Slugs: The Movie (1988)
Slugs: The Movie (1988)

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.

Release Date: February 5th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: J.P. Simon Actors: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip MacHale, Alicia Moro, Concha Cuetos, Kari Rose




young couple goes fishing in a lake near a sewer outlet (later discovered to be a toxic waste dump). Just as the supermodel girlfriend is about to take off her shirt (under which she clearly has no bra), her companion is dragged into the water by some carnivorous slugs. A short while after, a filthy vagrant wanders into an abandoned house in the middle of the night to get some sleep, only to be similarly consumed by the slimy critters. Meanwhile, David Watson (Emilio Linder) and his alcoholic wife Maureen (Alicia Moro) are out to dinner; when she gets a little tipsy at a restaurant, it causes guests Mike (Michael Garfield) and Kim Brady (Kim Terry) to leave early. In the Brady’s bedroom that night, a few curious mollusks spy on them from a window.

It’s a very fast, entirely unnecessary foreshadowing, further followed by health inspector Mike and a policeman investigating that vacated residence the following morning to discover that the bum was almost completely consumed – save for his nearly intact skeleton and bits of cinnabar flesh. Sheriff Reese (John Battaglia) guesses that it could have been wild dogs or raccoons driven down from the mountains due to the cold; Mike reasons that it had to be smaller creatures that didn’t bother to destroy the house, such as rats. When an old woman complains about an abhorrent odor coming from the sewer, she calls up both Mike and Don (Philip MacHale), the county sanitation supervisor, to investigate. When the men notice an increasing amount of snaillike mucus trails, they take a trip to a scientist friend, who reveals all the details necessary to fear the overgrown slugs – and confirms their suspicions that the sewer system is indeed housing the clammy menaces.

“There’s something down there that’s killing people!” exclaims Don. “Slugs: The Movie” works to rapidly introduce a slew of human bait for the diminutive killers – most of who are generic, embellished with pointless details, and entertainingly dispatched. The film features the standard, atrocious acting, with a script that has enough trite conversations to force the pitiful players to work overtime to sound preposterously insincere (the audio is noticeably inferior). There are also some ridiculous subplots that focus on unimportant background characters – the worst of which shows an innocent high school girl escaping molestation, only to become food for the slippery buggers.

The film rips off “Psycho’s” piercing violin theme, accompanied by romantic comedy music that couldn’t be more ill-fitting. It also employs a large amount of gore, which is probably the most effective and praiseworthy element of the project. Slugs are normally so slow-moving and small that they’re only unnerving here due to large quantities, sliminess, and jarring close-ups (and, of course, this bunch’s teeth), so it’s clever to exaggerate the bloodshed as compensation. Harold (Juan Majan) must lop off his own hand like something out of “Evil Dead II,” Maureen serves up a salad chopped with an oozing slug (reminiscent of the food yucks of “Dead Alive”), and, in the most hilariously disgusting scene in the movie, two very naked lovers fall out of bed straight into a mass of muculent wrigglers blanketing the floor – where they writhe about in agony as the slugs invade their orifices and devour their flesh. In another brilliantly gruesome moment, a man’s face explodes from within with worms (specifically blood flukes). And to think that all of this is based on a novel (by Shaun Hutson) and not some real life event, as other bad horror movies would have audiences believe.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10