Sunday, May 2, 2010

Food of the Gods Part 2

(Damian Lee, 1989)
While this cornball elaboration of H. G. Wells/Bert I. Gordon portrays vivisectors and animal liberationists alike as egotistical blowhards, the former are total dorky evil while the latter are merely youthfully deluded re tactics, and the climactic pathos re Paul Coufos's white rat further tips the ideological balance in the correct direction. None of which represents much in the way of initiative or commitment: the mad scientist and sympathetic monster are of course stock devices of the genre, and here they are merely hot buttons for a piece of camp which hovers dangerously close to Lloyd Kaufman territory. The first appearance of the giant kid is perfect and hilarious, and the scenes of guys in rat suits terrorizing York University are good for a laugh. Elsewhere, though, the gags are terribly cheap, not to mention ancient - the Clint Eastwood exterminator, the bum who wakes up and says "got a light?", Coufos telling a pile of throbbing putrescence "you look terrible". If you're going to forsake the scary half of your horror-comedy pact, you'd better provide real and consistent laughs, not just the old nudge-wink. And in the Kaufman tradition, it is also depressingly mean.

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