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Food Of The Gods/Frogs

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    Horace Cordier
    Senior Member

  • Food Of The Gods/Frogs



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: May 26th, 2105.
    Director: Bert I. Gordon, George McCowan
    Cast: Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Ray Milland
    Year: 1976/1972
    Purhcase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    FOOD OF THE GODS and FROGS might actually constitute the world's most perfect double feature. Both are from the 70's. Both are completely ridiculous. Both are reliant on dodgy yet oddly compelling fx. And while the plotlines of both are silly, the assembled casts deliver the material with a mostly straight face - which really increases the entertainment value.

    FOOD OF THE GODS is the more ambitious production. Football player Morgan (Marjoe Gortner) and two pals are on vacation on a small local island. What is supposed to be a fun weekend of hunting and fishing turns horrific when one of their number (Chuck Courtney) runs into some killer giant wasps when he's separated from the group. Legendary producer/director Bert I. Gordon lays his cards right on the table in this sequence. What look like big rubber bugs start landing on the hapless victim and it's absurd. Still, the sound effects and the sight of the bloated dead body make an impression. After that, Morgan runs into Mrs. Skinner (Ida Lupino) - a farm owner who lives in a shack. Seems she and her husband have discovered some kind of animal food ambrosia that they hope to sell for a profit. The liquid causes animals to grow to extreme sizes. But while the farmers just want their chickens to get this food, it seems the entire local wildlife population has been getting into the stash.

    And that's pretty much the whole ball of wax. Morgan battles various supersize beasts done with often shoddy practical effects whilst trying to rescue some local residents. His fight with a massive rooster is truly hilarious - especially when you glimpse the stuntman holding the chicken puppet head. The rats and leeches are moderately more effective though still often look like stuffed and rubber toys. Lupino and Ralph Meeker as a super sleazy businessman looking to cash in on "the food of the gods" have some fun with their roles and the female continent of Pamela Franklin and Belinda Balaski do a decent job with thinly written parts. 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...

    FROGS isn't as explicit as FOOD OF THE GODS and has an even more pronounced ecological message. Ecologist Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) is cruising the Florida Everglades in a canoe and taking pictures of the local wildlife. He's noticing a lot of pollution too though - and mutated slightly too large animals. After being almost drowned by obnoxious brother and sister Clint (Adam Roarke)) and Karen Crockett (Joan Van Ark of future Knot's Landing fame) in their souped up motorboat, Pickett winds up being invited to the yearly Crockett family lakeside summer party/4th of July shindig. Turns out that the Crockett clan - headed by family patriarch Jason (the great Ray Milland in supremely crotchety form) have been polluting the environment heavily in order to further their various interests.

    FROGS has a bit of a misleading title. It isn't about killer frogs. Once it is established that wheelchair bound Jason is a miserable polluter and his family clan a bunch of boozed up whiners with no respect for the environment, FROGS spends the rest of its running time playing ten little Indians. This thing had a ten cent budget, so a lot of the mayhem is off-camera. But people basically get taken out by crocodiles, lizards, tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Director George McCowan makes nice use of the Florida locations but the regular cuts back to shots of frogs looking frankly bored doesn't help matters. I think we are supposed to believe that the amphibians are some sort of masterminds overseeing all the mayhem. But much like earlier turd NIGHT OF THE LEPUS with its killer bunnies, some beasts just aren't capable of scaring you. The death scenes are decent however and Milland is a total hoot.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    FOOD OF THE GODS (framed at 1.85:1) is granted the better transfer overall - while the 1.78.1 aspect ratio FROGS has some minor issues. Both 1080p AVC encodes have a pleasant organic appearance. Some of the attack scenes in FOOD OF THE GODS - especially the wasp one - look decidedly ropey though. This is a product of the opticals and the way the material was initially shot however. While the Blu looks like it was struck from an older master, clarity, depth and color reproduction are all good with no trace of digital manipulation. FROGS has a more inconsistent transfer. The print used has some damage with visible marks, nicks and scars at reel changes. The actual color reproduction, fine detail and quality of the image itself is superior to FOOD OF THE GODS, but the print inferior. Like FOOD, there is no DNR present and black levels are solid. Both films have solid and well mixed DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks that do a good job with the various audio needs. Dialog is always clear, and the various environmental and animal sounds are handled well.

    FOOD OF THE GODS has a fun chat with actress Balaski who has some cool stories about the shoot and an audio commentary with producer/director Gordon. Gordon is over 90 and a bit halting at times but imparts a lot of info and delivers a worthwhile listen. There's also a theatrical trailer, radio spot and extensive photo gallery on hand. FROGS gets an interview with Joan Van Ark where she cheerfully shares memories of making the film and dealing with the critters - human and animal - involved in it. And while this one doesn't have an audio commentary you do get the theatrical trailer, a radio spot, and another nice photo gallery of promotional materials.

    The Parting Shot:

    When it comes to goofy eco-horror, you can't do worse then these two. Both are great camp fun with FOOD OF THE GODS being more the classic monster show and FROGS being more quirky. Just don't go in expecting something subtle like LONG WEEKEND and you'll have a blast. And while the print damage on FROGS is less than ideal, Scream Factory have delivered strong transfers overall on both films and some solid supplements. At around sixteen bucks this is very good value for money. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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