The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Green Slime

As much as possible, I try to be fair when it comes to reviews. At the same time, so-called and/or believed classics get judged more harshly and more critically because they strive to be better than the norm. Then there's the definite bombs, movies that are awful and revel in their badness. That's why in the end, I feel comfortable giving 1968's The Green Slime a positive rating. Yes, it's bad -- even awful -- but it is amazingly bad.

When an asteroid is spotted careening toward Earth, astronaut and all-around badass Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) is called upon to save mankind. He's quickly transported to a U.S. space station, Gamma 3, commanded by his old nemesis, Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel), who's now engaged to Rankin's old flame, Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi), the station doctor. But that's for later! Rankin, Elliott and a team knock out the asteroid in time, but transport a foreign green substance -- yes, the green slime -- back to Gamma 3. The substance grows at an astronomical rate, and nothing seems to stop it. The bodies mount up, and Rankin, Elliott and Co. must figure something out quickly.

Read that plot synopsis and tell me that's not going to be the greatest movie you've ever seen. I defy you to. Supported by MGM and made in Japan, 'Slime' has that cheesy, half-baked look of a movie that cost about $7.38 to make. Any "outdoor" scene is clearly a miniature. When astronauts "fly" I swear you can see the strings holding them up. The set-up shots of Gamma 3 or the asteroid are laughable, and that's what makes this movie great. Making this movie, it had to be known that it would be a steaming pile of mediocrity. Thankfully, the cast, crew and screenwriters (bless their hearts) seem to commit to the badness. It looks cheesy, it is cheesy, and it embraces that cheeseball quality that makes awful movies especially memorable.

It really has it all. You know you're in for a treat when the 1960s rock theme -- listen HERE to the Green Slime theme -- starts blaring over the credits. It is truly an amazing song that hasn't been topped in the 40-lus years since its initial release. As for the story, it's nothing new in the schlock department, combining monsters, stock characters and situations like nobody's business. If you thought the plot sounded oddly familiar, it should. The first 30 minutes are basically Armageddon, and the last hour is The Blob meets The Thing From Another World. That is a deadly trifecta of amazing if you're rolling it all into one movie.

The Green Slime monsters are a sight to behold upon reveal. Originally starting off as slime, they transform by absorbing energy into slow-moving but aggressive killing machines. I'm trying to come up with a fair comparison as to their look, and this is the best I got. Imagine R2-D2 from Star Wars, roll him in with a crazy, one-eyed Oscar the Grouch, and give him a bunch of appendages like an octopus. There you've got your Green Slime monsters. Their appearance makes it seem like a majority of the budget was spent creating them. When the monsters begin to reproduce quickly, the fun....I mean PURE TERROR escalates to alarming levels. The simple solution? Blow them up, well, after running away from them and trying to corner them for 60 minutes or so.

The acting -- used lightly -- is about what you'd expect from a B-movie like this. A TV star, Horton is the wooden Commander Rankin, desperately trying to show emotion....oh, and saving the world. His hair would have made Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five-O jealous, a perfectly maintained hairstyle no matter how hard he fights the monsters. Poor Richard Jaeckel, he could be a solid actor in the right part, and he's one of my favorites, but this is one of his worst ever parts. Paluzzi too is there as eye candy because in space you wear shiny mini-skirts and look like you're in pained at all times. And of course, what would a bad B-movie be without a ridiculously forced love triangle that lacks any real chemistry? Not an official movie! Also look for Bud Widom as General Thompson, the worried officer back on Earth, Ted Gunther as Dr. Halverson, more interested in the discovery than the danger, and David Yorston and Robert Dunham as subordinate officers on Gamma 3.

Still with me? Congratulations for making it this far. Basically, my message is this. The Green Slime is without question the best movie ever made. Every other film ever made pales in comparison to it. How couldn't it make other movies look bad? It's called The Green Slime! Best watched with a few beers and some friends. Do a shot every time someone gives a thumbs up. It's a can't miss movie, a true classic.

The Green Slime <---trailer (1967): ***/****

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