Thursday, September 4, 2008
FINAL GIRL'S Film Club pick of the month.
In 1980, Food of the Gods (1976) was handed the prestigious Golden Turkey Award. What is the Golden Turkey Award, you are probably pondering. The Golden Turkey Award's was a book released in 1980 by two gentlemen ; a book detailing the worst films of all time and giving them the much coveted Golden Turkey, based on excellence in, well, lack of excellence. Food of the Gods was given the award for "Worst Rodent Movie Of All Time". Enough reason to wanna get my grubby little paws on a copy? I think so. Besides, fellow blogger Final Girl demanded we all watch it.
Food of the Gods is, in so many words, about mother nature fucking back and making us humans pay for all the wrong we've done to it. When a strange egg nogg/marshmallow fluff-like (depending on the scene) substance begins oozing out of one of the Skinner's trees, they decide to bottle it with the label F.O.T.G and feed it to all the farm animals. I always knew fluff was a product of our lord and saviour. Chickens, roosters, wasps, rats, and even maggots get a hold of the stuff and, as it turns out, the food of the gods mutates them and makes them grow several times their original size...and it makes them very hungry for human flesh. A group of folks end up holed up in the Skinner's home and attempt to fend off the massive beasts. Think Night of the Living Dead...with rodents.
This movie is based on a portion of the H.G Wells tale The Food Of The Gods And How It Came To Earth. The Time Machine or War of the Worlds, this one is not. And perhaps that's precisely why I enjoyed it so much. Granted, i've had a few cold beverages tonight and probably enjoyed the movie more then I should've, but i'll be damned if this isn't a new guilty pleasure of mine. Worst rodent film of all time? I wouldn't go that far.
The primitive mutant rodent effects look suprisingly pretty good. Interestingly enough, a young Rick Baker worked on the effects crew. Probably not his proudest work. A lot of forced perspective and shots of clearly normal size rats pouncing on what were clearly matchbox cars and model houses, but come on, this is a 1970's B or even C movie, how much can you expect. I think i'd prefer what this movie delivered over the CGI rats we'd see nowadays. These mofos give Princess Bride's ROUS's a run for their money.
Now there's one thing I do have a problem with in regards to this movie. Let's just say you're not gonna see a "No animals were harmed during the making of this film" proclamation after the end credits....cause that'd clearly be a lie. PETA would have a field day with this film, and in fact i'm sure they did. Mice are electrocuted, drowned, and repeatedly shot at and it all looks just a little bit too cruel and a little bit too real. That's probably because a lot of it is. Now the rats weren't shot with real shotguns, but allegedly they were shot with paintball guns. That may not sound so bad but it looks incredibly painful for the rats and I guarantee you more then a handful were killed making this movie. As a proud rodent owner myself, I do not approve. The finale of the film involves the rats being flooded, forcing them to drown, and it's pretty obvious that the rats were put in water tanks and held underwater to get some of the shots. But hey, at least they got to star in a movie and didn't end up snake poop.
Maybe it's just me and maybe i'm delving way too far into a cheesy little movie, but there seemed to be a bit of a racist theme going on here. All of the evil attacking rats are brown. There is one white rat and he rules over them all. At one point a character even says, "Looks like the white one's the leader". A little pinch of slavery? I think so. The white rat just watches in the corner as his black counterparts do his bidding. That's all im gonna say about that.
As is usual in a horror film like this, there's the typical pregnant lady who always seems to give birth at the most inopportune of times. I don't know what the hell the lady in this one gave birth to, but it didn't look pretty....or alive.
Hell, F.O.T.G even hits us with a little bit of wisdom! The character Morgan (Marjoe Gortner), upon being asked what the hell he's doing, answers that he is simply trying to find something to do. "That's what life is all about ; from the time you're born, is finding something to do while you're waiting to die, and you try like hell to prevent it." Well spoken and quite true. B movie wisdom at it's finest.
In case you couldn't tell by now, Food of the Gods is one of those movies that's so bad, it's good. It's B movie cheese in it's most raw form and I had a hell of a lot of fun watching it and you probably will too. I just could've done without all the animal cruelty.
Check out the trailer :
and watch the film instantly right now on NETFLIX!