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Subj: Sci-Fi Cinema #27: The Green Slime (1968)
Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 at 05:11:17 pm EDT (Viewed 91 times)
The Green Slime (1968)
Trailer U.S. | Japanese
In the near-future, when Earth is threatened by a giant asteroid named Flora, Cmdr. Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) is sent to man a mission based at space station Gamma 3, to go out and blow up the asteroid. He collects a team and lands on Flora to drill into the surface and plant bombs to blow up the asteroid. However on the surface his men find some strange green slime.
They make it back to Gamma 3 which is run by Cmdr. Vince Elliot (Richard Jaeckel) and unknowingly bring some of the slime back with them. Even though Rankin insists on triple-checking the decontamination process, a blob of slime on a space suit reacts to the radiation in the decontamination machine by growing into a creature.
There is also a love triangle to complicate things. The station’s doctor, Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi) is dating Elliot, but she used to date Rankin. Before the macho posturing can even wear out its welcome, the station is crawling with slime creatures. They attack a power station because they feed on electricity. The station’s troops fire energy weapons at them which makes them grow and spill blood which cause even more to grow.
They try to lure the creatures into a single room on the station which works for a second, but they are too strong to be contained. Rankin decides the only option is to evacuate the station and blow it up but the creatures are ahead of them and block the emergency exits. Now what?
MGM and Toei co-produced this movie. It was an American production with American dollars and cast, but was filmed in Japan with a Japanese director (Kinji Fukasaku) and crew. Among the scriptwriters was Bill Finger of Batman fame. MGM had previously collaborated with Italian director Antonio Margheriti on a series of four sci-fi films that took place on the Gamma One space station, so this movie was kind of a spiritual fifth in the series. Might have to track those down one day.
There are a lot of special effects in this movie and it all comes at you pretty fast. The miniatures and such are very obvious but work to tell the story. Then there’s green-screen or rear-screen projection type stuff, full size monster suits, sets and props. I can understand why people think it’s a bad movie but the effects work for the story and I’m sure it was great fun at the drive-in.
It feels very much like an episode of Star Trek which was probably still on the air when this came out. The crew works together to solve the problems and don’t make too many dumb mistakes. There is maybe more tension than this movie deserves when the two leads face off. Their main conflict is risking one life for many or just saving as many as you can. Horton has a total Jack Lord Hawaii Five-O hairdo, wasn't Lord the original choice for Kirk on Trek? Horton also does a tuck-and-roll move twice, another swipe from Kirk.
The theme song by Richard Delvy is great for a Halloween record and is very '60s-groovy but definitely doesn't support the seriousness with which the film takes itself.
Robert Horton and Richard Jaeckel both have a laundry list of credits that are mostly guest-starring roles on tv shows. Jaeckel did a decent stint on Spencer: For Hire and Baywatch. Looks like Horton’s biggest role may have been starring on A Man Called Shenandoah. I remember Lucia Paluzzi from the James Bond movie Thunderball. Kinji Fukasaku has a laundry list of directing credits, the movie on his list that I am most aware of is 2000's Battle Royale which drew comparisons to The Hunger Games.
My introduction to this movie came from a board game called The Awful Green Things From Outer Space which was inspired by this movie. My friend and I played it a lot. Basically one player takes control of the crew of a ship and the other player is the Awful Green Things who board the ship and attempt to take over. Some of the crew’s weapons kill the monsters and others make them grow or multiply. The game originally came out in an issue of Dragon Magazine in 1979, but my friend and I had the Steve Jackson Games reissue from 1989.
The Green Slime was the first movie reviewed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. You can watch The Green Slime here.
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