Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Swarm


What a cast! Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Lee Grant, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Jose Ferrer, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray, and Henry Fonda! And by the end, only the first four are alive. It was clearly a paycheck movie for most of these stars. And don’t forget, trillions and trillions of super-smart African killer bees!

My favorite review quote, from Wiki, is from Richard Velt in the Wilmington Morning Star: “The Swarm may not be the worst movie ever made. I’d have to see them all to be sure. It’s certainly as bad as any I’ve seen.” Well, I’ve seen thousands of movies, and while I can’t say it’s the worst of all that I’ve seen, it’s certainly a contender. It is so amateurish in the execution that I got the impression that no one but the actors had ever made a motion picture before. And the poor actors were at the mercy of an incompetent set designer, cameraman, lighting director … the whole behind-the-scene crew.

Worst of all was the director, Irwin Allen, the “Master of disaster.” He made (but did not direct) two fun disaster pictures: The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. Possibly a better director might have made something of this horrible mess … but then there was the totally stupid screenplay, which would have needed rewriting from top to bottom. Sterling Silliphant, a man with some solid screen credits, wrote it from a book by Arthur Herzog, a pretty trashy novelist and journalist. There’s really no point in getting into the multiple stupidities and howlingly bad lines of dialogue and all the rest. This one stinks in all respects.