Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Village of the Giants (1965)

Village of the Giants is a 1965 science-fiction/comedy movie with many elements of the beach party film genre. It was produced, directed and written by Bert I. Gordon, and based loosely on H.G. Wells's book The Food of the Gods. The story revolves mostly around a chemical substance called "Goo", which causes giant growth in living things, and what happens after a gang of rebellious youngsters get their hands on it. The cast was mostly teens, or young actors playing teens, and The Beau Brummels and Freddy Cannon make musical guest appearances. The movie was a low-budget exploitation film and not a huge hit (released mostly to drive-ins as part of a double bill), but had some notable use of special effects and undoubted sex appeal, and went on to become a cult classic. The movie proved far more successful years later, when released on home video. Village of the Giants takes place in fictional Hainesville, California. After crashing their car into a roadblock during a rainstorm, a group of partying, big-city teenagers (Fred, Pete, Rick, Harry, and their girlfriends Merrie, Elsa, Georgette and Jean) first indulge in a vigorous, playful mud-wrestling fight, then hike their way into town. Fred remembers meeting a girl from Hainesville named Nancy, and they decide to look her up. Nancy, meanwhile, is with her boyfriend Mike, while her younger brother "Genius" plays with his chemistry set in the basement. Genius accidentally creates a substance he names "Goo", that causes animals, including a pair of ducks, to grow to gigantic size. The out-of-town teens break into the local theater and clean up from the rain, then go to a nearby club where The Beau Brummels are performing. Shortly, the giant ducks turn up, followed by Mike and Nancy. Everyone is astounded by the size of the ducks, wondering how they got so big. Mike explains that it's a secret, but following a suggestion made by their friends Horsey and Red, they host a picnic in the town square the next day, roasting the ducks and feeding everybody. Freddy Cannon is featured singing a song in this scene. Fred and his friends also see potential in whatever made the ducks grow, but their minds are purely on profit. They scheme to learn the secret, and are ultimately successful, escaping with a sample. Back at the theater, the gang argues over what to do with the Goo, now that they have it. Feeling peer pressure, Fred slices up the Goo, giving everyone a piece each, which they consume a moment later. As the Goo takes effect, they each grow to over thirty feet tall, ripping right out of their clothes. At first everyone is shocked and regretful, but realizing their newfound power at their new size, the gang decide to take over the town.


Overnight, the giants decide to isolate Hainesville from the rest of the world. They rip out the telephone lines, overturn broadcasting antennas, and block the remaining roads out of town. When the sheriff and Mike arrive to deal with them, they discover that the giants have no plans to leave – and are literally holding the sheriff's daughter, as "insurance" that they won't have any trouble. While the town's adults seem paralyzed, the teens decide to fight back. An attempt to capture Fred results in Nancy being taken hostage. Meanwhile, Genius continues to work, trying to produce more Goo. Mike asks Genius to forget the Goo for awhile, and make them a supply of ether – having noticed the giants only leave one guard on the hostages, Mike and Horsey plot to subdue that guard, recover the guns, and free Nancy and the sheriff's daughter. Having led the giants outside the theater, Mike plays David to Fred's Goliath, to distract them while Horsey and the others effect the rescue. Genius' newest attempt at Goo results in an antidote. He rides over to the square on a bicycle with a pail full of the fuming antidote. As the giants breathe in the fumes, they all return to normal. Mike cold-cocks the surprised Fred, and promptly runs him and his friends, looking silly in their now-oversized clothes, out of town. From Wikipedia



VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS
BERT I. GORDON
EMBASSY PICTURES
81 MIN
USA

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