Phase IV (1974) Movie Script

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,
we can proceed
with the next step.
The facility is completely
self contained,
except for
a primary power source
and the generator in our trucks
supplies this,
the experiment has begun.
What's wrong?
Well, I guess they're not ready
to play yet.
Dr. Hubbs,
there's already been
a twelve day over run
which averages out at 36%
when projected over the course
of the total program.
The controller would like
to get the final figure
before the fiscal period ends
on the 14th.
Shall we put you down
for one more week?
I'm sorry,
this is not a precise business.
Well, can you give us
an estimate?
We cannot study the ants
until they make an appearance.
Can we put you down
for ten more days?
This is not
a controlled experiment,
in our judgment another
occurrence in this area
is highly probable.
But we cannot command
the ants to appear.
Well is there something
you could do to hurry them up?
We have been thinking
about that.
You know, of course,
there is concern
over possible outbreaks
in other areas?
Ah, I share that concern.
My associate, Mr. Lesko,
has something to say.
Listen, I want you
to do me a favor -
I want you to call Miss Dobson,
6-6-2-0-7-9-9 in Los Angeles.
Tell her not to take
the plane to Vegas on thursday.
Tell her it'll be
a couple more weeks and...
She'll hear from me, okay?
Did you say
a couple of weeks?
That's right.
Mr. Lesko, that's not
going to be possible,
let's see some activity.
Hi, there?
They got the horse,
clete, light the fire.
Kendra. Oh, my god.
can't you something?
Oh, my god.
Clete, get over here.
Can't you do something?
Give me the gun.
No, no, no.
Let me go.
Clete, get her in the house,
get her in the house.
Don't kill him.
Don't kill him.
All set?
Keep down now.
That's right. Hang on.
Now this is really interesting.
You see what I do is I get to
the parameters of the problem
by breaking down the movement of
a vector of a single anthill.
Now, I don't know what
they're doing, I don't care,
I'm just breaking down
their simple basic move.
Stop, go.
That's it period, okay?
Now I take my ant signals,
I run them through
the digitizer,
I record them on tape,
I write them down and
I search for a correlation
between what they say
and what they do.
Now assumption.
What we're seeing and hearing
are commands
being directed
at the central mass.
They warned us.
I forgot to turn out the light.
Stop! Cut it out!
What's the matter?
Cut it out!
Come back here.
Goddamn it, will you sit...
They're all over the place.
Clete, take care of the women.
Get some help.
Now I make various adjustments,
make up for time lag
and a couple of other things
don't worry about it.
Then I come up with...
Ha, are you ready for this?
I come up with a positive
correlation on the order of 80%
between this little squiggle
and the command we commonly
know as stop.
And a positive correlation
between that little squiggle
and go.
And that means
these little mothers
talk to each other.
Now I think if I--
hey, the lights.
They've got into
the generator. Don't move,
the back up unit
cuts in automatically.
I'm going to counter
with 100% yellow.
You're letting some get away.
Maybe they've learnt something.
Come over here, James,
this is really fascinating.
People are dead
back there.
Yes, a tragedy.
I don't understand it,
they accepted the order,
why should they come here?
Irrational behavior,
very sad.
Now just look at this, James.
Consider the execution
of this maneuver,
in order to explode
the generator,
they had to create
a living chain--
listen, Hubbs, those people
are dead, don't you understand?
People get killed sometimes.
I think this yellow
should hold it's potency
for three or four days.
We can
start collecting now.
Little sons of bitches.
No, no, no.
They're not individuals,
they are individual cells.
Tiny functioning parts
of the whole.
Think of a society, james,
with perfect harmony,
perfect altruism
and self sacrifice,
perfect division of labor,
organized for preordained roles.
Think of the building,
elaborate and complex structures
according to plans
that they know nothing of,
but can execute perfectly.
Think of their ability to evolve
and adapt
in ways that are so beautiful,
and still so unknown
and all contained
in one simple form.
So defenseless
in the individual,
and so powerful in the mass.
Let's begin with
the first behavioral series,
heat, cold, isolations,
slow pressure,
and threat.
Mantises prey on ants,
as you know.
Now if--
if you're still with us, James.
When are we gonna
get her out of here?
That's going to be
a little difficult, I'm afraid.
Um... turn on the microphone,
Call in and have them send out
a helicopter.
I'm afraid the bureaucrats
will be rather unhappy
with all of our casualties.
at this end of the maze,
the ants are at the other.
What are we gonna do
with the girl?
What is your concern with her?
She's in shock,
we can't just... she's a kid.
Don't shout.
This is a problem that
will have to be dealt with
over the next few days
until we're finished.
If you won't call the base,
I will.
I'm very much afraid that that
will end our mission.
Screw our mission.
I've finished eating.
You know,
I don't know your name.
Oh, Kendra.
I'm Jim.
That's Dr. Hubbs.
Come in, come on.
You sort of had a close call
out there, didn't you?
How do you feel?
Well, I'm ready to go home now.
Um... I'll send
a message today.
Somebody will come along
and pick you up tomorrow,
if that's convenient.
They killed my horse.
Kendra, I'm sorry.
Stop it, stop it.
Back away.
Don't touch anything.
It's alright.
That should do it.
You've been bitten.
So we thought if you
knocked down one of the towers,
taking proper precautions
of course,
you might get
an interesting reaction.
We'll consider it.
Just an idea doctor.
Oh, one other thing.
We got a report about a family
in your vicinity;
you haven't contacted
any civilians, have you?
Monday, 2:00 a.m.
Lesko continues
to make progress,
deciphering the ant language
from the tapes recorded
during the first skirmish.
If he maintains this pace,
we should be ready
for their next move.
It's a rather crude language,
I think if I keep building up
my library of sound words
I might even...
Strike up a conversation
with them.
Of course then the ants
would have to come back.
We'd have to be here
for a while.
When's the helicopter coming?
Oh, it'll be here.
I'm sorry about that.
Oh, not your fault.
Listen, you really wanna see
Another way of visualizing
their signals.
Watch this.
I don't have the faintest idea
what it means.
Remember me?
Oh, y--y--yeah!
How do you feel?
That's good.
H--h--how is um...
dr. hubbs?
Oh, he'll survive.
I'm really sorry about that I...
Listen, if I were you
I'd have popped those ants
pretty good myself.
You know
you've got a mean swing.
Well, the main thing is
you're alright.
We'll get you out of here today.
What's the matter?
Don't tell me
you like this place?
My grandparents are dead,
aren't they?
Yeah, they are.
Don't you have parents?
Well, you must be hungry.
Come on,
I'll get you some breakfast.
Follow me through
the hardware department.
Can I ask you a question?
Yeah, sure, go ahead.
What do you do here?
Just a little research into
statistical probabilities.
It must be interesting.
Well, we've got powdered eggs,
powdered milk,
powdered juice,
dehydrated bacon,
just like home.
Are you alright?
Oh, yeah.
See you in a little while.
Good morningJames.
As you can see
we're under siege.
What the hell's that?
It's more than
reflected sunlight.
Our temperature is already up
five degrees.
There's another
interesting detail.
How do you suppose those ants
managed to build
on a poisonous strip where they
absolutely cannot live?
Did you say five degrees?
In an hour and a half.
And of course the sun's
not yet at full strength.
Now watch this.
An hour and a half?
Oh, you must watch this,
this is fascinating, there.
Beautiful adaptation,
isn't it?
We challenge with
yellow chemistry,
they respond with
yellow creatures.
We're gonna fry in here.
what do they want?
What are their goals?
They have no goals.
Well, you saw how
they disabled the truck.
Listen, Hubbs,
I came down here
to get in a couple of weeks
of science in the sun,
I did not sign up for a war
against a bunch of goddamn ants.
And furthermore, why the hell
did you leave the truck
out there in the first place?
Well, I had to get them
to attack us, didn't I?
They're rather intelligent,
you know.
I thought you'd observed that
geometric pattern in the field?
You mean you saw it?
Of course I did.
Why didn't you say something?
Why didn't you?
Well, I didn't think you were
smart enough to appreciate it.
With all your high class
bug talk.
I was afraid that
you'd be terrified and run away,
and I need you.
Well, you're right about that.
When's the helicopter coming?
we are faced with a power
that has appeared
and is exerting itself.
We have the opportunity
to study it,
to learn from it, to teach it
its limitations.
We can, in a word,
educate it.
You said you called.
We can try the blue, of course,
but they'd only readapt again.
So we have to consider
other alternatives.
You mean you didn't call?
It is absolutely vital that
we give them the opportunity
to try their strength
against ours,
and learn from its consequences.
I'm gonna call in, hubbs.
And I'm gonna tell them not only
to take that girl out of here,
I'm gonna tell them to take me
out of here too.
You wanna call?
You're just as fascinated
by this challenge as I am.
We're cut off.
Then our success
will be all the sweeter.
Sunday, one o'clock,
the battle is on,
lesko is preparing
the counteraction
I have indicated.
The air conditioner
is being adjusted
to take account
of the temperature rise.
Human beings can exist
in temperatures of 120 degrees
or higher.
But our computer shuts down
at 90.
You wanna see
what we're doing?
Come on, I'll show you,
it's interesting.
The name of the game today
is king of the hill.
You see over there?
Now we wanna knock them down
before they burn us out, okay?
What's that?
White sound.
That's every sound in the world
all pushed together
to make one really
terrific noise
which we're broadcasting
to those mounds out there.
And that's what it looks like
as we send it out.
Now when that sound
gets out to those mounds,
it bounces right back here
and winds up down there.
Something's missing.
One of the sounds we sent out
didn't come back.
Now let's just see if we can
find out what that sound is.
There it is.
Now that's the sound we're gonna
broadcast to those mounds.
And when we do, interesting
things better happen.
If you think that's loud for us
think about how those ants
are gonna feel.
That'll do it.
They're going crazy.
Damn air conditioner.
I'm afraid I'm feeling rather--
It's on fire.
Get away from it.
Get out of the way.
I just... I can't believe it.
To know our plans,
our strength,
our weaknesses.
Even the one machine
that everything else depends on.
How could they know?
This is impossible.
They knew.
I am choosing one of
my less painful moments
to record these notes.
Our equipment
only functions now
for a few hours at night.
Lesko believes
we're being allowed this time
for some purpose.
A hypothesis, I do not share.
If this were so
it would raise questions
I had not considered.
"Transfer to..."
"Nag tape unit three."
"Go straight six units."
"Right 120 degrees"
"four units."
"Right 60 degrees"
"four units."
"Right 120 degrees"
"six units."
What are you doing?
What are you doing?
I'm doing something my way.
I'm sending a message
to the ants.
Yes, I've been thinking
about that.
The conditioning process
must be working.
But they're not all affected
as yet.
They must be informed
of their losses
and their suffering
so they can draw
the appropriate conclusions.
Where is your message?
On the plotter.
This is no message.
Mathematics is
the universal language
among intelligent creatures.
If there's an intelligence there
I want it to know
there's an intelligence here.
Go away.
Please go away.
Hubbs: We're reviewing data.
Previous analysis show...
Do you wanna drink this?
Clear, they failed to achieve
They will learn
we've made up our mind.
How did they know?
How did they know?
Kendra: Jim! Jim!
Jim: What's going on
back there?
Hubbs. Hubbs.
Come on, come on.
I am not helpless,
I will not be humiliated.
Got him!
I'm sorry.
Come on, come on.
Could you hold me
for a minute?
If I was irrational during
the heat of the day,
I apologize.
Why don't they kill us?
Why roast us in here all day,
dare us to come out at night?
Why play these games?
What do they want?
I've been thinking about
among certain insects.
Take it easy.
Try to get some sleep.
In every ant colony...
Workers, winged males
and the queen.
Ants are organized
by the queen.
Keeping her alive.
She's the heart and soul
of their lives.
She's at the centre.
It is she who speaks.
If she died,
discipline, organization
would crumble.
The war's over, hubbs.
They have the power.
Only hope now is if they answer
our message in the morning.
Convince them
we're worth keeping alive.
I think I could locate the queen
and kill her.
Lock the tracker onto her voice
when she speaks.
What makes you think
she'd speak to you?
What is it?
Ha-ha, it's just a...
Bare in mind
we still have our hard suits.
Yeah, two of them.
They're sending back my message.
Hubbs, there's more.
What does it mean?
What the hell does it mean?
A circle with a dot.
Now I know how a rat feels
in a maze.
Rats in a maze.
It's almost like
a controlled experiment
in which we are the subjects.
Find out which rat
is the smartest.
The strongest.
An intelligence test.
Could the circle be this place?
And what does the dot represent?
Could the dot be a person?
Someone they want.
Who could they want?
They want somebody?
I think so.
But why would they want
To talk to them.
You mean they...
They might be angry at someone
who did them some harm?
What would they do
with that person?
I don't know.
Would they let the others
go free?
Come here.
I believe
I've located the queen.
She's in there.
Oh, sweet to walk
In the pilgrims way
Leaning on
the everlasting arms
Oh, how bright the path
Grows from day to day
Leaning on the everla--
Where are the grenades?
Used up when you destroyed
the towers.
All of them?
Then we must devise
something else.
James, please I...
My boots I...
Would you please,
I can't...
You're gonna walk out of here?
Trek miles through the desert?
Destroy a colony full of
poisonous ants
and a deadly queen?
You can't even
get your boots on.
Come on,Hubbs, sit down.
What we're gonna do
is send another message.
You must go!
You must show them
we will not...
Man will not give in.
Did I tell you I figured out
their first message?
The dot is you.
They want you.
And they shall soon have me.
I'm sorry,Hubbs,
it's not gonna happen your way.
She's there.
That hill, the queen.
Hubbs, you can't do it.
Now come on, come on!
Goddamn you.
I would still like
to believe that given time
we could have come
to an understanding.
Some rational accommodation
of interests,
some agreement.
But that's not the way
it's going to be.
I've made some calculations
about their rate of expansion
using their intelligence and
their powers of organization,
and their network
of communications,
their poisons.
Their ability to adapt
I believe that after
this test run now
they'll move rather quickly
into desert areas.
Taking over the countryside
then laying siege to towns
and cities.
I believe they will learn
as they advance,
anticipating our moves and
continue to stay a move ahead.
We have only one chance,
the counter attack
suggested by doctor Hubbs.
A direct assault
on their queen.
Jesus, I wish it wasn't me.
There you are.
They wanted...
We knew then,
we were being changed
and made part of their world.
We didn't know
for what purpose.
But we knew we would be told.