It’s interesting how the movies are a reflection of life at the time. As an example, the baddies in the action movies used to be the Russians, then Colombian drug dealers, now its terrorists. People saw the 1950’s as the dawn of a new age: the war years were over, everything was bigger and faster, there were new products and means of production, technology was king, nuclear power was the go, space travel was being researched and countries had enough atomic bombs to destroy the planet. It’s not surprising therefore that Hollywood focused on sci fi flims, including the theme of giant creatures mutated by atomic radiation. One of the best of these was Them! When I first saw it on TV as a nipper it scared the crap out of me.
Atomic testing in the New Mexico desert causes ants to become mutated to giant size. When the army seeks to destroy the nest, it finds that the queen ant and others have moved into the city sewer system, threatening civilisation itself.
Dr. Harold Medford: We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true - 'And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation and the beast shall reign over the earth.'
The Wilhem Scream can be heard four times in the film:
· When the giant ants attack the crew of the ship at sea.
· When James Whitmore’s character Police Sgt. Ben Peterson is throttled to death by a giant ant
· When a soldier is struck by the falling debris in the sewer.
· When James Arness gets separated from the rest of the Army and ants try to attack him. The ceiling falls in and while he is reloading his weapon, an ant tries to attack him.
There's also a scream off-screen from Peterson's partner, Ed Blackburn when he investigates the sounds made by the ants.