KING OF THE ANTS
Los Angeles, CA. (2003) -- When it comes to breaking the rules, acclaimed director/screenwriter/producer Stuart Gordon, the unconventional mind behind such cult favorites as Re-Animator, From Beyond and Dagon, has proven himself a master. Now he's bringing his keen eye for horror to the crime genre, with the release of his latest feature film, the gritty noir thriller, King Of The Ants. An official selection at the 2003 Seattle Film Festival and based on the bestselling British novel by Charles Higson, King Of The Ants features Daniel Baldwin (Homicide: Life On The Street, John Carpenter's Vampires), Kari Wuhrer (Sliders, Eight Legged Freaks), George Wendt (Cheers, Space Truckers) and newcomer Chris McKenna (One Life To Live, In & Out)in the title role of a twisted crime caper that will leave you gasping for breath until the very last scene.
Sean Crawley (Chris McKenna) is a part-time house painter who has stumbled on the dream job of a lifetime, when beer-guzzling electrician Duke Wayne (George Wendt) introduces him to the owner of a construction company, Ray Mathews (Daniel Baldwin). Ray pays Sean five hundred dollars a week to tail a pesky accountant from City Hall who has been threatening to expose his practice of bribing city building inspectors. All is fine until Ray drunkenly tells Sean that he'll pay him an extra thirteen thousand dollars to dispose of the accountant. To everyone's surprise, Sean does it! Problem is, Ray has no intention of paying him the money. To make matters worse, Duke informs him that if he talks, they'll crush him like an ant. What both Ray and Duke are about to discover is that Sean isn't any ordinary ant.
Unfolding with the intensity of a horror film, King Of The Ants is a shockingly brutal entry to the crime noir genre. Called "a brave, abrasive, alarmingly realistic debut" by the Daily Mail, the novel, King Of The Ants, was written by British comedian Charles Higson (The Fast Show) and published in 1992. Higson also wrote the screenplay, transferring the story from London to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
Putting his trademark touch on the project, Gordon shot the film on-location throughout the Los Angeles area, including Skid Row and out in the desert near Vasquez Rock, in four weeks. Attaching well-known stars to what is essentially a low budget independent feature proved far easier than finding backing for the film. "We had a very hard time finding a company to finance it because it is so extreme; it is so dark," Gordon said in CultCuts. "It's very, very violent. And the violence is not pretty. It is really grotesque. And the thing about it is, it's about a guy who is hired to kill an innocent person, which he does, and you still like the guy." Coming to Gordon's aid was The Asylum, a feature film production and distribution company founded in 1997 by producers David Michael Latt, David Rimawi and Sherri Strain. The Asylum added King Of The Ants to its roster and the greenlight was given for production.
Gordon then turned to two old friends: Director of Photography Mac Ahlberg and Special Effects master John Vulich. As Director of Photography, Ahlberg has shot seven of Gordon's films, beginning with Re-Animator, which took the 1985 Cannes Critic's prize. Vulich's company Optic Nerve has provided special effects for such notable projects as X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the feature film Being John Malkovich. "We needed the natural, realistic kind of stuff that he does so well," says Gordon. "For instance, we needed a frozen body in this movie that gets beheaded. And it really looks believable. John and his crew were just amazing. There are moments that will make the audience jump out of their seats."
"Because of the suspense, twists and turns and horror, I think King Of The Ants is the kind of movie Hitchcock would be making today," Gordon adds. "It's my Psycho. It's the best work I've ever done."
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