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The Food of the Gods

Wednesday 6 May 2015 6:30 pm
by Bert I. Gordon, USA, 1976

The Food of the Gods is a 1976 science fiction thriller film released by American International Pictures and was written, produced, and directed by Bert I. Gordon.

The Food of the Gods starred Marjoe Gortner of Earthquake, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher, John McLiam, and Ida Lupino. This film was loosely based on a portion of the H. G. Wells novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth. A sequel to the film (if only in name) was made in 1989, entitled Food of the Gods II.

 

The film reduced Wells' tale to an "Ecology Strikes Back" scenario, common in science fiction movies at the time. The "food" mysteriously bubbles up from the ground on a remote island somewhere in British Columbia. Mr. and Mrs. Skinner (John McLiam and Ida Lupino) consider it a gift from God, and feed it to their chickens, which grow larger than humans as a result. Rats, wasps, and grub worms also consume the substance, and the island becomes infested with giant vermin. One night, a swarm of giant rats kill Mr. Skinner after his car breaks down in the forest.

A professional football player named Morgan (Marjoe Gortner) is on the island for a hunting trip with his buddies when one of them is stung to death by giant wasps. After ferrying his friends back to the mainland, Morgan returns to investigate. Also thrown into the mix are Thomas and Rita (Tom Stovall and Belinda Balaski), an expecting couple; Jack Bensington (Ralph Meeker), the owner of a dog food company, who hopes to market the substance; and Bensington's assistant Lorna (Pamela Franklin), a "lady bacteriologist". After Morgan locates and dynamites the giant wasps' enormous nest, he and the others become trapped in the Skinner's farmhouse, surrounded by giant rats. Mrs. Skinner, Morgan's friend Brian (Jon Cypher), and Bensington are killed by the rats.

Morgan blows up a nearby dam, flooding the area and drowning the rats, whose size and weight renders them unable to swim. However, several of Mrs. Skinner's jars of "F.O.T.G." are swept away, drifting to a mainland farm. The substance is consumed by dairy cows, and in the film's closing scene, schoolchildren are shown unwittingly drinking the tainted milk, implying that they will also experience abnormal growth.

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