Phase IV is a product of its time & I first ran across the film way back in the late 80s/Early 90s in my video store trash cinema days. The film is anything but trash cinema & run along the lines of 2001 in its scope & epicness.
The plot runs something like this from Wiki:
The film is very well done for type & is very unsettling. Ken Middleham who shot the insect sequences for "Phase IV" also shot the insect sequences for the documentary "The Hellstrom Chronicle".
- Human females modified into unconscious womb machines for a human slave race.
- The insects driving around living human/mammal mecha with the insects in control.
- Pyschic powers of a radical nature allowing the insect overlords to command their slave race
- Genetic modification of a host species for service to superior cosmic species
The Phase IV treatment doesn't have to even be used on Earth at all. The ants might evolve upon some lost colony waiting to be rediscovered by an expedition or mission to "save" the colonists. That episode of Star Ships & Spacemen might end very differently.
Upon Carcosa the Old Ones might get a run for their money from a very different source then mankind. The ants simply begin using the available cannon fodder, new spells might be created, & a very different sort of druid might be the result..
Upon the world of Mutant Future there might be entire countries with different colonies of these highly evolved ants moving across the planet & making war on other colonies of these insects.
Terminal space might have the players acting as ambassador for meeting with a very different "alien" race. There might be different space craft created from a much smaller source then the one the players were expecting.
For Stars Without Numbers could some of the psi-tech have come not from the hand of man but someone much, much smaller?
Please note: According to the IMDb, Bass complained in interviews that the film was re-edited after previews by 20th Century Fox radically altering the ending of the film which consisted of surreal images presented in a montage. The montage was supposed to suggest that the two surviving characters were altered by the ants creating the next step in evolution for humanity and insects. Many of the images from the altered conclusion of the film appear in the trailer and although it has recently been released to home video by Legend Films, the reissue on DVD features the shorter U.S. version which had 9 minutes stripped from the film before its official U.S. debut.
The novel leaves all of this intact..