Saturday, October 13, 2007

THE FOOD OF THE GODS

After a couple of years’ drought, while switching from distributor to distributor, MGM has finally – and gloriously – resurrected their marvelous Midnite Movies line of cult films. Among this new wave of rare and offbeat genre titles comes director Bert I. Gordon’s (BEGINNING OF THE END, EMPIRE OF THE ANTS) 1976 drive-in favorite, THE FOOD OF THE GODS (1976).

On a visit to an isolated Canadian island community, a football pro (Marjoe Gortner of STARCRASH and BOBBI JO AND THE OUTLAW) finds himself trapped in the farmhouse of elderly Mrs. Skinner (film legend Ida Lupino, HIGH SIERRA) with several other random travelers, surrounded by various giant critters, including voracious, man-sized, man-eating rats.

The cast is the film’s strongest aspect. Ex-child evangelist Gortner makes a decent enough hero, Lupino manages to bring some gravitas to her stock role, former Mike Hammer Ralph Meeker (KISS ME DEADLY) makes a convincing corporate asshole, pretty Pamela Franklin (THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE) is, well, pretty, and Joe Dante favorite Belinda Belaski (PIRANHA, THE HOWLING) is quite good in her role as an unmarried mom-to-be.

Unabashedly goofy, FOOD OF THE GODS is the type of exploitation film that not only requests a willing suspension of disbelief, but begs for it. The wholly illogical plot, sketchy (if well-cast) characters and sub-par (even for 1976) special effects can only be enjoyed if you shut down all your critical faculties and just go with it. If you can accomplish that, you might have some fun.

The MGM/Fox Midnite Movies DVD features a strong, 1.85 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a clear mono soundtrack. There are no bonus features, and the menu – as on all of these newest MM releases – is uninspired and dull.

Recommended for fans only, or those nostalgic for Seventies-styled drive-in schlock.

BUY: The Food of the Gods