Would you believe that as I signed into WordPress today to write about Food of the Gods, this month’s Final Girl film club pick, the picture for the main story was of a giant albino rat? It was as if the main adversary from this quality picture was haunting me! Or giving me his blessing, maybe. Hard to tell.

Aaaaanyway. A group of brave souls gathered at my apartment Friday night to screen this gem, a seminal entry in the low-budget 70s horror realm, and in the more specific sub-category of “movies about giant killer animals”. Somewhere on a wooded island in Canada, some football players trying to unwind for a bit (oh, the stress of the intense Canadian football world!) have a nasty run-in with what appears to be a labrador-sized wasp, leaving one of them dead. The survivors seek help at a nearby cabin, encountering a kooky old lady and her barn full of giant fucking chickens. Can I just say, everyone is WAY TOO NONCHALANT about the giant fucking chickens. This is about this time that I decided that the movie was going to be awesome.

Turns out this old lady, Mrs. Skinner (oh Ida Lupino, you classy broad, you deserved better this late in your career), and her husband have been feeding the chickens with what appears to be a tapioca-like substance (primordial ooze!) spewing forth from the ground near their house. In her defense, Mrs. Skinner does say that she and hubby tested to see if it was oil first before forcing it on their animals. We’ll forgive her the fact that oil, often referred to as “black gold” but never as “baby-spit-up-colored gold”, looks nothing like the aforementioned substance—life is simpler in the Canadian backwoods. Soon the arrival of a suit from the city looking to cash in on the giant livestock movement, his obviously sexually frustrated wife, and a guy with his very pregnant girlfriend whose RV has broken down complete our cast of rag-tag misfits caught in a life-threatening and remote-from-help situation.

Here comes the awkward part. Lord knows I love me some really bad special effects, and such effects abound in this movie. Giant mosquitoes that are really just vaguely-mosquito-shaped shadows made from double exposing the film, close-ups of clearly regular-sized rats next to toy cars, all that. Love it. It’s when they start mixing those bad effects with real footage of rats getting blown away that things start to unravel. Now, I’m not going to pretend that if my house was infested with rats, I wouldn’t call an exterminator to kill the little bitches. I am not crying over the dead rats. But I live in the age wherein killing an animal to get a realistic shot for your film is just not done. It was just….weird. It sort of killed the party a bit. We went from “oh my god, this is so fricking funny” to “oh my god did they just drown like a hundred rats, for reals?” Too much reality, yo.

In the end, though, I was quite glad to have seen the film, even if I would have preferred highly fake rat deaths, and was disappointed that the one chick didn’t give birth to a giant baby like I was really hoping for. We decided this film needs a remake stat, starring Matthew McConaughey and Winona Ryder as the main football guy and the sexually frustrated wife, who of course enjoy an adrenaline-fueled love connection. Eli Roth, you want to get on that? The end of Cabin Fever is pretty much directly lifted from this movie, so I think you owe it to make this happen.


5 Responses to “F.O.T.G. FTW”

  1. 1 Chelsea September 8, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I loved that this movie claims to be “based on a portion of the novel by H.G. Wells” and not the whole thing. Also, according to imdb, in the scene with the giant attacking rooster, you can see the legs of the guy on the crew holding up the fake chicken head! So sorry we didn’t notice that!

  2. 2 patty September 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    the real-life rat killing was too much. i wonder how much it bothered people when the movie first came out?

  3. 3 Sara September 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Actually, I just read that PETA was started after an original screening of this movie.

    That isn’t true. It could be though.

  4. 4 Mark September 9, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I don’t think the animal cruelty bothered people at all when the movie came out – unfortunately you can find similar stuff in lots of old movies.

  5. 5 patty September 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    that’s gross and sad. i’m really glad i’m not desensitized to it.

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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