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Green Slime, The (1968)

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Score: 3/10

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Release Date: December 1st, 1968 MPAA Rating: G

Director: Kinji Fukasaku Actors: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel, Bud Widom, Ted Gunther, David Yorston, Robert Dunham

D

uring a routine weather video report, the U.N.S.C. Gamma 3 space station detects a whopping Class 2 asteroid named “Flora” on a collision course with Earth. In less than 10 hours it will impact. The only option is to blast it out of orbit, which will require fearless but egotistical pilot Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton), who must volunteer to annihilate the target with missiles – a mission that could be fatal if he can’t navigate his way out of the blast radius in time.

When Jack boards the Gamma 3, he discovers that he’ll be accompanied by space consultant Dr. Hans Halvorsen (Ted Gunther) and Commander Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel), along with three teams of astronauts who will land on the careening rocky orb and drill a hole to plant the bomb. Once they’ve touched down and set up their equipment, a mysterious green slime engulfs it. During their rushed departure, a small splash of the goopy stuff lands on the doctor and he unwittingly brings it aboard the vessel. Standard decontamination procedures are carried out, but the foaming sludge survives. On the ship, Jack is reunited with his ex-girlfriend Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi, with an oddly apparent accent), who dumped him and became engaged to Vince (a man who foolishly sacrificed ten men to save one during a previous mission), causing a bit of tension during the ensuing celebration of their successful detonation of the asteroid. But it’s not the love triangle that will eventually electrocute and kill several crewmembers, multiply at exponential rates, and use particle charges (and laser blasts) to increase in strength and size.

The miniatures are painfully obvious, hovering in front of blue paper for outer space and lacking details to the point that they look like children’s bathtub toys. Metal looks plastic and plastic looks like paper. The lighting doesn’t help either, basking the pitiful props in glaring high beams that abolish any potential for atmospheric thrills. The green-screen work and laser bolts are also amateurishly low quality. The surface of the asteroid is particularly amusing, with bright colors and spray-painted foam rocks. And the female characters wear glittery clothing, even though the setting isn’t drastically far in the future. The greenish bubbling liquid they first encounter, however, is appropriately gross despite its neon glow. The general production value of “The Green Slime” is equivalent to a Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning TV show.

The dialogue is similarly ineffective, with hokey technical jargon, serious exclamations delivered in dreadfully dull manners, and goofy statements emitted with zero emotion. The acting is equally stiff and awkward. When the death scenes finally arrive, they’re hilariously phony – actors have to wrap tentacles around their necks to feign a struggle or deliberately throw their helmets at the stuffed appendages to parry blows. In its defense, “The Green Slime” does boast some lighthearted, “Star Trek”-like science-fiction cheesiness, divertingly full of laugh-out-loud funny monster effects like duck squeaks, writhing rubber extremities controlled by wires, and gushing emerald blood. It’s unfortunate that the creature’s eyeball looks so unreal – that single aspect could have made for a marginally creepier critter.

The title song (along with accompanying score) is incredibly out of place – easily more jarring than the visuals and scripting. A ‘60s rock tune entitled “Green Slime,” by Richard Delvy, opens and closes the movie with the words “green slime” repeated like Queen’s “Flash Gordon” theme. The whole ordeal is so ludicrously idiotic, low budget, and unconvincing that it would make superb “Mystery Science Theater 3000” fodder. Filmed entirely in Toei Tokyo Studios, this silly mess was also known as “After the Destruction of Space Station Gamma: Big Military Operation,” which is gut-bustingly funny in and of itself.

– Mike Massie

 



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