Believe it or not, the H.G. Wells novel The Food Of The Gods wasn’t adapted to the screen until 1965, at which time it formed a very loose basis for Bert Gordon’s JD monster flick, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS. In the film, a gang of rowdy (and quite possibly stoned, if their early behavior is any indication) teenagers crash their car near an isolated, idyllic all-American small town. In this town lives scientific prodigy Genius, played by Ronny Howard. Genius accidentally creates an edible substance dubbed “Goo.” Goo causes fantastic growth, which turns a house cat into a cattle-sized beast, thus presenting some intriguing economic possibilities.
Tommy Kirk feeds some Goo to a pair of ducks, which soon make the scene at the local go-go joint. While the town enjoys a massive barbecue, the rowdy gang plots to steal the Goo. Somewhat short-sighted, considering what the substance is worth, the group consumes the Goo and balloon to massive size. They quickly take over the town and declare martial law on adults. Now Kirk, Howard, and the rest of the kids in town must mount an effort to win back their hamlet from the giant fingers of Beau Bridges and his toughs. Partly a traditional B-science fiction picture, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS also tries to play to the audiences of the then-popular beach cycle. Though not an out-and-out comedy like those pictures, our subject is rather wild and light in tone for much of its run time. Conversely, the giant delinquents are truly frightening menaces gone mad with power. Their overthrow of town is presented in a straight-forward and disturbingly believable fashion. Kirk’s near death in battling a giant tarantula is fairly suspenseful stuff, too. Ultimately, the film seems unsure as to which tone it should embrace. Still, 60s pop is all over this movie, and it remains delightful fun.
Girl watchers will in particular dig this one. I will note that the giant body part props (with the exception of Joy Harmon’s massive bust) are patently goofy-looking. Bert Gordon would later do a straighter adaptation of THE FOOD OF THE GODS, though that star-studded epic fell victim to 70s relevancy. It’s a fairly intriguing picture in it’s own right, but it’s hardly Gordon’s best work. Neither is VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS, but it’s such breezy fun it’s hard to take much issue with it!