Sunday, July 25, 2010

May 27, 2009: Psychobabble recommends Village of the Giants

One of the most fabulously ludicrous literary adaptations ever made, Village of the Giants (1965) is part sci-fi monster movie, part Beach Blanket Bingo, and all groovy. The first laugh is a big one, as the words “Based on ‘The Food of the Gods’ by H.G. Wells” flash on-screen during the opening credits. I can only surmise that Wells never intended giant, bikini-clad go-go dancers, wild musical interludes by the Beau Brummels and Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, or Beau Bridges in the original outline of his bizarre sci-fi classic (which would be more faithfully—but no less weirdly—adapted in 1976).

11-year old Ron Howard is “Genius”, a freckle-faced imp of a junior chemist who is privileged enough to have his own fully equipped, Frankenstein-style laboratory in the basement of his parents’ house. Genius concocts the “goo,” which instantly transforms any creature that eats it into a giant. When Bridges and his gang of teen miscreants get hold of the goo— Oh, Daddy!— that shindig gets way, way out! Scattered throughout, we get baffling lingo like “Dig that nitty gritty!”, massive ducks and tarantulas, massiver hairdos, an especially shaggy Beau Brummels hot off of scoring their biggest hit with “Just a Little” (and a couple of years away from recording their underrated cult classic Triangle), a memorable appearance by Toni Basil as a redheaded cage dancer, hotrods, some seriously out-of-proportion props (a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland is roughly the same size as a little girl), and some daring close-ups of Joy Harmon’s leathery midriff. Dig that nitty gritty!

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