tourists from South America.    Not to Bee-labor the point, let’s get to the cast, we have: School Superintendent Olivia de Havilland, Mayor Fred MacMurray, Old Coot Ben Johnson, Pregnant Waitress Patty Duke, Swarthy Young Doctor Jose Ferrer, Old Coot Slim Pickens, and Annoying Child Christian Juttner.  Nice!  Who is going to get it first?

Back at the silo, General Richard Widmark is bummed because Michael Caine, despite being a limey, has friends at the White House who put him in charge of Operation Bee-Gone.  Now it’s Michael Caine, and Michael Caine alone, who is going to do the yelling around here.  General Richard Widmark now has to accommodate Michael Caine’s list of demands which include: a Henry Fonda, a Richard Chamberlain, a Katherine Ross, an assortment of snug turtleneck sweaters with matching sport coats and cough drops for his throat – the yelling takes a lot out of him.

Yes, there are plenty of Killer Bee attacks, so don’t you worry about that.  In fact, after having their lunch handed to them repeatedly by the Killer Bees, the Army under the command of General Richard Widmark breaks out the flame throwers and has a Killer Bee vs. Soldiers with Flamethrowers fight which burns down half of Houston. If you wonder while watching The Swarm, whether or not it’s worth sitting through until the end, it is; you don’t want to miss the flamethrower fight or the incredibly fun finale.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.