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Village of the Giants, 1965

From the video case: Eleven year-old Genius (Ron Howard) mixes up some super-goo with his chemistry set, turning cats and ducks into giants. When a group of wild teenagers see the results, they gobble it up too and turn into towering tyrants, challenging adults and making mayhem while the world desperately searches for an anti-teen antidote. (1965, color)

Mark says: You will certainly recognize some names in this film, Ronny Howard as Genius, Beau Bridges as Fred, Tommy Kirk as Mike (I like him better in Mars Needs Women), and Toni Basil as go-go dancer, Red. Joy Harmon plays Merrie, the giant, bikini-clad, rebel teenager (pictured above, with Beau Bridges).

Let me state a bias right up front: I’ve never been a fan of beach party movies, and this movie has much more in common with a beach party movie than a monster flick.

The primary flaw of Village of the Giants is that it tries to be amusing. Not only does this movie fail in its attempt to be funny, but it fails to be humorous even in a bad movie sort of way. Intentional camp often defeats the purpose, especially when done poorly. And how much slow motion go-go dancing can a person take?

Jack Nitzsche’s original soundtrack that plays during the opening credits and while the giants dance is powerful in a trippy sort of way. The sixties band, the Beau Brummels, also perform and get a pretty good sound for not using microphones. I have to note, though, that the lip-syncing in this movie makes Ashlee Simpson look like real talent. Especially watch for Freddy Cannon singing Little Bitty Corrine. Most embarrassing.

If you like beach party movies (without surfing, or even a beach) and if you’ve just dropped a tab of LSD, this movie may prove fun for you. For me, it just fell flat.

If you want real camp, giant goodness, I recommend Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman.

Village of the Giants is produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon (Beginning of the End, Empire of the Ants).

Scene to watch for: Tommy Kirk fights a giant tarantula, and then a giant Beau Bridges, while wearing embarrassingly short shorts and white socks.

Line to listen for: “Dig that nitty gritty!”

Trivia: Joy Harmon. who plays giant bikini-girl Merrie, is also the woman in the car washing scene from Cool Hand Luke. Joy retired from film in 1968 to raise a family.

Mark’s Rating: ! ½ out of 5.

IMDB Link

4 Comments

    • ulysses betchart
    • Posted September 19, 2007 at 2:38 pm
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    • Reply

    I love this movie, especially the theme song “the last race”!

  1. Yeah, the theme song is probably the highlight of the film. Well, that and Joy Harmon.

  2. Mark:A few months ago, my wife bought this VHS at a local Goodwill store. I remember most of the movies Tommy Kirk did after leaving Disney were mediocre, at best, so I wasn’t surpised when this movie turned out to be a clinker. The transfer to VHS had the widescreen picture squeesed so that everyone looked tall and skinny. That’s not the films fault, but the forced humor and constant dancing scenes bored me half to sleep. My son watched along with us, and every time they would start dancing, I’d hear him groan, “Not another one!” It seemed to me that, without the dancing scenes, the movie would have barely lasted 30 minutes. I wonder if Ron Howard or Beau Bridges ever put this movie on their resumés?

  3. Paul: I think Bert I. Gordon hoped that Joy Harmon’s “charms” would carry the flick. While her charms made the movie bearable, they certainly did not save the picture. By the way, I had the same reaction your son had every time a dance sequence started.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Tormented (1960) « HORRORPEDIA on 15 Aug 2013 at 3:08 pm

    […] as he feigns his jazz piano numbers. The other acting is barely noteworthy, though Joe Turkel (Village of the Giants) turns in an amusing performance as Nick, the blackmailer. Tormented probably could have been a […]

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