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Film / Village of the Giants

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This 1965 Bert I. Gordon picture has young "Genius" (Ron Howard) tinkering with substances in his lab, creating a "goo" that causes whatever ingests it to grow to tremendous size. Unfortunately, some ne'er-do-wells blow in from out of town, and steal the goo and eat it, becoming the eponymous Giants. Now it's up to several teens as well as Genius to stop them.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.


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Village of the Giants contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: None of the locals like the giants. If the giants had remembered this, they wouldn't have fallen for the distraction when the local kids rescued the giants' hostages.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Directly invoked in the movie as some of the giants aren't happy with their new size.
  • Cartoon Bug-Sprayer: Nancy tries to fight off the Giant Spider with a flit gun, much to Mike's dismay.
  • Child Prodigy: Conveniently named "Genius."
  • Closed Circle: The main road in and out of town has been destroyed by a mudslide, preventing anyone from leaving the area to call for help. It's also why the delinquent teens are in the area to be turned into giants in the first place, as the mudslide wrecked their car.
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  • Coconut Superpowers: The filmmakers had very little ability to show the giant animals and people interacting with regular-sized people. As a result, the giant teens almost solely threaten people with their size. When their leader finally fights Mike (who's armed with a sling), he forgoes attacking him directly for the absurdly complicated and ineffective method of throwing fence posts like darts, just so the two don't have to be on the same screen.
  • Curtain Clothing: After the giants outgrow their clothes, they make new ones out of the theater's curtains.
  • David vs. Goliath: Directly invoked. Mike even attacks Fred with a slingshot.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The leader of the gang is mostly peer pressured into stepping up with threats and looked visibly upset when others took hostages.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: As Mike and his girlfriend make out.
  • Fanservice: The first five minutes or so of the movie qualifies, as do the transformation scene and the film's many dance scenes.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: The giants try to frame their takeover of the town as freeing the kids from the rule of their parents (who are never shown imposing any particularly unreasonable restrictions on their children). The local teenagers immediately ask why they should assume that the rule of the giants will be any better for them.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Seemingly subverted. The teens are sure they can conquer the town and maybe more, but don't assume they're immune to gunfire. Instead they take a hostage and demand the town disarm and cut off all outside communication, which the town immediately complies to.
  • Giant Spider: Mike and his girlfriend lock up the Goo, then practically turn around to find a huge growling tarantula behind them. They dispatch it by flooding the floor and breaking a light bulb and tossing it into the water, zapping the spider.
  • Giant Woman: Much attention is given to the female giants, particularly Merrie.
  • I Have Your Daughter: The giants take the Sheriff's daughter to keep him in line. The others try to counteract by taking Fred hostage, but then Nancy is also taken.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Both sides of the "David vs Goliath" scene, as neither can hit anything. Mike is clearly worse though - he has to dodge Fred's darts on occasion, while his slung rocks are rarely even in the right general direction.
  • Karma Houdini: After Genius' gas reduces the giants to normal size, they flee the town, but are never arrested for their numerous crimes, including assault, kidnapping, threats, and theft.
  • Magic Pants: Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing for when the teens become giants, but when they shrink again the giant clothes they make shrink with them.
  • Male Gaze: There are a lot of shots of jiggling butts and breasts, giant or otherwise.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Horsey is held to the chest of one of the more bosomy giants. He seems more worried about being dropped, though.
  • Never Trust a Title: The eponymous giants come from out of town (although they do stage a takeover for the last few acts).
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Genius wasn't taking notes when he invented the Goo, so he has to spend half the film randomly trying things in an attempt to figure out how to reproduce, and eventually reverse, the effects.
  • Popping Buttons: Merrie's sweater after she eats the Goo and starts growing.
  • Product Placement:
    • Shamelessly for another Bert I. Gordon film. Giant Harry reads a copy of Fabulous Monsters of Filmland with War of the Colossal Beast on the cover.
    • The fried chicken served to the giant teens is actually from Chicken Delight, a once ubiquitous fast food chain known for its slogan "Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight." If you look closely in the scene with the adults surrendering their guns, you can see a Chicken Delight billboard.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Genius creates the goo in a Freak Lab Accident. Both Mike and the delinquents see the obvious value to such a thing, but when the latter steal the original batch, they simply use it on themselves. Genius spends the entire movie trying to replicate the formula, and still hasn't managed to by the end.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Performed in an attempt to get the formula for the "Goo." It fails epically. For some reason, it works a lot better when one of the other delinquent girls talks to Genius.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: When the teens grow, their clothes are torn to shreds, leaving them naked. Also intended for cheap fanservice as the camera lingers on the ladies' tops getting torn off. Inexplicably, Magic Pants is in effect when they shrink back down.
  • Shirtless Scene: The men of the gang go either completely topless or with barely-covering togas after they become giants.
  • Skewed Priorities: After crashing their car on a muddy road, what's the first thing Fred and his gang do? Dance!
  • Teenage Wasteland: The giant teens attempt to take over the town, confiscating all weapons and forcing a curfew on adults.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The delinquents are only a nuisance at first, but then they eat the goo and become a serious threat.
  • Totally Radical: "Dig that nitty-gritty!"
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The teenagers at the club are only mildly surprised when giant ducks enter the building. And when the giant teenagers appear, the crowd do little more than stare.
    • After the giants arrive at the party, two cops arrive on the scene and don't notice the giants until after they've exited the car, and the partygoers point them out. One would think the cops should have seen the giants on the drive up.
  • We Need a Distraction: Red volunteers to distract the giants with a dance, while the others rescue the hostages.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It's not explained what happened to the giant cat and corpse of the giant spider. We're just left to assume Genius took care of them.
    • One of the supposed bad kids disappears from the movie completely right before the rest of them eat the goo and become giants. She's easy to spot because she's the only brunette female. It is never explained what happened to her and she only is glimpsed briefly in the very last scene. The real-world explanation is that her actress had stormed off the set after falling out with Bert I. Gordon, who evidently didn't have the time and/or inclination to film any explanation of why she went missing for most of the film.
    • The delinquents only eat half of the Goo they stole, but no mention is made of what happened to the rest of it. For that matter, the amount of Goo that Mike locks away in the cellar only appears to be a tiny portion of what Genius originally produced, even accounting for what they fed to the various animals.
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