Happy Halloween! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Just like in my favorite song:
“There’ll be battles for hosting; victims for roasting and bellowing out in the snow. There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of conflicts long, long ago!”
Ah, I love this time of year. And what better way to celebrate with my future subjects (after all, you’ll all work for me after I takeover the world!) than to review some blood-curdling size-change material?
“Food of the Gods II” (a.k.a. “Gnaw: Food of the Gods II” and “Food of the Gods Part 2”) is a Canadian horror film released on May 19, 1989. (NOTE: While filmed in Ontario, Canada, the story is set in the United States.) The movie stars Paul Coufos as Doctor Neil Hamilton. Paul appeared on several TV shows and movies like “City of Shadows” (1987), “976-Evil II” (1991), and his most recent (according to IMDB) “Sometimes a Hero” (2003). Lisa Schrage played the female lead, Alex Reed. Lisa appeared in TV shows and films like “Dreams Beyond Memory” (1987), “China White” (1989), and “Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II” (1987). I was not familiar with the leads or any of the performers in this production. (It’s so hard to get older Canadian films out to the planets circling the Ghost Head Nebula 😡 )
Readers take note, while labeled a sequel, this story has no connection to the original 1976 production “The Food of the Gods.”
The action begins as Professor Edmond Delhurst walks past a group of protestors advocating for animal rights. Then Dr. Hamilton meets a young boy named Bobby (played by the producer’s son) who is the height of a full-sized man. Bobby was given an experimental growth hormone in order to counter-act his growth deficiency by Dr. Treger, a former instructor to Dr. Hamilton. (In addition to his abnormal size and strength, Bobby is also uncharacteristically aggressive. He tells them to get the fuck out!)
Dr. Hamilton tests the hormone while searching for a cure for Bobby’s condition. This leads to overgrown tomatoes and giant-sized lab rats! Shortly afterward, some of the protestors from the beginning of the movie break into the lab and accidentally release those rats. So, the presumably well-meaning activists released animals that later killed many people! In that aspect, they resemble activists like those in the 2002 British horror film “28 Days Later,” who unknowingly release chimpanzees infected with a rage-inducing virus that then devastates the world.
The rats wreck bloody carnage through the local area as our heroes stumble about attempting to find the deadly pests and devise a cure for the growth formula. At one point, Dr. Hamilton falls asleep and dreams of taking the growth formula and having sex with one of his students. (As professors are wont to do.)
This is the only example I’ve ever seen of a horror scene featuring a growing man having sex with a normal woman! Dr. Hamilton’s nightmare stands in stark contrast to how that same scenario plays out in gentle growing couple fantasies, such as those in ZZZ Comics. In ZZZ’s stories the women having sex with growing men routinely increase in stature to match their partners, as seen in the examples below.
To be clear, in the above examples both the men and women were exposed to a growth catalyst as opposed to Food of the Goods II in which only the man had been given something. Also, obviously ZZZ’s intent was to stimulate sexual arousal as opposed to this film’s intent to shock!
Back to “Food of the Gods II,” the unscrupulous Professor Edmond Delhurst decides to mix the growth agent with cancer cells scraped off a dog’s open sore(!) (As professors are wont to do… I guess?)
The climax provided a realistic depiction of humans in stressful situations and their occasionally shameful responses in the face of personal danger.
What do I mean? I mean acts like an older man shielding himself with a young woman and a bystander seizing a dropped police pistol and hitting several innocents in the process of trying to shoot rats. (NOTE: One of the policemen urged his fellow officers not to fire wild, but they also struggled to avoid friendly fire.)
In the end, the oversized rats fall prey to a hail of gunfire. Yet, all is not well in Canada (err… the U.S.) as Bobby kills Dr. Treger and escapes in a cliffhanger twist. (NOTE: This film came out in 1989 and no sequel has been released in the decades since. SO, I doubt there will be a conclusion to the cliffhanger anytime soon.)
During the narrative’s progression there was some oddly placed silliness, such as Dr. Hamilton playing a pipe in the same manner as the “Pied Piper.” (Amazingly, it works and his favorite rat, a female with a white coat of fur, answers his summons.)
Most jarring was the contrast between the violent pool scene and the following scene of our hero getting a guitarist to play the notes to the same “Three Blind Mice” nursery rhyme that he earlier used to summon his white rat.
I recommend this film, but caution that the lead, Paul Coufos, was fairly bland. His performance was serviceable, but not memorable. There’s a lot of blood and gore, and nudity such as exposed (and quite attractive) female breasts and rat-bitten (thus less attractive) male buttocks belonging to an unfortunate college student fleeing for his life. This predated the common use of computer-generated imagery (CGI), and thus real rats on miniature sets, forced perspective shots, as well as large puppets were used. It was obvious when real animals were used and when puppets were used. As one might guess, whenever an actor or actress needed to be mauled then a puppet was brought into play.
Altogether, this is a fun, campy tale of a growth formula gone disastrously wrong! I give “Food of the Gods II” four inappropriate student-professor relationships out of five.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
P. S. Did anyone else suddenly feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand up? Almost as if a meddling do-gooder was trying to return. Hmm… ❓
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