Monday, August 14, 2017

Cult Movie Theatre: The Green Slime

Robert Horton as the stoic hero.
What do you do when you learn that a six million ton asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and impact is just ten hours away?

The UNSC (United Nations Space Center?) recalls Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) from retirement and sends him to Operating Base Gamma 3. Once there, Rankin's mission is to plant two explosive devices on the asteroid, thereby reducing it to atomic dust. Rankin's arrival at the space station is a little awkward. He assumes command from former best friend Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel), who is planning to marry Rankin's former flame Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi).

Luciana Paluzzi as Dr. Benson.
Before this revived love triangle can be sorted out, though, Rankin and Elliott must destroy the asteroid. Their mission goes well, but a colleague gets a trace amount of a green organism on his uniform. Back on the space station, the organism begins to reproduce exponentially ("It's spreading like wildfire!"). Pretty soon, Gamma 3 is being overrun by green, one-eyed, tentacled creatures that feed on energy and kill the crew by electrocuting them.

Made by MGM in 1968, The Green Slime was an American-Japanese co-production. It was shot in Tokyo by a Japanese crew, but with an American cast (except for Italian beauty Paluzzi). Many of the extras were not professional actors. Some critics claim it was intended as the fifth installment in an Italian science fiction film series about a space station called Gamma One. (The first movie in that series was 1966's Wild, Wild Planet.

One of the cheesy-looking creatures.
The Green Slime is now considered a camp classic thanks to its atrocious special effects, silly-looking alien creatures, and composer Charles Fox's rock 'n' roll title song. That said, the monster-on-the-space station premise works well enough and foreshadows Alien (1979)--though both movies owe much to It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958).

As the stoic hero, Robert Horton appears to be having a lot of fun. In one scene, I swears he looks like he's about to burst out laughing. Sadly, the stunning Luciana Paluzzi has little to do. She was one of my favorite Bond henchman, playing fiery Fiona Volpe in Thunderball (1965). She also appeared in Muscle Beach Party (1964), in which she tried to steal Frankie Avalon away from Annette. The unfortunate Vince was played by the always solid Richard Jaeckel, who forged the most successful film career of the three leads.

Shouldn't it be "The Green
Slime is coming?"
The Green Slime was directed by the prolific Kinji Fukasaku. He later produced Asian box office hits like Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973) and the controversial Battle Royale (2000). The latter film preceded The Hunger Games by eight years with its futuristic tale about high school students who must participate in a government-sponsored game in which they kill one another until only one survives.

Incidentally, there are two versions of The Green Slime. The U.S. release is 90 minutes long, while the Japanese version clocks in at 77 minutes. It omits the love triangle, has a different title theme, and sports a more downbeat ending.

Here's a clip from The Green Slime. You can view it full-screen on the Classic Film & TV Cafe's YouTube Channel. You can also stream the entire movie at warnerarchive.com.



4 comments:

  1. "The Green Slime Are Coming" was a response to "The Birds Is Coming".

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  2. One of these days I'll have to check out the Japanese version. I find the American one a bit of a dud. Who knew I would find a movie such when all that is asked of me is to ogle Robert Horton?

    On the other hand, I could watch It: The Terror from Beyond Space any number of times.

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  3. Thanks for writing about this film. I do remember seeing it a couple of times on the late show as a kid and enjoying the silly (but still kind of creepy) monsters, and that very groovy theme song, which was actually released on 45: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkFalUlcWY8. By the way, the movie is being released on Blu-ray later this year via Warner Archive.

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  4. I can't wait to see this. Thanks for adding it to your YouTube channel. :)

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