Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980’s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. Balladeer’s Blog continues its celebration of the program’s 30th anniversary year.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Sometime in 1985, possibly February or March. Still trying to narrow it down further so anyone who has information please contact me via my FAQ page. Some info points to this being the first episode in which Randy and Richard used their machine guns and “prop-pack” mini-copters to fight giant rats from deep in the Earth.
Given how central the giant rats would be going forward IF this can be verified it would make this a pretty pivotal episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault.
SERIAL: IF the February or March of 1985 date is correct – and that’s still up in the air – then the serial episode would definitely have been from The Lost City (1935).
COMEDY SKETCHES: The Film Vault Corps (“The few, the proud, the sarcastic”), led by Randy, Richard and Ken “Tex” Miller taking on the first of many packs of giant rats. The effects, models and dolls of the human figures would – for humor’s sake – have been INTENTIONALLY as cheesy as the kind Bert I Gordon used in The Food of the Gods and so many of his other “gigantic monster” films.
OTHER HOST SEGMENTS: A look at the many, MANY “size change” movies of Bert I Gordon, “Mister B.I.G.” himself. ( Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the Puppet People, Earth vs the Spider, Beginning of the End, War of the Colossal Beast, The Cyclops, Village of the Giants, Empire of the Ants, etc)
The Food of the Gods was very loosely based on part of H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name. Gordon’s Village of the Giants, about a gang of giant-sized teenagers, was likewise loosely based on an often-forgotten section of that novel.
This movie starred Marjoe Gortner, the child evangelist turned B-movie legend, as football star Morgan (no fuller name given), who travels to a remote Canadian island for a vacation. Unfortunately, thanks to a very embarrassed- looking Ida Lupino, her farm animals plus other wild life have begun eating “the Food of the Gods”, a white substance from deep in the Earth. That food has caused various forms of animal and insect life to grow to enormous size, setting up the usual rampage scenes from Bert I Gordon films.
Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher and Pamela Franklin are also along for the ride, with everyone from the Medved Brothers on down making fun of Franklin’s line “Jobs for female bacteriologists aren’t easy to find.”
As always in films by Mr B.I.G. the real fun comes from the laughably awkward and cheap special effects used for the “gigantic” creatures. This film gives us attacks by enormous chickens, roosters, wasps and, of course, rats. And it’s pretty clear rats WERE harmed during the making of this film. For scenes where Marjoe Gortner and company are supposedly shooting the attacking beasts with shotguns it looks like real rats were shot with B.B. guns to get the flesh-rending effects.
And at the end a flood wipes out the giant rats (despite the fact that rats can swim), who have besieged our surviving cast members in Ida Lupino’s farmhouse, Night of the Living Dead style. Lots of live rats seem to have been drowned to provide the corpses in the aftermath shots. I know that since rats can be exterminated as vermin it often puts them in a dubious position when it comes to protection in films (there are even “rat snuff” porno movies) but The Food of the Gods goes beyond even Paul Naschy’s Hunchback of the Rue Morgue in abusing them.
At any rate after the epilogue with Marjoe and friends there’s a pointless teaser for a sequel which features a toddler drinking milk that has accidentally been mixed with some Food of the Gods.
IN THE NEAR FUTURE BALLADEER’S BLOG WILL PRESENT MORE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT MILESTONES.
Be here to share the Film Vault Corp’s mission of “safeguarding America’s schlock-culture heritage”.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFO ON THIS SHOW –https://glitternight.com/texas-27-film-vault/
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