The Food of the Gods is a 1976 American science fiction horror film written, produced, and directed by Bert I. Gordon. It is loosely based on a portion of the H. G. Wells novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth. It stars Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin and Ralph Meeker.
A belated sequel was made in Canada in 1989, Food of the Gods II.
Morgan and his friends are on a hunting trip on a remote Canadian island when they are attacked by a swarm of giant wasps. Looking for help, Morgan stumbles across a barn inhabited by an enormous killer chicken!
After doing some exploring, they discover the entire island is crawling with animals that have somehow grown to giant size. The most dangerous of all of these, however, are the rats, who are mobilising to do battle with the human intruders…
“No suspense is ever generated, and most of the dialogue is the characters bickering with each other. It seems like having characters bickering with each other became a standard in horror scripts after Night of the Living Dead (1968), but that movie was about the breakdown of society. Most of these characters, especially the married couple, argue endlessly before faced with any giant animals.” Stomp Tokyo
” …if Food of the Gods were released today, its final moments would serve as a GMO parable. As it stands, the film is still a glimpse into a paranoiac 70s mindset: somehow, even this era’s silliest monster movies are often grim affairs. Even as its crude effects compel you to laugh, you can’t help but notice how foreboding and unpleasant The Food of the Gods is at times.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!
“The attack by the giant chicken (the sound of that is funny in itself, but Mysterious Island from 1961 pulled it off nicely) is one for the books and Ida Lupino’s arm being gnawed by enormous worms is rather grim. The numerous rat attacks are violent pushing the PG rating about as far as it will go. Also, the shots of the rats being blasted by rifle fire are a bit disturbing. The creatures are obviously being hit with something…” Cool Ass Cinema
“The effects won’t win any Oscars, but they’re still pretty good – the forced perspective and composite shots work quite well, for the most part. The models – not so much; there’s a kill at a little red car, the first one we see via rat, and it’s just laughably bad when they cut from the guy in the car being attacked by a giant rat head, to a little Matchbox (one that’s not even the same shade of red) with a few rats sniffing around it. But the gore delivers…” Brian W. Collins, Horror Movie a Day
“This PG-rated late night favorite delivers more laughs than chills, so call some friends and watch this baby with plenty of beer.” Kindertrauma
“When the movie poster depicts a giant rat grabbing at a woman’s naked breasts, you expect a level of quality. Food of the Gods did not deliver. This is a routine creature feature with shoddy effects that never quite takes the subject matter far enough. There are some shots of rats (mice?) getting shot that might give you a jolt, but that will be to call animal rights rather than turn up the volume.” Rhett Miller, Horror Digital
“The Food of the Gods is bad, but it goes beyond bad to camp. I am a sucker for ’70s environmental horror movies and The Food of the Gods is one of the better “bad” ones. It isn’t good, I can recognize that, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects
“The location shooting is good and the film does manage some atmosphere. It’s also quite a bit more cartoonish in the violence department than you might expect. The rats take the worst licking but the wasp sequence and the maggots that mess with Lupino’s arm are pretty nasty! It is fun watching the cast get whittled down…” Horace Cordier, Rock! Shock! Pop!
“The thing isn’t boring for an instant. It’s filled with action. It manages to establish the half-dozen characters without wasting any time. Most characters are two-dimensional, many events go unexplained, but for a low-mentality B-movie from the 70s it is great.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“These poor creatures are subjected to what look like red paintballs (for when they’re supposed to be shot), electrocution, improvised dynamite and attempted drowning, all in the name of show business. Never mind the indignity the cast have to got through by acting through this risible plod, the rats really suffer for their art.” Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image
“The film is generally entertaining and the rat-attack scenes in the cabin genuinely harrowing. There are even a couple of decidedly scary scenes, such as when the huge rats approach in the distance as Meeker and Gortner have an argument outside the cabin. But the production is still rather cheesy in a strictly negative sense…” William Schoell, Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies
“Despite its obvious drive-in trappings, The Food of the Gods is not much fun. It’s too ugly and cruel to be really funny, and too technically inept to be particularly frightening. Perhaps the best that can be said for it is that it is slightly better than Gordon’s next Wells-inspired outing, a clunky, in-name-only adaptation of Empire of the Ants...” John Floyd, Celluloid Nightmares
Cast and characters:
- Marjoe Gortner as Morgan – Starcrash
- Pamela Franklin as Lorna
- Ralph Meeker as Jack Bensington
- Jon Cypher as Brian
- Ida Lupino as Mrs. Skinner
- John McLiam as Mr. Skinner
- Belinda Balaski as Rita – The Howling
- Tom Stovall as Thomas
- Chuck Courtney as Davis
- Reg Tunnicliffe as ferry attendant