Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day Ninety-Two: Food of the Gods (1976) - Rank 4/5


How the hell have I never seen this? Granted, there are a lot of films on this list where people will see the title and think, "Beau's never seen that? Really?" But for the first time since I began this quest to see a new film every day, I found myself exclaiming it aloud as giant rats tore a Canadian yokel to pieces. I have a soft spot for animal attack films - they happen to be a favorite subgenre of film of mine. The hoakier the better, really. While some entries in this domain can be legitimately good ("Jaws," "Phase IV," "The Birds," etc.), most come off as preachy and "Food of the Gods" is no exception.

Our narrator and principle player is quite the introspective football player - a far-from-credible oxymoron of a character. He begins the film by rambling on about how his father believed that one day, nature would get back at mankind for its abuse of the world. And lo and behold, that is the very theme of the film (most animal attack films from the seventies focused heavily on environmental issue for such was the up-and-coming trend at the time). All the preamble in the world is unnecessary though, for the entire crux of the film is to watch giant animals eat people. That is the calling card of writer/director/special FX "guru" Bert I. Gordon (initials: BIG and big his antagonists are).

"Food of the Gods" features giant rats, wasps, caterpillars and, whimsically enough, roosters. A mix of actual animals against blue screen wizardry and giant puppets (which are actually pretty convincing, for what they're worth) are what assault the small band of humans stupid enough to visit the tiny, Canadian island where foolish farmers feed their livestock radioactive waste (or something akin to it). I absolutely love how Bert I. Gordon uses any angle possible to work a giant something into his films. And the funny thing it, they're all genuinely entertaining ("Empire of the Ants," "The Amazing Colossal Man," "War of the Colossal Beast," "Beginning of the End," "Earth vs. the Spider" ...the list goes on). There have been recent attempts to revive the "giant creatures" genre, with "Eight Legged Freaks" being the most worthy of them. However, when CG substitutes live animals and giant, puppet heads, you do gain a slight shred of "believability" but you sadly lose out on charm.

Watch the Trailer

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