Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rare Flix: H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods

I hope you don't like rats.  Today's film has somewhat of a dubious reputation among those who have seen it.  For those of you who don't know, I'll take you on a short trip down memory lane.  Bert I. Gordon (his initials being BIG- ha ha) got famous in the '50s for movies about giant monsters smashing around.  He got in good after the U.S. release of Godzilla, carving himself a niche.  As his career wound down in the '70s, he tried some new things- some better than ever.  For this film, he tried something controversial- killing and hurting animals.  This film features scenes of rats being shot with pellet/paint guns and nearly/definitely being drowned.  Yeah, that happens.  If you take the 'No Animals were harmed in the Production of this Film' for granted, check this movie out.  As a bonus, the film stars Marjoe Gortner and features some slightly-silly optical effects.  To see which insects are transparent, read on...
The first sign of a dubious script- this credit.
The movie's plot involves a bunch of people being killed in the woods by giant creatures.  First up, semi-transparent mosquitoes.  They apparently ate the titular food...since the lady doesn't bother to close her windows when you have a batch of 'make animals giant food' in your house.
Marjoe loses a friend to the creatures and decides to come back.

By the way, is he a pro-football player or a College one?  He was 32 when the film was made, but they never elaborate on it.  What's up, movie?
All of this comes from a mysterious fount of liquid.  Might want to put a cage around this thing- I'm just saying.

No, they never explain why this exists.  Thanks for asking.
I believe that Cecil B. DeMille said once 'You haven't made a film until you've shot a few rats with pellet guns.'  I might be paraphrasing.
Look at this shot and then watch a film like Avatar.  Technology sure has grown a lot, hasn't it?
The rats surround the house and there appears to be no hope.  Nice matching of those two visuals- it's like Sin City for a second.
Marjoe manages to blow up a dam and take out most of the rats with water.  Try to ignore the rats that are 'swimming upside down (completely still),' won't you?
In the Epilogue, the titular food has gone down river, got drank by cows (who apparently don't grow) and ends up in milk.  Where will this lead?

Oh right- a crappy sequel that doesn't really relate to this film in any way.  The End.
I'm sorry, countless rats.  If you can get past the animal abuse, this is an interesting movie.  It makes some odd choices in the story department, right or wrong.  Our heroes aren't trapped on the island from the get-go.  Rather, they leave it and decide to come back to find out what happened.  That's interesting, even if it is a bit silly IMHO.  The problem here is that it's hard to get past all of the animal abuse.  They're shooting rats in the face and back with pellet guns.  They may or may not be shocking rates.  They are most assuredly drowning rats, unless they're known for laying upside down in water and not moving!  You can make an 'Animal Killing Free' version of Cannibal Holocaust, since the death is random and unnecessary.  Here, you would be cutting most of the action.  The bottom line: this movie is a bizarre, B-Movie trip.  If you can ignore the abuse of plague rats (I kid, I kid), you'll enjoy it more than this guy.
Next up, the first of five remaining films from the Midnight Horror Collection, Volume 2.  It's like a good movie...but not.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. The special effects in this movie were lame even by the standards of that day. We laughed out loud at the giant chicken.