Green Slime, The (1968)

“One cell, one microscopic speck left on a space suit, and it would absorb all the energy it could find!”

Synopsis:
A crew sent to destroy an asteroid before it hits the Earth accidentally brings back to its space station a speck of green slime, which multiplies rapidly and soon morphs into one-eyed tentacled aliens. It’s up to arrogant Commander Rankin (Robert Horton) and feisty Commander Elliott (Richard Jaeckel) to overcome their fierce rivalry for sexy Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi) in time to save the station from destruction.

Genres:

Review:
The fact that the first half-hour of this decidedly campy Japanese-American sci-fi thriller is competently executed makes the ensuing tedium that much more disappointing. Working on what was clearly an ultra-low budget, director Kinji Fukasaku and his crew try their best to evoke the fear and tension inherent in stopping a hurtling asteroid in mid-air, and Fukasaku ably transitions the story into its new central threat once the bubbly green slime makes its dastardly appearance (indeed, given recent threats of airborne pathogens and unknown substances beyond our control, the notion of killer slime isn’t really all that far-fetched). Unfortunately, however, once the slime auto-magically morphs into humanoid creatures (likened by one reviewer to Sigmund the Sea Monster), all credibility is thrown out the window, and Camp becomes the operative word.

Making matters much worse is the insipid love triangle between Horton, Jaeckel, and the super-sexy (naturally) female doctor on board the ship (Luciana Palazzi, Fiona Volpe in 1965’s Thunderball). This truly inane subplot distracts us from the real emergency on hand, instead shifting the central narrative thrust towards which commander can prove his “manly” worth in front of Palazzi, and thus win her hand. Who cares? To their credit, Jaeckel and Horton take their roles extremely seriously, never breaking concentration despite the fact that they’re basically doing battle with walking Halloween costumes — but even their best efforts can’t save this bomb from sinking. Skip this one unless you’re a true fan of the genre.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Richard Jaeckel gamely making the best of his strictly B-level role
    Green Slime Jaeckel
  • The endearingly amateur “special effects” models
    Green Slime Models

Must See?
No. While it holds some minor historical importance as the first Japanese-American cinematic collaboration — and as an early film by director Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, 2000) — it’s really only must-see for fans of the genre. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “Green Slime, The (1968)”

  1. Not a must.

    But dig that groovy opening theme song: “…Green sliiime…green sliiiiiime…green sliiiiiiiiiiime.”

    Apparently director Fukasaku was not kidding with this one, and managed to hornswoggle…well, decent-enough, non-Japanese actors into thinking the result wouldn’t be as embarrassing and laughable as it is. (Unfortunately, though, not laughable enough – in spite of the fact that ‘TGS’ boasts some of the most ludicrous monsters in film history. One would think even s**t-faced frat guys are beyond this kind of thing.)

    True to its ‘Godzilla’-esque roots, we’re subjected to teensy-weensy toy (including Lego) structures – did we EVER really fall for such crappy production design? In fact, just about everything is below par, with a faux-cartoon feel.

    And don’t get me started on the love angle/triangle. Words fail.

    To their miraculous credit, the cast gives its all and is to be commended for facing such cinematic buffoonery with a vague semblance of dignity. (What they must have been thinking to themselves on the way to work…during work…and on the way home!)

    Somewhat giggle-worthy at moments, but nothing reaching Howler Heaven; ultimately repetitive and tiresome.

    [Like ‘Attack of the Crab Monsters’, echoes of ‘TGS’ also show up in the ‘Alien’ series; here, in particular, some nitwit’s attempt to save the slime cause it’s ‘a marvelous specimen’.]

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