Halloween Scene: The Food of the Gods (1976)

2008-10-03
4:39:44 am

As has become the case of late, I’m watching one movie while blogging about another. Tonight, I wussed out on watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre and instead watched the end of Halloween 3 and The Food of the Gods. I admit right now that I’ve had a drink or two so it may or may not be a Suspiria kind of review.

I don’t recognire any of the actors or the director, one Bert I. Gordon but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this flick. Again, I’m not real clear on a lot of the details, but the basic plot is that a football player and his buddy makes his way to a Canadian island where a giant wasp attacks and kills his friend. He ends up at this lady’s farm where a giant chicken attacks her. And later, giant works attack her, with giant rats making the very last enemy. You see, there’s some kind of ooze leaking from the earth itself that’s causing these mutations.

Somehow (and again, I wasn’t paying enough attention) we end up with a Night of the Living Dead kind of scenario with a bunch of unrelated people including the lady farmer, the football player and a pregnant girl all in one location fending off the giant rats.

The majority of the special FX are done with matte painting and trick camera angles with rats crawling all over toy houses and automobiles. Still, I think I prefer this to CGI. Somehow, cutting from a shot of rats running along a tiny log cabin still seems better in my mind that CHI rats running rampant. I’m also not quite sure how they did the effects with the guys in the house shooting the rats. Hopefully no animals were too badly hurt. but really, the effects when they were shooting the giant rats were great.

This is not a great horror movie by any means, but it’s definitely enjoyable on a camp level as well as a prop level. The giant chicken head that attacks our hero looks fantastically creepy as does just about anything else that moves in the way it shouldn’t.

Even the end scene where a legion of rats attacks the cottage they’re in feels creepy because they’re just scaling the place looking for any way in, again, like a zombie flick. Luckily the football player has a plan to drown the mother f-ers.

Kudos to the editing team who make it actually look like these dudes are shooting the rats so hard that they get blasted off of their purches and fly away. Plus the rat carcasses at the end look awesome and make for a pretty good bonfire. But what about the cows? And the kids? I guess that’s what the sequel is all about.

I expected very little from this movie, especially after my beloved Creature Features book gave it one star, but I actually enjoyed it enough to recommend it to horror fans (especially if you like environmentally themed, man vs. monster flicks or just giant rats) and will even hold onto it for another view. As mentioned above, I hope the mice and rats involved in this movie went on to live long, full rat lives and weren’t killed just for the sake of a movie. But if they were, they went out with a bang and I salute them. Salute!

By the way, it must be mentioned that this is somehow loosely based on part of an HG Wells story that I haven’t read and can’t really speak for, although the movie does make me want to read the story, so good on it. Reading is fun-da-mental.

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