The Deadly Mantis features a great monster, well-paced plot and more information about the Distant Early Warning Line than you'll know what to do with!
The Deadly Mantis is a movie about the U.S. military battling a giant insect. I found myself in a similar situation this past summer. Remember back in the 80s when the United States tried to free the hostages in Iran but instead the helicopters crashed in a sand storm? That's kind of how my mission ended.
This past summer, I was happily navigating my riding lawnmower (waving to neighbors and humming the theme to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) when I spotted a swarm of insects just a few yards in front of me. I thought, “Wow. Those are a lot of mosquitoes.” As I rode closer, I thought, “Those are big mosquitoes! Waitaminuit... those are ground wasps!”
Quickly swerving away, I could see them rising from the ground becoming a black cloud of pure hatred. Their tough little bodies colliding into one another like a venomous cuisinart.
Having read about how to handle this situation, I was prepared. I went to the garage and filled a small paper cup with gasoline. Then I found a small piece of plywood and a heavy jug. The idea being you wait until dusk when it's cooler and pour the gasoline into the bee hole, cover the hole with the plywood (with the weight of the jug on top) and the fumes will kill the bees overnight.
I waited until dusk to begin what I called Operation: Fuming Mad. Since the bees were not expecting me (I hadn't texted them or anything), I had no reason to fear. I would quickly pour the gas, drop the board on the hole, place the jug and then run away as fast as I could.
As I headed for the hole, my heart began to pound as I imagined thousands of wasps covering my entire body like a beekeeper suit. I got within 5 feet of the hole when a wasp buzzed past my ear. I scattered the gas across the lawn, tossed the plywood board like a frisbee (I think it landed in a pine grove), dropped the jug and ran away as fast as I could. As the wind whistled past my ears, I decided war was not the answer and that it's better to compromise. I'm sure my daughter will make friends at her new school.
The Deady Mantis (1957)
Sir Issac Newton is such a douche. No, really – listen to this. So he comes up with some idea about physics which he immediately deems “laws.” Actually, he came up with THREE of them. I think the first two are, “don't run with scissors” and “never let them see you sweat.” But according to the narrator of The Deadly Mantis, it's the third law of physics (“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”) that's responsible for thawing the mantis from it's icy prison in the Arctic Circle. But that makes no sense. So obviously, there must be a FOURTH law of physics that Newton kept all to himself which states, “A volcano erupting in the Antarctic will thaw an iceberg in the Arctic and release a giant monster.” Hey, Newton – thanks for keeping that little secret all to yourself! No, it's OK – we'll deal with the deadly mantis. You just focus on baking those fig cookies of yours. Douche.
|Did you know that when volcanoes erupt they become a fireball like an exploding gasoline truck and then later imitate the sound of thunder?
The Deadly Mantis begins with the camera panning sloooowly across a map of North America. The camera then pans sloooowly over to the Atlantic Ocean, then crawls sloooowly down to the Antarctic Circle. I can just imagine back in 1957 -- all those kids packed in a crowded matinee all hopped up on Pepsi-Cola and Milk Duds waiting to see the giant praying mantis they were promised on the movie poster and what do they get? SCHOOL IN SLOW MOTION.
Then I'm jolted awake by learning that there are volcanoes in Antarctica! And they even have stock footage to prove it! A narrator says, “For every action, there is an opposite Reaction.” Oh, no – we're going back to the map again! This time it's panning to the north and this time I know where we're headed – the arctic circle! This is gonna take forever! The whiskers in my beard begin to turn gray as we pass by the Weddell Sea. By the time the camera pans over Greenland, my eyesight has deteriorated from 20/20 to 20/30 vision. Hey, movie – you know where else there are volcanoes? THE ARCTIC!
|It seems like you can't even leave your house anymore without having to listen to another Rose Royce song.
At long last we reach the point where the movie should have opened -- the North Pole. Then we're treated to some stock footage taken back in the 1920s that's so old, the Arctic actually had ice!
We see ice containing a giant praying mantis frozen in suspended animation. As the ice around it thaws, we see...soap suds! I've told those Eskimos to stop using laundry detergents containing phosphates! But do they listen? No-uk.
One of the reasons I enjoy 1950s B-movies so much is that I never know what I'll see next. All of a sudden, whatever momentum this movie had comes screeching to a halt so that we can learn all about radar! (That's right kids...head back to the concession stand!)
Perhaps most important, I learned that radar is an anagram which does NOT stand for, “Really Anesthetic Data that Aspires me to Regurgitate”. The radar lessons seem to go on forever. By the time they explain the Dew Line, my ears would rather hear the ear-shattering clang of an aluminum ladder falling on a sidewalk. Although I had to chuckle when they showed the men building the infrastructure in northern Canada and the narrator says, “While some are busy laying pipe...” (I suppose the Army Chore of Engineers has to keep warm somehow.)
After months of work, the base codenamed Red Eagle One is complete. It's the front line to the new radar system designed as an early warning system in case of a Soviet missile attack. In 1957, an early warning sounded like this: Russian missiles are headed toward America! Everyone under your school desks!
The action begins a little farther north at an outpost named Weather Four where two unsuspecting soldiers follow something on their radar. Suddenly, their window implodes and the men are blasted by white confetti! Are they being attacked by Rip Taylor?! Oh wait - that's supposed to be snow.
A passing plane spots the wrecked outpost and reports back to Red Eagle One. Where our hero, Colonel Joe Parkman, receives the message over a 1950s intercom the size of a microwave oven.
They try to contact Weather Four but there's no response. Col. Parkman flies a Cessna to the wrecked outpost to check things out. The two men are missing and Parkman discovers a giant, three-toed foot print. The identity of the culprit is obvious -- Parkman's looking for a 200-ft. Rhode Island Red.
No sooner does Col. Parkman return to Red Eagle One when suddenly they pick up something on radar. Quickly! Scramble stock-footage fighter planes! After an exhaustive HALF-MINUTE search, the pilot says, “Bogey has disappeared...returning to base.” That's it?! You're packing it in already?! For all you know, there's a 100-ton Cornish Game Hen on the loose plucking radar operators from their weather stations like fat, juicy nightcrawlers! Why are the planes returning to base so soon? Are their planes equipped with motorcycle gas tanks? It took longer for this movie to show us the map!
Because noone is watching the skies, it should come as no surprise that in the very next scene a C-47 transport plane is attacked. The plane rocks violently from side to side. Our vantage point is inside the cockpit with two pilots. After the plane is attacked, a third crewman who was working in back of the plane suddenly stumbles into the cockpit with blood on his head and dies. How did a gigantic mantis kill this guy in the back without destroying the whole plane?! Did the mantis, using its excellent binocular vision, see the guy through the plane window, punch a hole in the top of the plane and then bash his head in with his claw/poker/thingy?! Did the mantis think, “I bet I could stab that guy right in the head without even altering my flight path.” What a dick that bug would have to be!
Anyway, as it turns out the C-47 has actually crashed. Hmm...this is serious. A situation like this may call for The Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Perhaps they could send someone to...aw nuts, it's Parkman again. Col. Parkman's the CSI of giant mantis victims.
B-movie budgets the way they were in 1957, the "crash site" isn't what you'd expect from a plane crash. Instead of a smoldering fuselage, it looks likes teenagers vandalized one of those aluminum tool sheds.
The crew of the C-47 have also vanished and Parkman finds another large, 3-toed footprint nearby. While investigating the plane's cabin Parkman finds a large object, shaped like a beak, about 5 feet long. They bring the appendage back to Red Eagle One for examination and one guys says, “That point's as sharp as a needle!” Yes, in the same way a banana is as sharp as a needle or a wooden shoe.
Perhaps because of this offbeat diagnosis, they decide to send the object to General Ford at CONAD (the predecessor of NORAD) in Colorado Springs. CONAD stands for CONtinental Air Defense command (a vast improvement over their original name idea, Government ONgoing Air Defense, or GONAD).
General Ford, in turn, takes it to the Pentagon. There, a group of eggheads study the object under controlled conditions where scientific research, experiments and measurements can be performed. That's right -- a conference table.
The eggheads tell General Ford the only person who may be able to identify the object is paleontologist Nedrick Jackson of the Museum of Natural History. And at that, the meeting is adjourned. That's it?! That's the whole meeting? Gen. Ford gathered all those guys at the Pentagon for a 5-minute meeting? If I were those guys, I'd at least ask where the coffee and donuts are!
So Ned Jackson is called to the Pentagon to take a look at the object. With the aid of a large magnifying glass (Great idea! Why didn't those other guys think of bringing one of those?) Ned deduces that the object is definitely not bone, but rather a segment of exo-skeleton. Ned will know more when the blood tests come back because an insect's blood contains no red corpuscles. And at that, their meeting is adjourned! Speaking as someone who hates meetings I have to say I love Gen. Ford's style! This guy must get through a hundred mini-meetings every day!
|We can't afford to role two cameras. Just shoot some cutaway reactions and we'll edit them in later. Nobody will notice the difference.
Ned returns to the museum, troubled that he wasn't able to identify the fragment. Working alongside Ned Jackson is the museum's fetching female magazine editor, Marge Blaine. Ned doodles what the object looks like for Marge on a piece of paper and she identifies what a room full of professors couldn't -- “It looks like the spur on the leg of an insect.” Holy crap! Imagine how good Marge would be at Pictionary!
Ned pays a visit to Professor Gunther, a pathologist. Ned tells the doctor (and I quote) “Doctor, your field of pathology is limited. While my field tries to take in the universe!” (Apparently paleontology is also the study of sounding like an A-hole.)
Ned continues to answer his own questions by saying things like, “It could be a grasshopper but grasshoppers aren't meat eaters.” (C'mon, Ned...a praying mantis is.) “Plus, they found long skid marks in the snow as if it came in for a landing.” (C'mon, Ned...a praying mantis can fly.)
Ned receives information that the blood sample contains no red corpuscles! It IS an insect. So the obvious conclusion is that the object is a broken spur from the leg of a zeppelin-sized prehistoric praying mantis which was frozen in a state of suspended animation, even though the mantis is cold-blooded and could never survive the freeze and is so big it's exo-skeleton would collapse under it's own weight. In conclusion...an answer that finally MAKES SENSE!
Ned goes on to add that the female mantis is larger than the male, has a heavier abdomen and destroys her mate after he's fulfilled his function in life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the identity of the perpatrator:
While all these meetings are going on, the giant mantis flies over Greenland. It looks down and spots a tribe of Inuit and thinks, “Mmmm! I'm gonna have me some Eskimo Pie!” The mantis lands in their village along the water and dozens of frightened Inuit take to their kayaks to, as they say, "surf some stitched seal." Years from now, having never before seen a praying mantis, the Inuit will pass down stories about the day their tribe was attacked by a magical, whale skeleton with penguin arms and igloos for eyes.
The next day in Washington, the newspaper headline reads, “GREENLAND ESKIMOS TERRORIZED” Wow, that's some fast news-gathering for 1957! There's even a full page story! Is someone at the Washington Globe receiving RSS news feeds through their ham radio?
At the Pentagon, a gaggle of reporters surround Gen. Ford and Ned, demanding some answers. The general says, “I can't answer your questions because I don't want to cause a national panic,” and the reporters walk away! Uh, guys, I'm no journalist, but I think you've got a story brewing. That's like your doctor saying, “I'd like to share my diagnosis with you, but I'm afraid you'd completely freak out!”
The air force asks Ned to join Col. Parkman in the arctic and Marge weasels her way into becoming his assistant/photographer. When they reach Red Eagle One, Ned and Marge are met by Col. Parkman and a few enlisted men who have clearly not seen a woman in quite some time – especially one that looks like Marge (played by Alix Talton, a former Miss Atlanta).
They land the Cessna and measure the distance between the two mantis footprints – 8 feet! Then you know what they do? They get back in the plane! They flew out there just to measure? They could've done that waiting for Ned to arrive in the arctic! Maybe something like this:
Hi, I'm Ned. I'm going to visit you in the arctic.
Great. Anything we can do in the meantime?
Yeah, send some poor schmuck out in the cold to measure the distance between those footprints!
Good idea! I know just who to send – Percival! I hate that guy!
While Col. Parkman is away on his measuring expedition, we see what the men at Red Eagle One do while their commander is away – dance with each other! (Boy, it HAS been a long time since they've been around women!)
Ned, Marge and Col. Parkman return to Red Eagle One, but unbeknownst to anyone, the giant mantis has found their camp! Red Eagle One is about to become “red” for a different reason!
In the next scene, the towering mantis sneaks up on Red Eagle One. Now I know what you're thinking: Why aren't there any guards on lookout? After all, a plane has been downed! Soldiers are missing! But there's one thing you're forgetting -- there's a DANCE going on! Do you know what that means? It means a lot of plans have been made. Soldiers have sent invitations to other soldiers. You think a dish like Corp. Hansen's going to just sit around waiting for his walkie talkie to squelch?
The giant mantis approaches the building and silently peeks in on Marge! I have a real problem with this scene! What I want to know is: What is up with all this monster voyeurism?
Now look, deadly mantis – it's one thing to grab us by the neck with your razor-sharp mandibles and eat us alive. But I will not be ogled like I'm just some piece of meat. So which is it: Are you a praying mantis, or preying on my man tits?
While you ponder that question, mantis, we'll get back to your movie where Marge has just screamed at the very sight of you (who can blame her, you pervert). This prompts the alarm and dozens of soldiers grab their rifles and head for the door. Where they went after that is anyone's guess because only TWO of them actually confront the mantis outside (That explains the Air Force's previous motto: “The two, the proud, the Air Force.”)
After defeating his two assilants, the mantis takes flight. The jets scramble! Radar searches the sky, but they can't locate it. After nine hours of searching, we see why they haven't spotted the mantis – it flew to Italy! But as I watch it attack a small fishing boat and its Italian crew, I can't help but be a little offended by the Italian stereotypes. My grandmother came from the old country. The Old Country Buffet. I gave her a gift card for her birthday.
But the Italian clichés in this scene really roast my Risotto! For example, when the mantis attacks the fishing boat, what's the first thing the Italian fisherman yells out in terror? That's right – “Mama Mia!” Then he calls out to his friend, “Angelo!” I'm surprised they're not paddling a gondola and throwing meatballs at it. So I'm warning you, b-movies -- don't even think about stereotyping blacks, Mexicans or 1950's housewives unless you want America to boycott Afro Sheen, tacos, and nylons and Hershey bars!
But I'm sort of glad for the mantis because it finally found a nice, warm, Mediterranean climate where a cold-blooded mantis belongs. Plus, it won't be far from Amsterdam (I bet that place is crawling with delicious bed bugs.)
Back at the Red Eagle One, Col. Parkman receives a phone call (Ah! This must be the Italian Parliament on the phone saying they've spotted the mantis). No, it's a radar station in the middle of Canada saying they've spotted a UFO. A minute later, another report says it's been spotted flying over Newfoundland! How is the mantis getting around so fast?
Oh, I bet I know...
Then Col. Parkman says the mantis is heading south toward the tropics where it came from. OK, then how the heck did it end up frozen at the North Pole? I like this movie because instead of explaining why things happen, they simply ask wouldn't, couldnt', shouldn't.
Why WOULDN'T a praying mantis be that big in prehistoric times.
Why COULDN'T an insect survive after being frozen?
Why SHOULDN'T we make a movie with a praying mantis puppet and a ton of arctic stock film?
Hold everything -- it's time for one of my favorite b-movie ingredients...spinning newspaper headlines! The mantis has made news in such papers as The Maine Herald which declares “Air Force Alerted!” (The Air Force has been on the case since the Arctic Circle. Let's step up the news gathering, Herald.)
The New Orleans Globe proclaims that curfew hours have been imposed. Yes, it's important that people not be outdoors during certain hours. Those hours being when a giant mantis is about to eat you.
But my favorite headline comes from the Washington Observer which reports – “Congressman demands investigation!” Let's see, Congressman...they've already called in the Air Force, the Pentagon, CONAD and the nation's top minds to tackle the problem. But maybe the Congressman is requesting an OLD-FASHIONED police investigation. Later, a police lieutenant will tell his officers, “When you guys have wrapped up that purse snatcher case, I want you to check out this “deadly mantis” character. Seems he's been going around eating people. I want a list of anyone he might hang out with. In fact, send a squad car to Jeffrey Dahmer's house.”
In the next scene, I learned something I never knew before (hence, the “learning”): Between the years 1944-59, the U.S. relied on the Ground Observer Core -- civilians who volunteered to "watch the skies" for enemy aircraft. In this movie, our attention-deficit military will rely heavily on these civilians.
Remember at the Pentagon when Gen. Ford told reporters he didn't want to start a panic? Well, Gen. Ford and Ned appear on TV and radio and tell the nation there's a giant praying mantis on the loose that has already brought down an airplane. (I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little panicked right now).
Parkman goes on to say, "It will probably be one of you civilians who sees the mantis first." (Don't expect to see too much after that.)
For children watcing TV and for those with heart conditions, Col. Parkman displays the giant spur which on a normal sized mantis is almost too small to be seen but the one they found is 5 feet long (Get your heart pills, grandma.)
And for a terror dessert, Parkman holds up a large picture of a praying mantis, then holds up a small toy plane to show how large the mantis is. And just in case anyone is still listening and not trampling the elderly to get out of town, Col. Parkman says you'll know it's the mantis if you hear a loud sound like a squadron of bomber planes!!! That's what he says – it will sound like a SQUADRON OF BOMBER PLANES! Holy crap, Parkman -- Are you the WORST at not starting a panic or what?!
Parkman reminds everyone to report any usual flying object. Well, yeah – wouldn't they report that anyway? Like somebody watching the sky is thinking, “Lets see...birds...stray balloon...Russian mig...rainbow...nope, no mantis.”
The flying mantis is spotted by an aircraft carrier which launches fighter planes from its massive deck. The strangest part about this scene is that, despite all this action, there's no exciting background music playing. Normally in b-movies there's a blaring, brass section if someone opens a can of soup.
The jets shoot the mantis with rockets and he flies lower into a cloud bank. The pilot says, “Target is down...cannot confirm kill due to overcast.” So, you know what he says next? (I bet you do!) “Returning to carrier, over and out.” Sure, why not. You're only engaged in battle with a menace that threatens the entire world. Why WOULD you fly around some more to make sure the giant mantis is dead? I'll bet that somehow the pilot made himself a nice, relaxing cup of green tea right there in the cockpit, played some Johnny Mathis and then set his seat to vibrating, heat massage.
But in contrast to the military not taking any time to deal with the mantis, Ned and Marge have come up with a way to waste an ENDLESS amount of time. Check this out: Ned and Marge have a ticker tape news device in their office. They're reading all police reports from all over America. All of them. Whether it's a downed power line in Walla Walla, Washington or a lost puppy in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Marge and Ned are on the case...Hey, WAITAMINUIT! What happened to the plan?! You guys said the mantis was riding the gulf stream south toward the tropics. The people in this movie have the attention span of a moth! My favorite part of this scene is when Col. Parkman and Gen. Ford drop in to see how things are going, Ned says, we call this idea “Operation Marge” because it's all her idea! (Quick thinking, Ned!) FYI – You at home can also incorporate "Operation Marge" into your own life. For example, instead of planning meals, cook everything you have in your fridge and then decide which of it you feel like eating. The "Operation Marge" possibilities are endless.
|Marge proves you can be the editor of the magazine for the Musuem of Natural History and still not know geography.
After a long night of accomplishing nothing, Col. Parkman offers to drive Marge home and she accepts (wink wink – somebody's looking to lay a frothy, egg sack tonight!)
Driving down a foggy road, Ned and Marge hear a radio report that a train has mysteriously derailed just a few miles away. Arriving at the scene, Parkman studies the wreckage for a good 7 seconds before concluding, “It's just an accident. Let's go.” If he had looked around for 8 seconds, he would've noticed another giant chicken print on the ground. Well, thanks for taking the time you two! Does everybody in this movie have puppet shows in their heads?
On a nearby foggy road, a city bus pulls over to let off a nice lady. As the bus begins to leave, it's suddenly attacked by a fog-enshrouded giant mantis! The mantis rolls the bus and dines on passengers like it's a box of animal crackers.
As Col. Parkman and Marge continue their drive, they hear on the radio, “This just in: A bus has been mysteriously overturned just 5 minutes ago!” I have to give credit where credit is due – as lackadaisical as the government has been in this movie, the press has been johnny on the spot! They've covered everything from scared Eskimos in Greenland to 5-minute old bus accidents!
Col. Parkman and Marge drive to the scene of the bus accident. The police are with the lady who got off the bus, but rather than question their only witness, the policeman says, “I don't know what happened here. Somebody take this lady home!” Hey, you might want to ask your lone witness! The only person who was there when it ... too late -- they've escorted her from the movie. (I wish someone would do that for me.)
On a police radio, Marge and Parkman hear a general alert: The mantis has been spotted over Washington, D.C.! Col. Parkman says, “We'd better go.” OK, guys, let's focus! The mantis is IN Washington. Go to Washington! Do not quit your jobs and move to Florida to make necklaces out of beach glass. JUST GO TO WASHINGTON!
Next, we see the army gathering howitzers and tanks brought to life in beautifully grainy stock footage (I had no idea there was so much sand and cactus in D.C.) As spotlights beam across the night sky, the mantis "buzzes" the Capitol building and then lands on the side of the Washington Monument. Too bad they didn't have time to drape it with giant flypaper strips.
As the mantis crawls past a window at the top of the monument, two security guards working inside are treated to the sight of the mantis's disgusting underbelly. The only other people to see prehistoric privates that wrinkled are Hugh Hefner's girlfriends.
Jets are scrambled again (this mantis is costing taxpayers a LOT of money in jet fuel!) And who's piloting the lead jet? Col. Parkman?! Oh, no – that sidetracked idiot must have left Marge on the side of a foggy road somewhere!
Gen. Ford radios the artillery units, “Open fire on any object not identified as friendly.” General, just say shoot the giant bug that sounds like a squadron of bomber planes!!!
But as soon as the military starts shooting at the mantis, it flies into a cloud.
Gen. Ford: “It dropped below our radar net!”
Ned: “Does that mean we've LOST him?!”
Ford: “It's OK...a member of our Ground Observer Core will spot him.”
Um, General...how are civilians supposed to spot the mantis at night? It's not a firefly!
But soon the Ground Observers spot it anyway (mainly because a second ago the sky was pitch black and now in the stock footage it's dusk.) At any rate, the military determines the mantis is headed toward Newark, N.Y. (I thought it was heading for warmer climate! Why would the insect be drawn to New Jersey? Ah. Must be the New Jersey girls. I understand bees are attracted to hairspray.)
|Attention people of New Jersey: The Deadly Mantis is coming. Please hide your women.
Soon, Col. Parkman catches up to the mantis in his fighter plane and shoots it down! Injured, the mantis is forced to make an emergency landing in New York City (It's your own fault N.Y.C., you should have known the mantis would be attracted to your bright lights. You should have put yellow, bug lights in all your skyscrapers.)
The injured mantis crawls into the fictional "Manhattan Tunnel." This lull gives our hero, Col. Parkman, time to land his jet, change clothes and come back for the movie's finale.)
While Parkman is off-screen (probably slathering more Vitalis on his hair), Gen. Ford's men are keeping the mantis docile by filling the tunnel full of smoke (like all the running motor vehicles he just stomped on wouldn't create enough fumes in there).
The movie finds a way to get Parkman into the finale by having someone say, “I heard the pilot that shot the mantis down is gonna go in the tunnel.” So it's safe to assume that after Parkman ejected from his plane over New York City, that he isn't dangling by his parachute from the Empire State Building.
An hour or so later, Col. Parkman and men in hazmat suits carry guns and chemical bombs into the tunnel and creep up on the mantis. When the mantis finally sees them, it howls enraged and overturns cars. While Parkman's boys shoot at the mantis, Parkman does something to make the tunnel safe for everyone: He explodes a chemical bomb that will kill all life in the tunnel for years to come. Oh, those lucky future motorists!
The mantis advances until Parkman releases the second chemical bomb. Sure, what does he care? When this is over, he's going back to that clean, Arctic air!
Slowly, the toxins take effect until the giant mantis finally collapses, dropping it's garage-sized head on an abandoned automobile.
A little while later, Parkman returns with Ned, Marge and Gen. Ford, none of whom are wearing gas masks (A half-our is plenty of time for a pesticide to dissipate in a tunnel).
As our Focused Foursome confront the mantis, Ned tells Marge, “Well, there's your cover photo.” When she hesitates to approach the insect, Ned and Parkman mock the silly, 50s female behind her back. (Ha! Stupid girl -- afraid of a giant, recently-killed carnivorous monster.)
Almost giddy, Gen. Ford says, "Hey, Joe -- show us where you rammed him with your plane?" as if Joe just bagged his first white tailed buck.
When Parkman gathers the guys to show them exactly where on the mantis he hit it, Marge wanders too close. Although dead, an involuntary reflex moves his raptorial grasper, nearly clutching Marge if not for a well-timed, heroic tackle by (who else) Col. Parkman. (Come on, did you expect Ned to save her? He's a nerd!)
The rescue is hilariously chauvinistic because once Marge is out of harms way, Parkman needlessly scoops her up in his manly arms anyway.
Marge says, "Put me down." Parkman replies with an infantile, "No."
Marge, still holding her camera, says she wants to take photographs of the mantis for her magazine. Parkman rudely takes the camera out of her hands and tosses it over to Ned (The only problem being this camera isn't exactly a pocket camera. It's a 50 lb. box camera with a big flash bulb on top. When he tosses it, you can almost hear his rotator cuff tendons snap).
Marge says, "This isn't the time for romance!" (Marge, I've got news for you -- this ISN'T romance. This is a mugging.) Then Parkman, still holding Marge, plunges his mouth against hers.
When you think about it, It's kind of ironic. Throughout this whole movie there was one thing Marge didn't need until now -- pest control.
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