Midnight Movie Madness: “food of the gods”

“Food of the gods” – (88 minutes, USA, 1976 – PG)

The ’70s… Roller skating, creepy-crawlers, bean bag chairs, disco balls, and of course, Earth Day… “Food of the gods” is pure 1970’s grade fun which wonderfully makes no sense whatsoever.

Loosely inspired by part of an H.G. Wells story, “food of the gods” begins with a cautionary monologue by the protagonist, Morgan (Marjoe Gortner), about the wrongs done by man against nature: “just let man continue to pollute the way he is, and nature will rebel”, his pop used to say…

Nature packs a punch
Nature packs a punch

Marjoe Gortner has an interesting real-life story, and is a familiar face to those who grew up watching television in the ’70s and ’80s. Gortner was then a sort of proto-Hasselhoff whose career thankfully survived “Starcrash“. A competent actor, surrounded here by other familiar talents: Ida Lupino, Jon Cypher and Ralph Meeker.

Morgan, the all-American hero, is a pro-football player… Along with team mate Davis (Chuck Courtney) and pal Brian (Cypher), he drives up North to a remote island off the Canadian coast for some R&R, stag hunting on horseback. Riding well ahead and out of sight of the others, Davis promptly runs into a swarm of giant wasps who turn him into a swollen yellow, purple dead mess. Trivial perhaps, but Courtney was a Nazi brown shirt on Star Trek episode “patterns of force” once. As Davis in “food of the gods”, he got his chance to wear a red shirt (jacket actually) getting whacked right out the gate…

Red jacket. Check.
Red jacket. Check.

Looking for help at a nearby farm, Morgan enters the barn and is savagely attacked by a giant rooster looking like a huge red rubber testicle with a beak. After a couple of grunts and some bok-bok-bockoks, Morgan dispatches the monstrosity with a pitch fork. Stumbling outside and gasping for air, he meets Mrs. Skinner (Lupino) pointing a shotgun at him. Morgan: “where the hell did you get those goddamn chickens?!?”

Turns out Mrs. Skinner’s a bit of a religious nut. Her husband’s out trying to make a deal in the city, selling a milky substance oozing out of their backyard, sort of like congealed mayonnaise, which makes animals who eat it become huge. As in super-steroid huge and super-enraged as well…

Thems angry rats
Thems angry rats

Back home, with little time to mourn, Morgan decides this aggression will not stand and convinces Brian to return to the island to blow up the wasps’ nest. Or something…  Up North, meanwhile,  greedy industrialist Bensington (Ralph Meeker) and his scientist-assistant Lorna (Pamela Franklin) come looking for the Skinner farm to option this food of the gods stuff.

Mister and miss oblivious drive by the wreckage of Mr. Skinner’s VW strewn with body parts left behind by giant rats without even noticing the carnage. Several bad decisions later, they find themselves trapped at the Skinner farm, along with a couple of stranded campers.

Luckily, Morgan and Brian drive up in their Jeep, loaded with shotguns and ammo. You may at this point play the “food of the gods” drinking game: have a shot for every time a rat gets hit with a paintball in slow motion.

You won’t remember the end of the movie, but then, neither will you question where did Morgan learn to make pipe-bombs and Molotov cocktails, or why is there a dam on an island (?!?) Perhaps you’ll laugh at Ida Lupino’s death scene if you see it as a twist on “Ratatouille” (in which the restaurant owner was also named Skinner)…

Food of the gods” is a fun example of eco-exploitation-horror, and gets four jellybeans….

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One Reply to “Midnight Movie Madness: “food of the gods””

  1. Oh dear goodness…. I remember this one from late night TV!!

    Yep, a seriously goofy 70’s movie. Right up there with “Night of the Lepus” with the giant killer bunny rabbits….

    Either you guys or I have sooooo got to review that particular one sometime… 😉

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