We’ll get you something new next weekend when our annual October Countdown begins. Specifically, we’ll have a review of The Blair Witch, currently shaking up theatre audiences.
For now, with summer ’16 just gone and the horrors of the Presidential Debate nigh, we present one more retro review, from a more innocent time.
This film holds a strange place in the history of SF cinema. Made in Japan with a non-Japanese cast, The Green Slime plays like the love child of Star Trek and a 1950s drive-in movie creature feature, presages (and possibly helped inspire) Armageddon and Alien, and was the basis of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s unaired pilot episode.
That’s probably all you need to know but, if you want more, read on.
Title: The Green Slime
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Written by Bill Finger1, Ivan Reiner, Tom Rowe, and Charles Sinclair
Robert Horton as Commander Jack Rankin
Luciana Paluzzi as Dr. Lisa Benson
Richard Jaeckel as Commander Vince Elliott
Bud Widom as General Jonathan B. Thompson
Ted Gunther as Dr. Hans Halvorsen
David Yorston as Lt. Curtis
Robert Dunham as Capt. Martin
Available from Amazon.
After saving the world from an errant asteroid, two officers in a future that lies somewhere between the late 1960s and Star Trek‘s first season make violent first contact with a destructive alien, while simultaneously vying for the love of a
former Bond Girl comely space medic.
High or Low Point?
The theme song, a groovy blend of hip ’68 pop and theremin, gets performed with hilarious earnestness by the opening act for Dr. Sevrin’s devotees. It proves tone-deaf in terms of setting up the kind of film The Green Slime seems to think it is. I cannot decide if this is the best or worst thing about the movie, so…..
The scenes on the asteroid resemble rather what a period Major Matt Mason movie would have looked like, had one been made. The plot initially holds promise, and the film’s monster, in its original form, is credibly alien, if low-budget.
Later, our monster morphs into an army of D-Grade rubber suit monsters with flailing tentacles, which our heroes zap with plastic, cartoon-beam shooting ray guns. The monsters are supposed to absorb energy, but the guns have variable effects throughout the film. The mostly female medical staff, having made it through training as medics and astronauts, scream like little girls when the creatures approach.
Effects: 3/6 Some of the model work is…. Well, it’s at least on par with the average SF flick from ten years earlier. The spaceship’s interior appears to be constructed from plywood. The biggest problem: the film overreaches itself, staging a space battle between jet-pack wearing astronauts and a tentacle-waving aliens that is simply beyond its budget to do justice.
The futuristic city isn’t bad. Despite some imagination shown in the futuristic design, however, no one apparently imagined we could ever improve upon the basic telephone.
Acting: 3/6 The acting ranges from wooden to over-the-top, with the actors often forced to spout awkward dialogue.
Story: 4/6 The story has promise.
Emotional Response: 3/6 Parts move slowly, but fun can be had if you view this as you might any drive-in b-feature.
What you likely won’t feel is fear.
The film, made with the same influences as Star Trek (almost certainly by people who had watched the original series), shares a visual style with the show. One could easily imagine we’re watching the early days of the United Space Probe Agency—at least, in its sillier moments.
The station’s female staff, when not acting in official capacity, immediately change into glittery jumpsuits and Swingin’ Sixties minis.
In total, The Green Slime receives 23/42
1. Batty though it may sound, it was apparently that Bill Finger.