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BERT I. GORDON DIRECTS 'FOOD OF THE GODS' WITH RALPH MEEKER

Title: FOOD OF THE GODS Year: 1976 Rating: ***1/2

When cult director Bert I. Gordon was a forgotten legend of 1950's and 1960's drive-in cinema, he had a comeback for two consecutive years — 1976 and 1977 — with a pair of science-fiction flicks, loosely based on stories by H.G. Wells, ending with EMPIRE OF THE ANTS and before that a more message-laden eco-horror in FOOD OF THE GODS, centering not on enlarged killer insects but voracious rats...

Like EMPIRE, they're actual creatures made to look immense by trick photography, while the actors are superimposed like they're either battling, or, with cheap close-up practical effects, being devoured by the rodents, who exist because a rural farm couple discovered the titular slimy FOOD coming from the earth, making these GODS rise up and conquer...

Ida Lupino and Pamela Franklin in FOOD OF THE GODS

Including chickens and bees but the rats are the real problem, while the main heroes are a professional football player and his muscular agent on a hunting trip, who happen upon this nature gone amok...

The central focus, however, is on veteran actors Ida Lupino as the surviving old lady farmer and human antagonist Ralph Meeker who, with mousy assistant Pamela Franklin, are seeking this new miraculous discovery for a giant corporate payoff... that's Ralph's goal, anyway...

Jon Cypher and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS

Cute Pamela winds up predictably smitten with the intrepid jock played by former child preacher Marjoe Gortner, on the last stretch of his 15-minute ride of b-movie stardom, paired with future HILL STREET BLUES chief Jon Cypher while that decade's future scream queen Belinda Balaski is just about to give birth and... well...

It doesn't matter how these eclectic outdoor-dwelling characters wind up together but they all do, and as director, Gordon keeps the battle sequences flowing along with sporadic downtime tension so that, ultimately, FOOD OF THE GODS makes a pretty decent action flick where it falls short of a legitimate sci-fi thriller.

Ralph Meeker in FOOD OF THE GODS
Pamela Franklin and Ida Lupino in FOOD OF THE GODS
Pamela Franklin in FOOD OF THE GODS
Ralph Meeker and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Pamela Franklin and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Belinda Balaski in FOOD OF THE GODS
Ralph Meeker in FOOD OF THE GODS
Jon Cypher and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Jon Cypher and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Jon Cypher and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Jon Cypher and Marjoe Gortner in FOOD OF THE GODS
Pamela Franklin in FOOD OF THE GODS
Bert I. Gordon's FOOD OF THE GODS
Pamela Frankllin in FOOD OF THE GODS


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