JONNY’S RETRO-CINEMA HALL OF LAME presents 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 dance the Virginia Reel upon H.G. Wells’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, acne-scarred versions of themselves, and proceed to wreak sweaty, giant-teenybopper havoc upon a God-fearing California town (it was still the mid-1960s, hence the combination of God-fearing + California). The film’s primary theme, aside from an attempt to illustrate the dynamic of teens getting the ultimate chance to rebel against “evil adults” is basically … well … humongous tits. Humongous tits and the notion that humongous tits 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 (the latter of whom 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. Even so, once she was reduced to normal buxom dimensions, Joy Harmon went on to littler and better things, and many people still remember the kooky 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. Last I saw her, Vicki had a humorous attitude about her Bad Film Immortality. It probably helped that she 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 cooks a decent lamb chop. That’s all I got.
LAMENTABLE LEGACY: This magnificently awful film was supposedly spoofed by the legendary denizens of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but no one seems to have reissued the original episode. That is lamentable. Infinitely so.
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 a pool filled with Hollywood glitter and freshly minted $100 bills. We know about Vicki’s lamb chops. Toni Basil is hopefully getting at least a $100 a year in Mickey residuals. Who knows? Who cares?
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.