Food of the Gods (1976)

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Food of the Gods (1976)

Post  BoG on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:04 pm

This is one of the more famous of the eco-terror sci-fi/horror films of the seventies (Bert I. Gordon's Empire of the Ants being another one). I've always had a soft spot for this one - Food of the Gods (1976). I'm not sure why - I did see it first in an actual theater when it came out. The title is great, but that's thanks to H.G. Wells. It may have something to do with the photography - I thought the location was slightly unusual and there was a sort of primal / gritty feel to it that elevated it above the other 'nature amok' sci-fi thrillers of the decade.
Marjoe was an odd choice for leading man; in another genre, his role would be played by someone like John Wayne, who needs to make the tough decisions.  He kills a rooster which was just minding its own business and defending its turf, and never apologizes to the owner (Ida Lupino). Later, he causes the deaths of his buddy (Cypher) and the obvious villain (Meeker-slumming,but the 'go to' guy those days for bad guy roles) by refusing to listen to their logical arguments for getting out of the mess they're in. No, it's his way only, 'cause he's the toughest around these here parts, and if a few people get eaten due to his manly choices - oh, well.
However, if you look more closely at Marjoe's character, he seems to have some crazy death wish. At one point, when they already know the island is infested with giant killers, he decides to go look around in his jeep, which offers no protection at all; his friend, echoing the thoughts of the audience, asks what the hell for? Marjoe doesn't really have an answer; he even says "I don't know." Wild.
Maybe there were subtexts and undertones which just struck a cord in me. I will admit, some of the FX, especially the dam breaking and watering pouring out near the end are truly terrible, but much of the giant rat FX work surprisingly well. The plot has to do with some strange substance that suddenly bubbles up from underneath the earth on a remote island. When it's mixed with animal food, such as gruel, animals will eat the stuff and grow - though not adult animals, only baby ones; then the big babies eat the normal-sized ones. Mr. B.I.G., who also wrote the script, wastes no time showing how all this transpires, just makes do with brief exposition from Mrs. Skinner (Lupino) to move things along swiftly. Trailer:
Trivia of the Gods: There was a sequel to this much later in 1989 which had little to do with this one and, going by memory, seemed a waste of everyone's time. Also, I just found out there's another movie of the same name released just last year but has nothing to do with this story. In magazine Maxim's rundown of the 50 best B Movies (Feb.2000), this film placed 18th.
BoG's Score: 6 out of 10

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