This post was written for the
ridiculous awesomeness that is The Final Girl Film Club.
Read a lot more about The Food of the Gods there.
Things To Love About The Food of the Gods
The Food of the Gods is a generous film, in that it gives you at least three completely different openings to choose from.
The film begins with the film’s protagonist, Morgan, at football practice, interrupted by oddly-placed 1970s era freeze frames. Based on this opening, you could view The Food of the Gods as a cautionary tale about the perils of performance enhancing drugs.
With little to no warning, the football practice ends and Morgan is reintroduced as he heads out on a boat for the wilds of British Columbia. All of this features a voiceover that explains his father’s incredibly paranoid views on the delicate balance of nature. Thusly you could view The Food of the Gods as an ecological cautionary tale featuring giant chickens.
Morgan is introduced yet again during what appears to be an English fox-type hunt through the woods. Therefore, you could also view The Food of the Gods as a hunting story whose plot features an ironic reversal of the predator-prey theme.
While the film is filled with large varmints, the highlight is an extremely long round of fisticuffs between Morgan and a giant chicken. The editor apparently thought that a man wrestling with a giant papier-mâché chicken head is endlessly exciting. Which, of course, it is.
For some reason, I just love the professional looking labels that Mrs. Skinner made for her agricultural find and, of course, the fact that her labeling actually refers to it as the food of the gods and not “Super Growth Formula” or “Crap We Found In Our Backyard And Inexplicably Began Feeding To Everything In Sight.”
I love the greedy, corporate tool that comes to make a profit off the F.O.T.G. Not content to just let his greed speak to his evilness, the film actually introduces him by having him not just ignore the possibility of those in need at a bloody car wreck, but has him drive right past a yelling pregnant woman in need as well.
The Zen-like Detachment of the Characters
If you’re looking for a manual in the art of zen tranquility, you could do a lot worse than this film. Morgan seems strangely unfazed by the fact of the enormous poultry, so much so that he really doesn’t bother to ask the most obvious of questions: what’s up with this giant chicken? Likewise, Mrs. Skinner’s strange logic can only be explained by the years she must have spent studying zen meditation and non-linear thinking. When asked to explain why she began feeding a strange, disgusting liquid to her chickens in the first place, she calmly explains that “When we found out it weren’t no oil, there was nothing to do about it, so we fed it to the chickens.”
Time and budgetary limits probably led to the director being unable to fully realize his vision of the deadly wasps, but I can’t help but love the transparent, cellophane wasps that turn into smoke when you shoot them.
It’s awesome in far too many ways to specify here.
Morgan Goes MacGyver
While Morgan is strangely serene and passive during the beginning of the film, this all changes when he finally decides to play the hero by going full-out MacGyver. While none of the devices Morgan builds to dispatch the giant wasps and rats involve anything as remarkable as MacGyver’s trademark chewing gum wrappers, he does burn down the giant wasp nest with a fire bomb made out of plaster, gunpowder, and what looks like Lowry’s seasoning salt. He also rescues Lorna from a giant rat hole with a rope and a stick, plus he rigs an electric fence with a generator, wires, a pipe, and a rock, and he makes Molotov cocktails out of gasoline and toilet paper. During most of this, he has to contend with one obstacle that MacGyver never faced—an increasingly fussy sidekick. Brian is a natural born sourpuss whose temper tantrums nearly spoil Morgan’s scheme.
It really wasn’t until 2000 with The Perfect Storm that CGI was able to realistically recreate water. FOTG gives it the old college try though, with mixed and sometimes interesting results.
If you like mouse derrière, then this is the movie for you.
Final Freeze Frame
Any horror film that ends on a freeze frame of a kid drinking milk is a-ok by me.
One of the best things about The Food of the Gods is that it provided sustenance for a far superior sequel, 1989’s GNAW: Food of the Gods 2. GNAW features many fabulous scenes (including a pack of giant rats attacking a synchronized swimming meet), but in my mind it is legendary for two reasons. The first is it contains the world’s only synthesizer driven, ’80s era rock montage of a character doing agricultural science on tomatoes, which is just as awesome as it sounds (see video on the left). The second is it features one of my favorite moments from recent cinema history, the rather shocking reveal of the film’s first creature of extraordinary size (see video on the right).
P.S. Eo2L is one year old this week.