The Food of the Gods

"Terrible"

The Food of the Gods Review


Writer/director Bert I. Gordon's adaptation of The Food of the Gods claims to be based on "a portion" of the eponymous H.G. Wells novel. Apparently he meant the portion that sucks. At least eight of Gordon's films have been lampooned on bad-movie-graveyard Mystery Science Theater 3000. That this one never made it can only be a matter of the show having been cancelled before they could get to it.

The film begins, improbably enough, with way-too-old-to-be-playing-football professional athlete Morgan (Marjoe Gortner) deciding to take a break with another unbelievably old player, Davis (Chuck Courtney) and their promoter Brian (Jon Cypher). They head off to a remote island to hunt deer on horseback, because that's how football players unwind.

Alone in the woods, Davis is killed by gigantic wasps, which resemble nothing so much as big pieces of crumpled up paper held in front of the screen. When Morgan and Brian find the body, Morgan runs to a local farm for help, only to find, and I am not making this up, a roost of giant chickens.

It's easy to fault the inexpensive, pre-CGI era in which this film was made for its poor special effects. But no matter how good the effects, a man fighting a giant rooster will always be one thing -- hilarious.

Sadly, the rest of the film is not nearly as entertaining. Morgan confronts the farmer's wife, Mrs. Skinner (Ida Lupino) and discovers that she's been feeding the birds a porridge-like substance that's been bubbling out of the ground. It seems that other animals, including maggots, wasps and rats, have also gotten into their stock, which has been placed in jars cleverly labeled "F.O.T.G." The rest of the film consists of fighting said animals, mostly the rats.

Even if Food of the Gods set out to do nothing more than present a good, old-fashioned slugfest between man and Rodents of Unusual Size, that might at least be a pleasant way to pass a lazy afternoon. But the film is completely lifeless, taking no joy in its ridiculous premise nor being able to muster the gravity to take it seriously.

Gordon's adaptation is certainly the first culprit, containing some of the most ham-fisted (though occasionally sidesplitting) dialogue ("Hey, look lady, I've already seen your chickens!") and some of the most mind-bogglingly idiotic behavior from a genre known for mind-bogglingly idiotic behavior. When a man, who has already said he will wait in his broken trailer until it's safe, hears scratching on the roof, he goes outside, sees that it's a giant rat and then tells his pregnant wife to come outside and look so they can both watch as the rats crawl in through the door he left open.

The characters are, unsurprisingly, flat. How stereotypical are they? There's a copy of "American Gothic" hanging in the farmhouse living room. They also make about as much sense as the script. Lorna (Pamela Franklin), a scientist brought in to investigate the gloop, turns to our hero in the midst of a gigantic rodent siege and declares, rather dully, that she wants to get it on.

It would be easy to blame the general crappiness of Food of the Gods on its truly disastrous special effects (mostly of the "put a normal sized rat next to a toy car" variety), but even those could be excused if there was even a hint of irony, fun, thrills, imagination, or anything else approaching entertainment throughout. As it is, it's like trying to watch a Mystery Science Theater film without Crow, Tom Servo, and Joel to make the experience tolerable.



The Food of the Gods

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th June 1976

Distributed by: MGM

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 4.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Bert I. Gordon

Producer: Bert I. Gordon

Starring: Marjoe Gortner as Morgan, as Lorna, as Bensington, Jon Cypher as Brian, as Mrs. Skinner, as Rita, as Mr. Skinner

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.