“Dig that nitty-gritty!”
The Scoop: 1965 NR, directed by Bert I. Gordon and starring Tommy Kirk, Charla Doherty, Beau Bridges and Ron Howard
Tagline: No on pushes these kids around anymore!
Summary Capsule: A group of teenagers eat some gunk that makes them as tall as a building. They decide this amazing new superpower is best used to procure fried chicken and tiny bottles of Coke.
Heather’s rating: The opening credits tout that this movie is loosely based on HG Wells’ novel Food of the Gods. By “loosely” they mean every scene consists of titanic body parts jiggling in front of the camera.
Heather’s review: You know, I really shouldn’t have had to work this hard to find something to say about this movie. It lends itself to constant riffing and scoffs of disbelief, it’s as 60’s as it could possibly be before going full circle and becoming a sad parody of the decade, it’s jarringly different from the other part of the Food of the Gods story that director Bert I. Gordon was trying so desperately to tell. And yet…and yet for the past two years every time I’ve sat down at the keyboard all creativity is sapped in the wake of this eighty-one-minute long tsunami of stupid.
Village of the Giants is the continuation of a running theme in Gordon’s films: Big things and the small things they terrorize. Call it an obsession, call it some kind of hokey desire to fulfill the grand destiny of his initials, but for one reason or another a majority of his movies revolved around size. In this film we watch the citizens of a small town deal with a wild group of teenagers who, after ingesting some pink sludge, grow taller than most of the buildings around them. Rather than question this, or seek help, the kids play out a power fantasy they’ve had for years: Make adults do whatever they say! Unfortunately for the audience, “Whatever they say!” is bringing them fried chicken and cola and not riddling their giant butts with bullet holes.
Speaking of giant butts, I get the impression that the director likes a few extra acres on his tracts on land. The ’60s have a bad reputation when it comes to exploiting female anatomy onscreen and holy macrophilia, Batman, is this movie ever one long, goofy excuse to show gargantuan goodies in slo-mo. You can almost see the conflicted looks of the townsmen who are torn between fear of having their guts stomped out and overwhelming joy at the incredibly easy upskirt shots they’re getting. This is made even ickier once you realize, after looking at those stage curtains the teens wrapped around themselves as togas, that there’s no way they bothered to fashion themselves some underwear. Talk about a flash mob.
Hey, hey, hey! Get your hand off that mouse! You can go look up clips of giant wobbly bits later. I’m still talking here.
Anyway, I’m not frustrated with this movie because I went into this expecting quality cinema; quite the contrary. I asked for a completely ridiculous experience and I got it. What I also got, though, were uninspired giant teenager antics and tortuously long “dance” scenes set to Jack Nietzsche’s “The Last Race”. Tarantino used that song in his movie Death Proof, and I hope he put it to better use there because here, on top of an ultra-slow-motion, four-minute-long scene of that awful jerk-dancing white people did back then, those notes are like the sound of your soul leaving your body to go find something more stimulating. Like dog poop, perhaps. I don’t really know what souls find interesting, but it can’t be this.
Those awful moments aside, I have three good reasons that you should really see this film (four, if you’re into macrophilia):
1. A guy named Horsey, in a cowboy hat, takes a ride on a giant pair of breasts.
2. The downright Ninja Rap moment when two monstrous geese make their way into a dance. Everyone spends about half a second on the fact that there are creatures present big enough to consume them in one bite before going “Whee, this is kooky!” and continuing dancing. And then the giant geese join in. And then the camera zooms in on their geese-butts as they wiggle their tail feathers. I only wish that was some kind of genius self-referential humor.
3. The part where Mike (Tommy Kirk) defeats the giant spider in the laboratory by jumping up and kicking down a water line while hanging from the ceiling. He throws a broken light bulb on the ground, electrocuting the wet spider. He swings back over to the steps, doesn’t quite stick the landing and falls backward. In a split second his girlfriend, Nancy (Charla Doherty), turns off the power, saving his life. Mike gives her some kind of wounded pride look, briskly asks her if she’s okay, and when she replies that she’s fine, only a bit scared, he says “Well you don’t have to be. Not with me around!”
Why do the ladies only seem concerned with covering their chests? I’m no expert, but to my understanding ladies have bits they’d want to cover below their waist.
This movie was featured on MST3K. Fans of the show will recognize Tommy Kirk as starring in the other MST3K feature Catalina Caper, which Tommy made after this came out. Maybe this movie began the downward spiral?
Beau Bridges should never shimmy. Ever.
Toni Basil of “Oh Mickey you’re so fine…” fame was in this as Red. She also choreographed the dances. Chew on that a while.
I really want to know how they captured and killed the geese for the BBQ. I like to imagine that a goose rodeo took place.
Baby Ron Howard as Genius!
Harry: “What’s the matter, hotshot? Don’t like your new size?”
Merrie: “I was big enough already.”
Mike: “Must have been a long walk.”
Jean: “They say it’s good for the legs. That’s what they say.”
Elsa: “Dig that nitty-gritty”
Horsey: “Hey, those are my ducks!”
Fred: “Merrie? Oh, baby she’s not my girlfriend, she’s just…uh…one of the group, that’s all. One of the group.”
Elsa (holding up a bikini top): “Hey, who’s a size 40?!”
Horsey: “How do you like those ducks?”
Red: “Barbecued. That’s how I like them.”
Mike: “Who got the Goo?”
Genius: “They got it. One of them ran off with it. I was going to stop him, but…”
Nancy: “But what?”
Genius: “Reasons of pure logic. He was bigger than me.”
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Catalina Caper
- Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman
- Rule 34