Monday, March 23, 2015

Matinee Monday - Village of the Giants (1965)

Check out those giant . . um . . . teenagers
The other night TCM had a cheesefest-athon of  the films of Bert I Gordon.  He apparently was quite good at making cheesy films about mutating things that grow to become huge.  This addition to his film pantheon seems to be a mix between a 1960's surfer movie and a vehicle for the Ron Howard.  It's almost like the Howards had something against someone at the studio and they were like "Let's make a film starring Ron Howard so they stop blackmailing us - I don't care what it is, just throw in almost naked teens with slow motion gyrations segments, dancing, musical groups, Flubber, little Ronny Howard, Toni Basil with some choreography and strange orange wig, and for some reason Beau Bridges.  

Ronny Howard, Boy Genius
The premise - Ronny Howard (whose character is named Genius) creates some Flubberesque solution which makes things huge.  Some ducks eat it and turn huge.  Seeing the perfect opportunity to make a buck and end world hunger (because that's what teens are concerned about), they are going to patent and sell it.  His older brother Mike (played by Tommy Kirk) takes over the venture.  Unfortunately, Genius can't remember how the formula is made.  While he figures it out, some trouble comes from some hooligan teens.

Take a Gander at those Gigantic Ganders
Mike decides to show off the giant ducks and takes them to a dance club.  For some reason, no one (aside from the band) seems surprised that there are some giant ducks there dancing.  How about some modicum of intelligence?  The teens are like "Awesome!  Dancing ducks!"  It boggles my mind why no one questions nor is afraid of huge ducks.  What kind of town do these people live in where giant animals are no big deal to the kids?  Apparently crazy things must happen there every day.  

All the Teens are into Mud Wrestling these Days
A group of teens whom are hooligans come to town.  They crash during a rain storm, apparently high or drunk driving.  The go outside and have some kind of rain dance and decide to head to town.  They think the big ducks are far-out, hear the goop that made them big will make them a fortune, so they try to steal it through trickery and eventually just steal it.  Naturally, they become giant and try to rule the town.  They claim adults are evil, never let them have any fun, never let them have any guns, make them go to bed, complain about their music, etc.  Frankly, teens rule pop culture and what products are created, so I don't buy these teens' arguments, but I guess they feel hindered.  For one thing, how can they be so hindered when these giant teens don't have any parents or parents who care that their kids are missing for days on a power-trip joyride.  No one saw the news and was like, "Hmmmm, that giant kid looks like my son on a power trip."

Mmmm Mini Booze and Giant Boobs
Their demands:

  • 9:00 pm curfew for adults
  • Freedom of speech, as long as they approve of what you say (Fascism anyone?)
  • Working party must find food for them every day
  • Bring all the guns in the town to them

Attack of the Giant Jugs!
Naturally, the first thing they do is find the kids of the town and slow motion dance in front of them.  Of course, no one in the town seems afraid or surprised.  They just sit there like nothing is going on.  Maybe the giant jugs were just so impressive the town was mesmerized.  Of course, the filmmakers had to make a set of giant fake breasts for a cast member to jump on.  What good film doesn't have a set of giant fake breasts that people can jump on?  So after five minutes of this slow motion jugfest, we finally got onto the rest of the film.  It was filmed in 'Perceptovision'.  Why not just call it Jugovision?

Hot Legs and Hot Rods

There are various plots to stop these giant kids.  Trick number one, lasso them while in hot rods.  I'm not sure where this bright idea came from.  Someone obviously is like, lets mix westerns and sci-fi teeny-boppers.  More likely, they were like, "Kids like hot rods, why not put hot rods in and lasso the giants?  Yeah, that makes sense."  Absolutely pointless, teens love hot rods.

Basil's Bogus Bouffant Booty-Shaking
Try number two seems to be a distraction by Toni Basil's character, Red.  I can only assume the name Red is because of her awful orange wig.  Anyway, she does a dance for the guys which they had previously said would be a distraction so Mike and the guys could attack.  The problem of course is that Red dances, but they never attack.  It's like the filmmaker figured we were too stupid to remember what happened one minute ago.
A Captive Audience
Attempt number three is a David and Goliath.  Mike as David, swinging and throwing stones at the giants and Fred (Beau Bridges) as Goliath.  During the Mike-Fred fight, Mike's buddies drug one of the girls and free the captives (Mike's girl and the sheriff's daughter).  Meanwhile, Genius has come up with a reversal potion.  He sets off what looks like an Agent Orange gas bomb from his bike which shrinks the teens down to normal.  Powerless apparently, they flee the town.

Oh, what will become of us now?
The ending, naturally is quite odd.  A group of little people come up to the teens and ask if the goop comes from there.  Clearly, they want to become big.  As a short person myself, that actually is the least of my concerns.  Being fun-sized is awesome!  I'm not sure if the filmmaker was trying to say that the little people wanted to become 'normal-sized' or they wanted to rule the world.  This ending also brought up a ton of questions.  The word had clearly got out about the giant teens.  Why did no one come to help the town?  Where were the reporters?  Why no military or government intervention?  No TV cameras?  Why didn't any of the giant teens' families show up?  The filmmakers clearly thought they were having a humorous ending.  Maybe by having more slow motion dancing during the credits, they thought the audience would never question the 'giant' holes in the film.  So basically I was left with tons of questions - the answers would help the film make a great deal more sense.  But I suppose sense and plot aren't what people are looking for in a teen romp.   

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