Yaeeyaae…..Well if you didn’t already figure it out by the title of this here post:
GET YA CLUB ON CAUSE WE BE CLUBBIN’ TODAY, Y’ALL!
So homeboys and homegirls, let’s show Stacie some love by reviewing the 1976 classic, FOOD OF THE GODS! You see, Stacie has been jonesing to do this one since the end of May…when her Film Club Coolies (myself included) unceremoniously decided to bump F.O.T.G. out of the running for the film of the month in favor of, Naked Space Alien Vampire Zombie Boobies (aka LIFEFORCE).
I really should start with a disclaimer of sorts for this one, kids. The American Humane Society probably had about zero involvement in the monitoring of FOOD OF THE GODS….which means, if you have any sort of problem with the possible unethical treatment of gigantic killer rats by Canadian filmmakers, turn back now…
Because I’m pretty sure F.O.T.G. would have been slapped with this bad boy:
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s make with the reviewing. Oh, and as usual, please enjoy the various screenshots scattered throughout my ramblings.
I got three words to let you know how hard this movie rules: ARKOFF! GORDON! MEEKER! If those names don’t mean anything to you, you seriously need to stop reading so many books and start wasting more time watching awesome movies. So, the opening credits tell me F.O.T.G. is “based on a portion of the novel” by H.G. Wells, and I’m-a-guessin’ that means it was based only on the good parts and left out all the boring crap.
First up we meet Morgan (childhood evangelical huckster “MaryJoseph” Gortner), football player and son of an wise old Indian. Well, I’m not really sure if his dad was a real Indian or not, but with words of wisdom like these:
“Morgan, one of these days the earth will get even with man for messing her up with his garbage. Just let man continue to pollute the earth the way he is and nature will rebel. You’ll never know when and where it’s gonna happen, and once it starts you’ll never know how and where it’ll stop.”
He has to be an Indian…I mean, who talks like that? Wise old Indians from the 1970s, that’s who! Anyway, since Morgan’s dad was an Indian, I guess that makes Morgan part Indian…which is why he ends up knowing all sorts of stuff about sharpshooting, making pipe bombs, and fighting giant wasps, roosters, and rats!
Morgan and his buddies take a little trip to relax from all their ass grabbing and ball handling in scenic British Columbia, only to stumble upon some strange goings-ons in the form of giant wasps! One of Morgan’s friends meets the ass end of said giant wasp and ends up all swollen and dead-like. Morgan’s Indian tracking skills lead him to an old farm inhabited by crazy Mrs. Skinner (the “poor man’s Bette Davis,” Ida Lupino) and her ‘mazing menagerie of mastodonic monstrous mammalia! (Yes, I know what a mammal is…but work with me here people!)
Before Morgan can get any information about what’s what from ol’ crazy lady, he runs amok of our second giant monstrosity! A giant carnivorous rooster! Which he promptly engages in a herky jerky, no holds barred, man vs. rooster, barn match to the death! Man-1, Rooster-0.
With the killer rooster out of the way Morgan exchanges the usual city slicker to country folk chit chat with nut job, Mrs. Skinner:
“I need a phone.”
“We ain’t got no phone.”
“My friend’s dead!”
“You ought not be messin’ around here.”
“What’s the deal with all these giant animals?”
“I feed them slime mixed with feed. You see, God has sent me some growin’ slime to make a big money deal.”
“Look lady, you’re nuts if you think feeding animals a God given growin’ slime is a good idea!”
And Morgan would be right…know why? Because not only have wasps and chickens been munching on the growin’ slime, but so have creepy grubs and rats! The grubs are pretty fucking gross, but it’s the rats we really have to worry about…and the rats make it perfectly clear they mean business when they start killing the giant chickens and Mr. Skinner.
Having just Morgan, his buddy Brian, and Mrs. Skinner terrorized by giant rats wouldn’t make for too exciting of a motion picture, so we’re quickly introduced to: Jack “Magnificent Bastard” Bensington (Ralph Meeker from KISS ME DEADLY), the opportunistic, chauvinistic, foul mouthed businessman. His assistant (not to mention Female Bacteriologist) Lorna (70s teevee mainstay, Pamela Franklin), along with a stranded couple, Tom and his pregnant girlfriend, Rita.
With our cast in place we finally start truckin’ with an all out man vs. nature RATastrophe (See how I did that?)! There’s some dodgy special effects throughout the movie (I’m looking at you, wasp attacks) but I think they pulled off the giant rats pretty damn good for 1976. Sure, there’s the silly looking superimposed scenes of real rats with real people, but the rats on the miniature sets were cool and the life sized rat puppets were totally awesome looking. Oh, and the sound effects used for the rats’ growling and eating is a bone chilling mix of what sounds like a pride of tigers, four lions, and two bears feasting on two dozen baby gazelles…or something like that.
Speaking of the special effects, let’s talk about the gunshots…hoo-boy…here’s where I think some people might have a problem with F.O.T.G.‘s treatment of animals. It looks to me like the makers of the film used some sort of air gun (maybe with some sort of paint pellet or something) to make the little bastards look like they were getting all shot up and shit. Some of these guys look like they get hit pretty hard…and I swear, one rat got it right in the eye!
I was also wondering about the electrified fence scene…I mean, I wouldn’t put it past these Canucks to actually fry some of these pesky vermin for reals. You tell me:
You know I hate to give too much plot away, but the showdown at ol’ Crazy’s farm is one of the finer moments of any giant killer rat movie from 1976! All our characters stick perfectly to the script. Morgan plays tough guy hero, Lorna plays judgmental bitch and Morgan’s love interest, Brian plays the sacrificial friend, Jack’s the greedy bastard who gets what he deserves, Tom is the hero’s reluctant assistant, Rita’s having her damn baby at the worst possible moment, and Crazy Mrs. Skinner goes out fighting!
We got shotguns, pipe bombs, mason jar Molotov cocktails, a blown up dam and more dead rats than I ever did saw! I mean, the last 20 minutes is filled to the brim with gratuitous rat slaughter! So much so, I almost felt sorry for the little fuckers…almost.
Overall, we have a winner of a film here, kids! And based on my brand spankin’ new SPAGHETTI CAT AWESOMENESS SCALE, I proudly declare F.O.T.G. to be AWESOME!
That means it gets a solid 4 out of 5 SC rating:
Oh before I forget…the one last image from F.O.T.G. I want to leave you with isn’t rat related, but was one of the most unexpected special effects:
Now let’s head on over to Final Girl and see what Stacie and the rest of The Film Club Coolies have to say!