Green_Slime poster

Review: The Green Slime (1968)

by Trey Lawson – celluloidsheep.wordpress.com/

Best Bad Quote:

“Well, this confirms my first guess. The only answer is to blast that thing out of the sky.”

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The Green Slime (1968) is a weird little sci-fi/horror movie that until recently I had only heard of, or maybe seen clips on television. However, thanks to the wonderful Warner Archive, this gloriously cheesy flick is now available in a pristine remastered DVD! The basic plot is as follows: After a dangerous mission to a nearby asteroid, a team of astronauts return to their space station. What none of them realizes is that a bit of alien material (the titular “green slime”) has come back with them. The slime mutates/grows (as alien slimes are wont to do), and eventually the crew of the space station finds themselves facing a bunch of nearly indestructible tentacled green monsters.

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That synopsis is generic enough that it could easily be mistaken for any other 60s B sci-fi movie. What makes this one worse (and thus, funnier) is that MGM decided to outsource the production. Even though it was written by a team of Americans including Bill Finger (uncredited co-creator of the Batman character) and Charles Sinclair (TV and B-movie writer best known for his work on episodes of the 60s Batman tv series), and cast with American and European actors, The Green Slime was shot entirely in Japan. Surprisingly, the director was Kinji Fukasaku, who directed many movies which were much, much better than this (Battle RoyaleBattles without Honor or Humanity, and the Japanese segments of Tora! Tora! Tora! come to mind). What this means is that the sets, costumes, and special effects also all have the look of a late-60s Japanese sci-fi film, as they were created ex-Toho employees.

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The dialogue is stilted and awkward, especially in the forced love triangle that is foregrounded as the main subplot. It is made even more bizarre because the female lead is played by Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi (best known for her role in the James Bond movie Thunderball) – her thick accent is weirdly out of place in a film where everyone else is American. As I mentioned, the effects are about the quality of a 60s Japanese sci-fi film, so most of the models, plasticky and painted in primary colors, look sort of like toys. As for the monsters, they are most effective when not entirely visible – when they have to move in a wide shot it is obvious how much trouble the suit actors had in trying to walk in the costumes. The tentacles mostly just flail randomly, and the way they slowly shuffle around tends to make the actors’ fearful reactions all the more amusing. Notice how I’m avoiding making a joke about Japanese science fiction and tentacle monsters? You’re welcome.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention the EPIC theme song which bookends the film. Composed by Charles Fox, who also worked on the score forBarbarella, it is a loud, psychedelic rock song about, well, green slime. It is so out of place with the rest of the film (and even the rest of the score), that you just can’t help but laugh at it. In fact, after finishing the movie I sought it out on youtube and listened to just the song 3 or 4 more times. IT IS JUST THAT AWESOME.

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The Green Slime could have been a solid sci-fi B-movie if it had been given the right cast and crew. However, the strange mix of lower tier actors and the outsourced production make the film comically awkward, and the combination of styles results in a version of ’60s sci-fi that is incredibly dated. However, inherent to the plot are ideas that other, better films would take and run with –if you think about it, the Alien franchise owes a lot to this quirky, silly little movie. It’s silly, cheesy, and incredibly entertaining (in its own way), and with the new Warner Archive DVD the film probably looks and sounds better than it ever has. After weeks of watching the standard ‘bad slashers’ and Ed Wood movies, I found The Green Slime to be a welcome change of pace in the world of ‘so bad it’s good’ horror cinema.

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Rating:

2 out of 5 Unintentionally Phallic Alien Slime Monsters

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One Response to “Review: The Green Slime (1968)”

  1. Ed says:

    You have left out the single most redeeming factor in the movie. When the hero’s gun jams/runs out of bullets/or whatever he throws the useless gun at the monster and it sticks in the monster’s head!

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