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  Food of the Gods II Hell GnawBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Damian Lee
Stars: Paul Coufos, Lisa Schrage, Réal Andrews, Stuart Hughes, Karen Hines, Frank Pellegrino, Jackie Burroughs, Sean Mitchell, Colin Fox, David B. Nichols, Robert Kennedy, Michael Copeman, Frank Moore, Howard Jerome, Deborah Cass, Kimberly Dickson
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: On this university campus there has been controversy when experiments on animals have been exposed as taking place, with some of the students protesting against vivisection, much to the disdain of the scientists who are trying to find a cure for cancer. One of those scientists is Professor Neil Hamilton (Paul Coufos) who has been pursuing a separate line of enquiry, creating a growth hormone that will provide uses for all sorts of medical conditions and agricultural matters, but one of his patients who was an ill little boy has been injected with an early serum and has transformed into a giant little boy who swears at his guardians and proves hostile. Good thing it's not used elsewhere...

The name of H.G. Wells was conspicuous in its absence from this sequel to the nineteen-seventies non-classic horror from Mister B.I.G. himself, Bert I. Gordon, whose obsession with making movies about very big things was not serving him too well in this case. He had credited Wells with the storyline, no matter how altered it was from the English writer's original book, but evidently it was decided the sequel was so far removed from the source, and indeed from the first movie, that it was pointless to mention the literary connection. You can be sure there was material here that Wells would never have dreamed of including in his extensive work, even on a particularly off day.

Essentially a mad scientist horror, there were moves towards social relevance that promptly flew out the window the further into these ludicrous shenanigans we got. It was a Canadian production, directed by local Damian Lee whose career, while he was consistently working, would never have got to anywhere near even the middle rankings of popular directors even with his middling so-bad-it's-good reputation. At least he wasn't notorious as an unpopular director. Watching this, you may be surprised at that, as his grasp of the supposed chills was wayward at best, and he was evidently utilising as few takes as possible judging by, say, the scene where the detective character trips over as he is exiting the scene, but they left it in anyway.

What you would be here for would be scenes of giant rats eating people, as indicated by its alternate title Gnaw, and to be fair you would not be disappointed in that respect, as once the animal rights group set free the ravenous rodents in one of the least convincing accidents ever staged in a motion picture, they grow to unusual size and start to munch their way through the cast. They included such dubious delights as the leader of the anti-vivisectionists who in carnivorous poetic justice gets his face eaten off, to the pest exterminator who styles himself after Clint Eastwood and thinks nothing of wielding a flamethrower to rid the campus of its infestation, which has you pondering what kind of rat problem Canadian cities usually have if that's the hardware needed to wipe them out.

That was not all, as in between the dull stretches of dialogue we were offered highlights of sheer lunacy, the one item everyone who has seen this recalls being a dream sequence where the hero imagines himself having sex with a student after taking the serum and growing huge in the process, with all the painful qualities such a scenario would involve. If the giant child turning the air blue wasn't funny enough for you, how about the grand finale where the menaces invade the opening of the sports facility and swimming pool, all in the face of the warnings to the Dean - that's right, they went full Jaws, only appear to think they could go one better by having seemingly dozens of people, including synchronised swimmers, chomped by the furry terrors. With a newspaper called The Expositor (!) one of the casual bits of madness here, it was perversely amusing, but never what you would call good. It did go one better than its predecessor, however, in that it was nowhere near as boring. Music by Dennis Haines and Stephen W. Parsons.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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