‘The Attack of the Giant Moussaka’: the classic cult Greek comedy about a killer meal

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Don’t you just hate it when you make a moussaka, and it turns sentient? Even worse, when that moussaka morphs from a normal portion size into a massive mountain of the stuff, wreaking havoc over an entire city and leaving people in a state of extreme fear and despair? This is exactly what happens in the 1999 film The Attack of the Giant Moussaka, a campy sci-fi movie directed by Panos H. Koutras.

The Greek film is a peculiar release, made with the intention of poking fun at classic B-movie sci-fi flicks created on low budgets back in the early days of Hollywood. The name (and concept) of the project is inspired by another parody work, 1978’s Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. That, in turn, takes inspiration from 1958’s The Attack of the 50ft Woman. However, Koutras’ work was not as successful as John DeBello’s tomato-themed movie, which spawned three sequels: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back! and Killer Tomatoes Eat France!.

Still, The Attack of the Giant Moussaka, despite its poor quality effects and over-the-top nature, has become somewhat of a beloved cult favourite. Unfortunately for English-speaking viewers, it appears impossible to find a copy of the movie with English subtitles, so you’ll only truly be able to understand what’s going on in the film if you speak Greek or you can read French or Japanese subtitles.

Even without subtitles, the film is pretty easy to follow along with. There are drag queens, drug-addicted housewives, and alien women wearing skimpy little bikinis. Essentially, it gives us enough intriguing visuals to keep our interest, regardless of whether we understand what is being said.

The chaos begins to unfold when a child feeds his dog some leftover moussaka that he didn’t enjoy. However, some aliens just so happen to be journeying overhead, and clearly, the sight of the mushed-up moussaka piques their interest. Yet, the aliens don’t want to merely eat the food – they want to turn it into a massive, disruptive portion of moussaka.

The aliens are successful, and the moussaka grows to the size of a skyscraper and gains the ability to move and, even worse, kill. Athens is now in danger, with the moussaka leaving many left for dead. The fear spreads to such insane levels that people resort to killing themselves to avoid succumbing to the powers of the murderous moussaka.

So what does it all mean? Is this simply the bizarre story of some killer food made to pay homage to older B-movies? While much of the film is meant to be a fun and ridiculous parody, it certainly can be read with a deeper meaning. However, it’s hard to do so without feeling ridiculous – this is a flick about a giant sentient moussaka.

Yet, the movie seems to blur the line between being absolutely ridiculous and dramatic, and it seems as though we are meant to take certain scenes, such as the suicides, more seriously. Many different news anchors report the moussaka’s tirade as it takes over the city. When we think about the film in context, we can see how it imagines a natural disaster (or even the apocalypse) would be incessantly documented and played out repeatedly on our screens. Television and media consumption only increased by this point, and the project suggests that it had become such an intrinsic part of our lives that even when something disastrous happened, we could not look away.

Watch a clip from the movie below.

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