I want to see the movie on the poster to the right, it looks so much cooler than the film I watched. The rats never looked this scary, nor were there any scantily-clad girls getting carried off by them. There were giant rats, yes, but they were either big immobile puppets thrown at the actors, or cute pet rats climbing on miniature sets. The effects are laughably bad throughout Food of the Gods, but they're endearing because the filmmakers try so hard to make them work, despite their limited budget and 70's technology.
Honestly the film is nowhere as near as bad as I thought it would be or hoped for. I was expecting a laughable mess, instead the film is fairly competently made. The effects are very cheesy, but respectably so, not nearly as bad as many films of this era. The acting by the mostly unknown actors isn't terrible, they give good line readings, with the right inflections. The film is decently shot, directed, edited and scored. Which was a bit of a disappointment on one level, because I couldn't laugh at the film-maker's incompetence, and sort of had to take this ridiculous story seriously, which didn't make it as entertaining as I expected. Because the film's not funny, and I obviously can't be scared of it either, because I'm not 10 and living in the 70's, it becomes mearly a mediocre piece of entertainment.
Now don't get me wrong, the effects are humorous, I especially liked the part where our hero Morgan gets attacked by a giant chicken. The scenes of the giant animals are definitely the highlight of the film, but there are too many dead scenes of dialogue, that slow the film down. I was also hoping for more variety in animals, at the very beginning Morgan and his buddies are hunting in the woods, when one of them is attacked and killed by giant wasps. There's some good make-up effects here of the guy gruesomely puffed up. After the funeral, Morgan, a professional football player, heads back into the woods to figure out the mystery of what happened. That's when he comes across the farm with the giant chickens. That night, the farmer is attacked by giant rats. For the rest of the movie only the rats attack, and it got boring seeing the same old puppets. I guess that's all the animals they had in the budget.
There's some kind of magical goo seeping out of the ground on the farmer's land, and any animal that eats it turns gigantic. So by all means, there should have been more, especially of the insect variety. (Writer/Director Bert I. Gordon did the giant insect thing with his next film Empire of the Ants.) The farmers decide to feed it to the chickens, then the rats steal the chickens eggs, and apparently that's where the food chain ends in this world. Anyway, I shouldn't be complaining, three giant animals is three more than most films have to offer. An evil businessman shows up, he wants to buy the goo to use in animal production. In tow, is his cute secretary, who soon falls for Morgan and his manly blond curls. Soon they're all trapped in the farm house with giant rats crawling all over and it's up to Morgan and his NFL buddy to save the day.
They made a lot of these nature-revenge films in the late 70's and early 80's. It all started with The Birds, then became popular with Jaws, which remains far-and-away the best of the bunch. But there was also Day of the Animals, Piranha, Grizzly, Squirm, a personal favorite, and quite a few others. In terms of quality, Food of the Gods lies somewhere in the middle, as it's a fairly well made for a B-movie. But lies in a strange area between good and bad, which makes it unfortunately boring. Watch it for the giant animal scenes, skip the rest. - Grade: C+