The Food of the Gods (1976)

Article 4433 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-28-2014
Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Featuring Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker
Country: USA
What it is: Nature run amok, Bert I. Gordon style.

A strange substance is discovered on an island that causes animals to grow to enormous size. Soon the island is overrun by giant critters.

I remember seeing this one at the drive-in when I was a teenager, and the only scene I really remembered was Marjoe Gortner being attacked by a giant chicken. I think the reason this scene stuck with me was because I vividly remember NOT being impressed with it; it seemed pretty obvious that it was just some stagehand pushing a model of a chicken head at the actor, and the illusion that he was really being attacked by a giant chicken never became a reality for me. I do also remember there being lots of giant rats, and also being disappointed that the array of giant critters was pretty limited; outside of the chickens and rats, we have some worms and wasps… and that’s it. I understand why I didn’t remember the latter two; the worms are on for a very limited time, and the wasp effects are so bad (easily the worst in the movie) that I mercifully must have blocked them out. Watching it now, I must admit that some of Bert I. Gordon’s effects are fairly decent, albeit quite sloppy at times. I’m certainly not impressed with this script, which is loaded with cliches, one-dimensional characters, and people acting really stupid. There’s a whole lot of scenes of rats being bloodily blown away, and I really found myself wondering about the treatment of the animals during the making of this movie. I was amused by two touches, though; the first is that the farmhouse in which the characters take refuge actually has a print of “American Gothic” on the wall, and the second is that the credits claim that the movie is based on a “portion” of the H.G. Wells novel of the same name; now there’s truth in advertising for you. No, the movie is hardly what I’d call good, but for all of its flaws, I can’t help but look at the movie and feel a bit of affection for Mr. Gordon and his history of movies with giant creatures and people.


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