Phase IV

Synopsis: Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the desert inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them. But the ants have other ideas.
Director(s): Saul Bass
Production: Paramount Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

That spring, we were all

watching the events of space

and wondering what

the final effect would be.

Astronomers argued over theory

while engineers got

pretty excited about variables

and magnetic fields.

Mystics predicted earthquakes

and the end of life

as we knew it.

When the effect came

it was almost unnoticed

because it happened

to such a small

and insignificant form of life.

One biologist,

an English man, Ernest Hubbs

saw something, got nervous

and started investigating.

While I was playing around with

number theory at the university

Hubbs was already on

to something.

Ordinary ants

of different species

were doing things

ants don't do.

Meeting, communicating.

Apparently making decisions.

By summer the rest of the world

had moved on to other things

but Hubbs kept making notes.

While the threat grew.

Only fragments

of what he knew got out

he kept most of it to himself.

So when I got into it,

I didn't know a damn thing.

"Memorandum to alf

launder smith"


national science foundation"

"committee on

biological controls."

"From E.D. Hubbs, senior fellow

coronado institute"

"subject - biological imbalance

in an upland Arizona Valley."

"Facts on hand -

traditional antagonisms,"

"amongst several ants species

have come to a dramatic halt."

"At the same time there has

been an apparent disappearance"

"of those insects

which prey on ants"

"specifically mantises,


"millipedes and spiders."

"If these conditions persist

they must inevitably"

"lead to increases

in ant population."

"Proposal - an immediate

full scale attack"

"on the threat of biological

imbalance to other life forms"

"in the subject area."

"Mode of operation -

an experiment station"

"to be built and maintained

with equipment"

"sophisticated enough

to control the problem"

"and any potential


"Personnel - one senior

scientist, myself."

"Plus one associate"

"a qualified information


"with cryptological


"In this connection

I have been impressed"

"with the recent work

of J. R. Lesko"

"at the naval under sea

centre of San Diego."

"Location of installation -"

"it is suggested

the experiment station"

"be placed in the locale"

"of the most recently observed


"Conclusions and

recommendations -"

"speed is of the essence."

This is the place.

This is the place.

This is it.

No bodies I hope.

The population moved itself out

some days ago.

We've got some pretty powerful


Just another

desert development

which did not develop.

You did your major work

applying game theory to

the language of killer whales.

Well, it seemed cheaper

than applying it to real air.

Did you actually succeed

in making positive contact

with the whales?

Only with

the emotionally disturbed.

How were you able

to determine that?

We talked.

Is that a joke?

Look, I'm sorry, I'm strictly

a pencil and paper guy

I wouldn't know the front end

of a whale


A hole in the ground.

I know that game's

your business, James,

you play them very well.

That's why you're here.

But this is a serious game.

Well, that's the best kind,

isn't it?

Wednesday, three o'clock,

further discoveries

this afternoon

on a nearby farm.

To be added to those

observed earlier.

I might have pointed them out

to Lesko.

But it would be better to

let him learn at his own pace.

There are certain

equatorial ants

that would attack anything -

insects, mammals -

anything at all that threatens

their food supply.

The smell

triggers their behavior.


They are picky eaters.

Now this thing here.

You see what we're doing,

we're running lines

from these fuel tanks

and if those ants get over

that water trap

we're gonna set fire

to this here ditch

and watch 'em all burn.

What do you think?

Done a lot of good work.

I'd say they started pulling out

three, four weeks ago

a couple of families at a time.

What else?

That's about the size of it.

I guess it must have been

some kind of infestation

but...Well, I couldn't say

for sure.

Maybe the heat

got too much for 'em.

There's a collapsed house

down there.

Well, I wouldn't know

about that.

I didn't really get to know

those people

they were...

They were city folk mainly.

Tell me about the towers.

Don't know,

wasn't there.

Of course

it's been a dry year.

You know we do get ants

in dry years.


I talked to an entomologist

up at the state department

of agriculture at one time,

he said these things

were cyclical.

They weren't talking about

those ants.

Mildred, come on out here.

That's alright.

It isn't alright.

These people will think

I've got you chained up

in there.

These gentlemen are from

the university,

they're gonna develop

a new spray for those ants.

You know what I think.

Ha! You know if she didn't have

something to worry about,

she wouldn't know what to do

with herself.

I'm afraid you're gonna have to

leave for a few days

Mr. Eldridge.


Look I...

Mr. Eldridge.

I--I--I don't understand this.

It's for your own protection.


What's this all about anyway?

Why this isn't right.

They can't just push us off--

didn't you hear

what the man said?

It's for our protection.

When do they get

their farm back?

That depends.

Friday, eight o'clock,

the zone should now be clear

of population,

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Mayo Simon

Mayo Simon is an American screenwriter, author and playwright.He is the father of the author Francesca Simon and biologist-X-Files science advisor Anne Simon. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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