The Food of the Gods is a 1976 science fiction thriller film released by American International Pictures and was written, produced, and directed by Bert I. Gordon.
The Food of the Gods starred Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher, John McLiam, and Ida Lupino. This film was loosely based on a portion of the H. G. Wells novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth.
Michael Medved gave it the Golden Turkey Award for "Worst Rodent Movie of All Time".
The film reduced Wells' tale to an "Ecology Strikes Back" scenario, common in science fiction movies at the time. The "food" mysteriously bubbles up from the ground on a remote island somewhere in British Columbia. Mr. and Mrs. Skinner (John McLiam and Ida Lupino) consider it a gift from God, and feed it to their chickens, which grow larger than humans as a result. Rats, wasps, and grub worms also consume the substance, and the island becomes infested with giant vermin. One night, a swarm of giant rats kill Mr. Skinner after his car tyre punctured in the forest.
A professional football player named Morgan (Marjoe Gortner) is on the island for a hunting trip with his buddies when one of them is stung to death by giant wasps. After ferrying his friends back to the mainland, Morgan returns to investigate. Also thrown into the mix are Thomas and Rita (Tom Stovall and Belinda Balaski), an expecting couple; Jack Bensington (Ralph Meeker), the owner of a dog food company, who hopes to market the substance; and Bensington's assistant Lorna (Pamela Franklin), a bacteriologist. After Morgan locates and dynamites the giant wasps' enormous nest, he and the others become trapped in the Skinner's farmhouse, surrounded by giant rats. Mrs. Skinner, Morgan's friend Brian (Jon Cypher), and Bensington are killed by the rats.
Morgan blows up a nearby dam, flooding the area and drowning the rats, whose size and weight renders them unable to swim. After the waters clear, the survivors pile up the bodies of the rats, spilling the jars of "F.O.T.G." and gasoline on them before burning them. However, several of Mrs. Skinner's jars of "F.O.T.G." are swept away, drifting to a mainland farm. The substance is consumed by dairy cows, and in the film's closing scene, schoolchildren are shown unwittingly drinking the tainted milk, implying that they will also experience abnormal growth.Marjoe Gortner as Morgan
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
Tom Stovall as Thomas
Chuck Courtney as Davis
Reg Tunnicliffe as ferry attendant
The film premiered on 18 June 1976 in the United States. Scream Factory released the film on May 26, 2015 first time on Blu-ray Disc as a double feature with Frogs.
The movie was AIP's most successful release of the year, causing them to make a series of films based on H.G. Wells novels.
It was nominated for the Best Horror Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in the 1976 Saturn Awards.
It has a score of 24% at Rotten Tomatoes from 17 reviewers.
In 1989 a sequel (if only in name), entitled Food of the Gods II, was released.