aka It happened at Lakewood Manor aka Panic at Lakewood Manor
Actually I was somewhat surprised at this movie. I picked it up at Hollywood Video and it had no cover jacket and I mistakenly believed it was the standard mutated ant monster flick. Instead I got a beautifully photographed, if cheesy, monster gig with normal sized ants. Granted there were about 400 bazillion of them, but they were regular sized ants.
It centered around a glorious older lakeside resort hotel owned by Myrna Loy, who is confined to a wheelchair, and her daughter Linda Day George. The local construction company is itching to get their hands on her land because there are condos going up everywhere. The developer, Gerald Gordon, and his secretary/lover, Suzanne Somers, visit the jobsite and end up staying at the hotel.
Now for some reason there is: 1) world's largest ant colony in the middle of the construction site, and 2) they are very, very mad. The ants start attacking various members of the community causing them to go into a coma, leading to their eventual death. The end result is the complete overtaking of the construction site and the hotel in a most insidious way.
Performers Suzanne Somers was definitely hot in this production. Hey, it's 1977, she is still a babe! Her acting is about two steps above Threes Company caliber so go for the visual treat instead of the audio. There is one scene where she is in bed with Gerald Gordon though, right before she becomes the Cracker Barrel for the ants, whey they do a foot shot (the ants are climbing the bedspread by her foot). Suzanne Somers has ugly feet. She shoulda demanded a foot standing, they have em.
Robert Foxworth plays the construction crew leader. He plays this role so often I truly believe being a construction worker is what he does between movie gigs. As usual he is darling in his jeans and flannel shirt, slightly opened to show off his chest, and as usual he rallies to save the day. Always a solid actor, he doesn't fail in this movie either.
Myrna Loy - strangely I've seen her in a good deal of monster flicks. I admire her ability to toss off the older woman, staid refined actress image and have a good time in her profession. Perhaps it is her age, but she always seems to bring a little stability to an otherwise lame movie.
Linda Day George played Linda Day George. It was a made for TV movie, she was a required actress. The only one missing was Patti Duke. Sorry, Linda!
Gerald Gordon, don't know him from previous work so I can't compare his performance. He played a kinda sleeze in this release, trying to bilk Myrna Loy outta her property while at the same time keeping Somers where he thinks she belongs - in bed not the conference room. Typical male chauvinist pig.
Bernie Casey, a favorite actor of mine in bit parts. He plays as Foxworth's sidekick and always gives a good performance. I'm always pleased to find him in a movie and he followed through this time.
Finally, Stacy Keach - another TV movie standby. Hell, this movie was chock full of them. Nothing remarkable about his job but nothing blase either.
This is your typical TV move. You can't fault it nor praise it. The cinematography was actually very good and the scenes flowed evenly. For a cheap, cheesy movie, there was definitely good continuity, something I always look for. I wouldn't rank it up there with The Blob or even Tarantula but it sure doesn't slither on its' belly like Titanic slime. And the teeny, tiny ants - there are just so deadly cute!
Writer Guerdon Trueblood, Director Robert Scheerer, Producers Alan Landsburg and Peter Nelson, Cinematographer Bernie Abramson and Special Effects Roy Downey. Three thumbs sideways!