Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Film Review: Food of the Gods - 2008

This was another horror film review, written for one of my now-defunct blogs. As you'll see, it didn't quite work out as intended....

This month's film is Food of the Gods, an uber-cheapie production with a bit of a deceptive pedigree--its based on a story by H.G. Wells. That sound you hear is the little Englishman rolling in his grave, still, thirty or so years after the film was made.

Ok, let's get started:

...oh, MGM, you've done better!


...oh boy, we're already in trouble. Bert I. Gordon? Bert War of the Colossal Beast, Beginning of the End Gordon?


..."based on a Portion of the Novel"? Yeah, the page numbers! (Bada-bing!)


"Special Visual Effects by B.I. Gordon"? You're not fooling anybody, Bert!


Anyway, this film stars...Mac Davis from North Dallas Forty? No, it's Marjoe Gortner, an...unusual choice as leading man, let's say.

Marjoe plays a football player who goes off hunting with some friends in the woods. While Marjoe is fine with just trapping the deer and letting it go, his dickish friend wants to kill it, and runs into the woods. While there, he encounters a weird bunch of really big bugs:


The giant bugs going a-stingin', leaving the hunter all puffy and blotchy. And, oh, dead:


Marjoe ends up investigating, for no good reason, and discovers a small farm. Inside a barn is a giant, killer chicken!!:


The farm is run by two old-timers, one of them played by Ida Lupino (oh, the sadness). Turns out they have been feeding their animals from this weird goo that's bubbles up out of the ground, which makes everything that eats from it grow big--real big. Giant killer chicken big.

But as a break from all the gripping drama, Bert I. Gordon gives lots and lots of footage of Marjoe and a friend as they travel back and forth on a ferry, featuring riveting shots like this:


...seriously--this is movie about 85 minutes, and at least a third of it is watching people board and disembark a ferry in excruciating detail.

Anyway, back at the farm, we see that farmer woman Ida Lupino is not immune to what she and her husband have been doing. You see, everything grows big and angry, even worms:


...this is a long way from High Sierra. The great Ida Lupino should not have had to share a movie screen with a giant bloody worm puppet.

At the same time, her husband is attacked by giant rats, and its in moments like these where we can see the "special" effects:

sg, no, that's not a bunch of friendly rats climbing on a toy car and Bert I. is passing it off as a special effect. I can see how you'd be confused.

Anyway, Marjoe and his friend decide to get involved and hunt down the giant animals, instead of, you know,
alerting the authorities. What can the Army do that a Nose Tackle and a football team's Road Manager can't?

At the farm, they meet up with an older man and a younger woman. The man owns a pharmaceutical firm who has bought up the land and wants to market the goo, while his young charge takes an interest in Marjoe:

sg that a 12-gauge in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Meanwhile, a young couple are on vacation in the woods. The man goes outside their RV, and sees a giant rat on the roof. So what does he do? Well, he does what any of us would do when you see a giant, man-sized rat: call your pregnant wife to come out and look at it with you!

Of course, this awesome plan goes all kerflooey, and soon Mr. and Mrs. Mensa are trapped by a horde of giant rats and have to run for it:


Eventually all our characters are holed up in the cabin, in Bert I.'s tribute to Night of the Living Dead I guess.

Our heroes are only stocked with guns, so they start shooting at the rats, and its at this moment that the movie stopped being fun for me, at all:


...up until this point, the movie's special effects had been laughably lame. But what I thought at first were F/X I realized are not F/X at all--the rats in the movie were clearly being shot at, for real, by probably bee-bee guns, in a horrid attempt to make it look realistic.

Look, I'm disgusted by rats as much as the next man, but shooting a bunch of them for a God damn movie? That is absolutely disgusting and morally repellent.

I stuck it out the rest of the way, but then Bert I. moves onto drowning the rats, as well, and I got so disgusted I gave up. Torturing and murdering animals to make some shitty movie is inhuman.

You know, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the films of Bert I. Gordon--sure, they were cheesy, but they were inoffensive fluff so what's the harm?

But after seeing this disgrace, I want Bert I. Gordon arrested. He can have Michael Vick's old room.


Craig Michael Patrick said...

Didn't even know Hollywood re-made this film. Always had a fond place in my heart for the original, but actually killing the rats - just heartless. Doesn't sound like it's for me.

But I distinctly recall in the original, when the chicken attacked, you could see the shadow of the prop guy holding the fake chicken head. Good stuff in my book.

MG said...

As a previous owner of two adorable pet rats, I think this guy deserves to be beaten up. Severely. And shot at with BB guns. Many times. Then drowned.


Ironic that my verification word is "stabio"

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