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Original title: Phase IV
Fanedit title: Phase IV – The Evolution Cut
Faneditor: Last Survivor
Originally released: 1974
Fanedit release: January 2021
Original running time: 84 minutes approx
Fanedit running time: 85 minutes approx
Cut time: 3 minutes cut
Minutes Added: 4
Started edit: August 2020
Finished edit: January 2021
Synopsis and Purpose of Edit:
Phase IV is a cult sci-fi movie like no other. Often derided as a failed attempt to make an intelligent creature feature, it was to be the only feature film made by famous graphic designer Saul Bass, and is undeservedly grouped in with later 70’s B movie features such as Empire of the Ants, The Swarm and the like. To be truthful, this is similar to saying 2001: A Space Odyssey should sit alongside Battle Beyond the Stars. Paramount didn’t know what they had, and even cut Bass’ remarkable 5 minute montage style ending.
Intention… To insert the original ending which Bass intended, making a more complete experience for the story. Also, to rescore the film. I have no problem with the original score, however I really wanted to push the soundscape style approach of the music further still, hopefully making Phase IV feel more other-worldly – you could even say, alien. Therefore, music from Loscil and Jean-Michel Jarre will be used. On top of this, I have never cared much for the voiceover/narration which runs through the film. By all accounts, even Bass was not keen on it, as it spoon feeds the viewer too much - therefore this will be cut too.
The main intention of this edit is to use a new music score, and insert the original ending that Saul Bass shot. Other than that, there are only a few minor trims which I will detail here.
Also, all voiceover and narration has been removed. Bass was never that happy with this aspect of the film, and I’ve always wanted the film to succeed without this kind of “spoon feeding” to the audience.
- Cut one very small scene during the opening of the film where we are seeing the Ant colony for the first time… it’s just a transition scene which goes to black. Now instead of going to black, it just goes straight to the next shot
- As James and Hobbs are meeting with the family at their home to warn them to evacuate, have cut the scene where Kendra waves goodbye to them due to the somewhat corny nature of it which feels more like a shampoo advert
- After her family have been killed by the ants and Kendra opens the cellar door which was keeping her safe, have removed the zoom-in to Hobbs, as it appears unnatural and forced
- Trimmed the scene where James talks to Kendra to calm her down and says let’s get you some breakfast… instead of seeing her then go with James and get a drink, the scene now cuts to James immediately being distracted by more news on their studies by Hobbs
- Cut Kendra’s line “go away…. Please go away”, after she wakes up and sees a solitary ant
- Slightly trimmed and re-ordered some shots as Hobbs is having a bit of breakdown as he tries to find one ant in their lab
- Cut the scene where James comforts Kendra after Hobbs had his breakdown, where he had basically blamed her for the ants knowing what they are up to. The scene just seems to a bit too fluffy and clumsy
- After James says “like rats in a maze”, he goes on to talk out his exact thought process as to what’s going on.. however, this feels like needless exposition, as by this point the viewer should be on-board and able to deduct things for themselves. Therefore, have trimmed this scene to remove most of this.
- Slight cut to Bass’ original ending, as Kendra leaves the lab and goes looking for the ants and literally starts to talk to them, just before they start biting her toes. Have now cut her talking to them
- Another very minor cut. In Bass’ original montage ending, have removed one shot where the ant is superimposed over Kendra and James
16:9 Anamorphic. MP4 .
Software used: Vegas Pro 16, Vocal Remover, iZotope RX-7 Audio Editor, DVD Fab.
and everyone who has shown an interest in the edit on the forum