my review for Wild in the Streets,
I made reference to this film as continually cropping up on double
bills at the Rialto of my youth. Thanks to a canny ad campaign entoning
"The Green Slime are coming.... (quick cut of man screaming) ...are
here!", I found myself packed into a dark theater with a
couple hundred other screaming ten-year-olds. Which is probably the
ideal condition and age for seeing The Green Slime - which, incidentally,
has the bossest theme song of any monster movie ever filmed *
cinema likes to discover every ten years or so, an asteroid is headed
on a collision course with Earth in the near
(I guess) future. Fortunately, the United Nations Space Center keeps
rockets fueled and ready to go, and they send space ace Jack Rankin
(Christopher-George-impersonator Robert Horton) to blow it up. He picks
up his crew and ship at space station Gamma 3, commanded by his old-pal-now-bitter-rival
Vince Elliott (William- Devane-understudy Richard Jaeckel), and nukes
the planetoid with seconds to spare, but not before a space suit gets
splattered by some of the animate green slime that's creeping around
like belligerent pond scum (must be a pretty dense asteroid - there's
normal gravity and water).
to throw his weight around on Gamma 3, insisting on massive decontamination
measures for all equipment, then retiring to a celebratory party, where
he continues to make plays for his old girlfriend, now Elliott's fiancee,
Dr. Lisa (second-string-Raquel-Welch Lucianna Paluzzi). The slime thrives
in the decontamination chamber's radiation, growing into a cyclopean,
tentacled beastie that can electrocute with the merest touch.
only does the beastie feed on energy, but more beasties are created
whenever the monsters bleed...
it's not long before Rankin's shoot-first-because-I-have-a- cleft-chin
philosophy results in bunches of beasties overrunning the station. Greedy
green slimes finally touch off some conveniently located fuel drums,
blowing up one whole section of the station, but providing our heroes
with an out: the Slimes cannot absorb energy in the form of heat. Rankin
orders the evacuation of Gamma
3 and plans to blow it out of orbit and into Earth's atmosphere, burning
up the Slimes. Elliott protests and is put under arrest. Rankin has
to stay behind and decay the station's orbit manually. He is, of course,
cornered by a pack of Slimes and is rescued by his old friend Elliott,
who loses his own life for his trouble. Gamma 3 blows up, life goes
on, and that horse's ass Rankin probably gets Lucianna, the bum. The
10 year-old eyes, when they were not screwed shut in terror, found something,
well, familiar about the miniatures in Green Slime. A
few years later, I could have identified it better: they're quite Japanese.
Yep, the director and crew are indeed from the land of the rising sun,
and that's not a bad thing. Most of the FX, with the sad exception
of some matte work during a firefight outside the station (which could
have been much more thrilling with a better budget) is quite good. Of
course, you could also mention that this was the same year that 2001
came out, but hey. Apples and Oranges.
story proceeds fairly logically, and it amazes me that it took three
writers to come up with it - and
least, that's how many are credited. There is only one instance of Idiot
Plotting - when Elliott opens a door to rescue a person trapped with
the Slimes, over the gun-waving protests of Rankin. This is here to
reinforce our backstory - Elliott, some years past, tried to save one
man and wound up getting ten killed - but what no one seemed to notice
while filming the scene is that Rankin and Elliott spend so much time
arguing, there is no way the trapped man could still be alive.
fact, the most annoying thing about the script is the lack of any sympathetic
characters. Elliott is the closest, though Rankin opines, "He's
too nice to be a commanding officer." Speaking personally, I would
prefer a CO who'd try to rescue me, if the chips were down. Dr.
Lisa is pretty ineffectual in every way (except pouting), and Rankin,
probably meant to be a take-charge, dynamic man of action circa
1968, is simply (to speak plainly) a dick of the highest magnitude.
The only character I'd care to share a beer with is Capt. Martin (sadly,
I don't have the actor's name... the cast list was somehow excised from
my copy). Martin is the guy who everybody barks orders to, who is put
in charge of security and the evacuation, and who, when the infirmary
is under attack by the first of the Slimes, charges fearlessly in, laser
a-blazin'. He's like Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars movies.
Incredibly competent, kicks major ass, gets no respect. The movie shoulda
been about him.
monsters, according to your tastes, are either passable or merely
laughable. The red eye is fairly cool, as are the tentacles, which
are the primary things you notice in all the quick inter-cutting.
It's when the camera lingers that one starts to go, "hmmmm..." For instance, it's noticable in at least one shot that the Slimes
have arms and hands, though they never seem to have
a use for fingers. Polyp-type growths depending from the tentacles
are kinda cool, but the band of eyes around the torso are just plain
overkill. Like I said, as a kid, they scared the hell out of me, so
they still occupy a warm place in my black little heart.
said, some of the technology on display is pretty suspect - why is there
an electric cart whose only purpose is to be able to peep into rooms?
Isn't it kind of dangerous to have so many guns
on a space station? (Incidentally, one of the roomiest space
stations it has ever been my pleasure to visit) But I look back to 1968,
and I see that all these things made a kind of sense - because in 1968,
we could be pretty sure that in the future, we would still listen to
go-go music, and men would wear jumpsuits while the women all wore miniskirts.
I miss the future.