QUEER/ART/FILM: Them! (presented by Gronk)

A gleeful insectoid image of apocalypse then, the B-Movie-with-a-message Them! stands as one of the foundational films from the 1950s cycle of monster movies which radiated anxiety about the effects of atomic weapons. But such films about freaks and perversions of nature have long also had a queer resonance, especially for audiences to whom the Eisenhower-era humans onscreen are the ones who really seem like alien drones. Them!’s giant ant creature effects now look charmingly like craft projects gone awry, as they prey upon residents of the New Mexico desert, and then nest in the catacombs beneath the L.A. River — what has this mad science wrought!? Nothing less than inspiration for SoCal art legend Gronk, a founding member of the seminal collective ASCO (focus of a Pacific Standard Time LACMA exhibition) and a visionary muralist, painter, and opera designer in his own right — who joins us to present Them!, and to discuss the impact classic monster movies have had on his own body of work.
Dir. Gordon Douglas, 1954, 35mm, 94 min.

Watch the trailer for “Them”!