HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME (LOVABLY BAD CINEMA)
TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS (1965)
GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Director: Bert Gordon with “Stars”: Beau Bridges, Tommy Kirk, Joy Harmon, Johnny Crawford, Ron Howard, Robert Random, Toni Basil, Vicki London, and other Assorted Aces of Awfulness
RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Based (more loosely than a herd of rabid, wailing cows attempting to convincingly dance the Virginia Reel) upon H.G. Well’s novel, Food of the Gods, this colossal 1960s drive-in stinker tells the story of several wayward teenagers who gobble a mysterious (and ominously named) substance called “Goo”, transform into 30-ft. tall, adenoidal and acne-scarred versions of themselves, and proceed to wreak sweaty, giant-teenybopper havoc upon a God-fearing California town (it was still the 1960s, hence the combination of God-fearing + California). The film’s primary theme/purpose (aside from an attempt to illustrate the dynamic of teens getting the ultimate chance to rebel against “evil adults”) is, basically … humongous female breasts and the notion that humongous female breasts can be made exponentially larger simply with the addition of a goo-like substance. Clearly, Village of the Giants was ahead-of-its-time — practically oracular.
DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “I was big enough before!” (Joy Harmon, as “Merrie,” after she notices her new, unwieldy wrecking ball-sized ta-tas)
BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: This film is considered a front-runner on many reputable “Worst Film in History” lists, but one cannot argue with the caliber of certain cast-members who would go on to genuine greatness. Beau Bridges and Ron Howard (who guest-stars straight out of his Opie-era days as the pint-sized Goo-inventing “Genius”) are the obvious big names hopefully scarred forever by shame because of Village of the Giants, but (once reduced to normal buxom dimensions) Joy Harmon went on to littler and better things, and most people remember the fabulous Toni Basil from her “Oh Mickey, What a Pity” chart-topping days. The movie has a special resonance for me because I actually got to know one of its hot-mama “giants” — the lovely Vicki London, who played Georgette. Today, Vicki has a wonderfully humorous attitude about her Bad Film Immortality, and went on to become one of California’s most successful realtors, as well as a motivational speaker, jewelry designer, and “transitional therapist.” She lives (under her real name) in the SF Bay Area and makes the most magnificent lamb chops you could ever hope to sink your teeth into. Va-Va-Va-VOOM!
LAMENTABLE LEGACY: This magnificently awful film was supposedly spoofed by the legends of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but no one seems to have reissued the original episode. That is lamentable. Truly.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Beau Bridges was last seen (at least by me) in drag in a hilarious episode of The Closer. Ron Howard dog-paddles in pools of Hollywood glitter and freshly minted $100 bills. We know about Vicki’s lamb chops. They all survived the disaster, apparently.
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: From the opening “mud-dance” super-classic scene to guest-musicians “The Beau Brummels,” you MUST behold the BADNESS to respect it and believe it.
~I have written a new series of contemporary fantasy/horror books about a cynical 2,000 year-old sorcerer stranded among mortals and forced to feel sympathy for humans when a nasty goddess plans a mass-extermination. You know … one of those “everyday” occurrences. My warlock’s name is Rowan Blaize, the books are the kind that adults (and even young adults) will find fiendishly delicious in that mythical Star Wars-y universal Good vs. Evil sense (with some twists, I admit) and you can buy them here, at Amazon, in Kindle or paperback format, a mere click away. Enjoy, and let me know what you think. I care. – Jonathan Kieran