SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
The great thing about The Food Of The Gods is that it doesn’t waste any time getting to what we’re there for – giant killer animals and insects killing people. While (admittedly better) movies like Kingdom of the Spiders and Day Of The Animals took a while to get to get going, FOTG gives us a death by giant wasp and a giant chicken attack in the first 10 minutes or so! And from then on, we never have to go more than 10 minutes without another attack of some sort.
The only problem with this is that I thought it would be like Frogs, with each death being caused by some other creature, but after this, and a brief attack (a bite, really) by giant maggots, it’s pretty much all rats. The wasps show up again later on, but the effects are so bad (and the scene plays completely without consequence) we might as well forget that one. Nothing against giant killer rats, mind you, but I liked the idea of variety, and we don’t get any of that after this first reel.
But it’s still a lot of goofy 70s fun, with the rats gorily killing a couple of guys and constantly swarming around houses and motorhomes and such. The effects won’t win any Oscars, but they’re still pretty good – the forced perspective and composite shots work quite well, for the most part. The models – not so much; there’s a kill at a little red car, the first one we see via rat, and it’s just laughably bad when they cut from the guy in the car being attacked by a giant rat head, to a little Matchbox (one that’s not even the same shade of red) with a few rats sniffing around it. But the gore delivers – I was actually pretty surprised how bloody this and two of the other kills got, considering the film’s PG rating and pre-splatter existence.
I also like that the hero was kind of a jackass. There’s a bit of a nod to Night of the Living Dead, with the hero constantly bickering with one of the other folks who have holed up in an isolated house, and like that film, it turns out the guy was right about some stuff, and had our hero not been so stubborn, there might have been a few more survivors. Ordinarily I don’t like this sort of thing, but since he was introduced as a football player despite the fact that he looks 40 years old (he was actually only 32 – guy doesn’t age very well) and not very built, I sort of became fascinated by the guy. THIS is our hero? But I just went with it. I particularly liked when one of the female survivors, out of nowhere, asks him to make love to her. Instead he just gives her some tongue and tells her that they will discuss it later. Again, this is not the sort of behavior I’m used to from my heroes. Tom Atkins would have punched this guy in the gut and then nailed that broad right then and there, killer rat or no.
I also didn’t care for the ending, but this is the fault of the sequel (Gnaw), not Bert I. Gordon or anyone else involved with the movie. See, the sequel is just another killer rat movie, which is fine – but the ending of THIS one promises giant cows and possibly giant schoolchildren (they are drinking tainted milk from cows who drank the same stuff that caused the rats/wasps/chickens to mutate). Where’s that movie? Has there ever been a giant killer cow movie? Christ we’ve had like 19 different giant killer insect movies, but no cow. Apparently, the HG Wells book on which this film is based does feature giant children, so there’s something.
This is actually my first Bert I. Gordon movie, not counting a couple MST3k episodes. I definitely want to see Empire of the Ants and Earth Vs The Spider, but what others do you fine people recommend (in the horror genre of course)? How do they compare to this? Also, I’d love to see a big budget modern day giant ____ movie, provided they don’t use CGI the entire time. The only one in the past decade that I can think of is Eight Legged Freaks, and I don’t want to think about that movie. And before people chime in – no water movies (Piranha), because we’ve had too many of those. Nor does Snakes On A Plane count, because they were normal snakes. I’m talking movies that take place on land, featuring giant versions of common animals/birds/insects. Come on Hollywood, let’s make this happen!
What say you?