Review Date: October 17, 2007
Released by: Fox/MGM
Release date: 09/11/2007
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.78:1 | 16x9: Yes
If you ever went to the drive-in anytime between 1955 and 1980, chances are you saw a Bert I. Gordon film. Though his name doesnít conjure images of an auteur, he was definitely a staple of the B-movie era, releasing a large body of work that would later come to dominate the MGM Midnite Movies line. Attack of the Puppet People
, Village of the Giants
, and The Amazing Colossal Man
are just a few of the films he fed cheap theaters during that iconic time. Probably his most famous contributions to the drive-in though, were his three creature features, Earth vs. the Spider
, Empire of the Ants
and The Food of the Gods. Although certainly not revered today, they do still possess a certain degree of notoriety. The Food of the Gods
finally makes itís DVD debut on the Midnite Movies lineÖis it tasty?
After finishing a drawn out football game to pad the meager running time, football star Morgan (Marjoe Gortner
) narrates his planned vacation in one of filmdomís most literal thematic declarations:
ďItíll be great to be out in the country again and enjoy some of the open spaces that man hasnít screwed up with his technology. My father used to say ĎMorgan, 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 way he is and nature will rebel. Itís going to be one hell of a rebellion.í Course, I never took him seriously, but I still remember the way he looked at me when he said, ĎYouíll never know when and where itís going to happen, and once it starts, youíll never know how and when it is going to stop.í Itís funny how my fatherís prediction comes to mind when I go to the country, like todayÖĒ
Pretty deep and prophetic thoughts for a jock, arenít they? So yep, Morgan heads out into the Canadian wilderness with his friends, and quickly becomes prey to a fully mutated food chain. His linebacker is mauled by a man-sized wasp, and when he goes to look for help he nearly is pecked to death by a giant chicken. How did these creatures get like that, and if this is only the beginning, then whatís next?
It seems that the Skinners found a weird oatmeal-like substance bubbling from their farmland and all the nearby animals have been flocking to it. Theyíve dubbed it ďThe Food of the Gods
Ē, but the byproducts of this are far from heavenly. A colony of rats are addicted, and they will return back home to their feasting ground for more mushy goodness. Itís up to a quarterback, a pregnant couple, a shotgun toting bumpkin and a couple capitalists to send these brutal omens of the apocalypse back to their graves. If only they could cultivate giant pieces of swiss cheese instead.
Bound to be immediately compared to that other furry fiend craptacular, Night of the Lepus
, The Food of the Gods
largely pales in comparison. Itís just so routine compared to those inexplicable shots of cute little bunnies running over immaculately rendered miniatures. Here we get a variety of giganticized creatures, but unfortunately the effects are either uninspired (giant rubber heads attacking the victims) or repetitive (endless shots of large mice doubling as rats on various Tonka cars and log cabins). The bug effects look worst of all, opaque delineated projections against helplessly flailing victims.
Compared to Night of the Lepus
itís just not that fun. Lepus
had a big budget, big actors and some creative camerawork to really milk the totally ludicrous concept. Thereís none of that here, this just another cheap American International drive-in flick where the budget restrictions are obvious from the still frame opening credits, and the creative bankruptcy evident at every other step throughout. The thing that stands out the most is probably the animal cruelty, since many of those mice really take a bloody beating. You can bet thereís no ďNo animals were harmed during the making of this pictureĒ disclaimer.
On second thought, the ending is pretty hilarious too, a kind of After School Special version of Cabin Fever
ís nihilistic finale. But donít try to read any sort of social commentary into this, because thereís just none there. Itís all stuffed into that heavy opening monologue, but even that comes out confused. Introducing man to a powerful growth hormone is Godís way of punishing the world? As the entrepreneur rightly recognizes, itís more a benefit than a boon, since once its qualities are understood it could be harvested and quite controllably eliminate famine. Still, the dialogue is so sparse and the plot so bare, this can really be read as nothing more than a series of poorly orchestrated animal attacks.
Itís a shame that a movie this dull warranted a sequel, while Lepus 2: Bad Hare Day
still eludes us.
Food of the Gods
isnít heavenly in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but it will do. Thereís a thick coat of grain, but this is to be expected from low budget films from the seventies, especially those from American International. The colors look very vivid though and are easily the best part of this acceptable transfer.
Itís in mono and there werenít any glaring problems. Dialogue was clear throughout, and thankfully all that rat screeching was never too shrill. It's also apparently in stereo, but I couldn't tell the difference.
When the movie poster depicts a giant rat grabbing at a womanís naked breasts, you expect a level of quality. Food of the Gods
did not deliver. This is a routine creature feature with shoddy effects that never quite takes the subject matter far enough. There are some shots of rats (mice?) getting shot that might give you a jolt, but that will be to call animal rights rather than turn up the volume. The sound and video are serviceable, which is what youíd expect from a film of such age. There arenít any extras, but this comes cheap, so if Night of the Lepus
is all rented outÖignore it anyway.
Movie - D
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - N/A
- Running time - 1 hour 30 minutes
- Rated PG
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English mono
- English stereo
- Spanish mono
- French mono
- English subtitles
- Spanish subtitles