The Green Slime
Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku
Written by: William Finger, Ivan Reiner, Tom Rowe, Charles Sinclair
Starring: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel
In the futuristic world of The Green Slime, people travel through space freely, and nuke incoming asteroids by drilling into them a whole lot easier than Bruce Willis and crew did. With all of these gadgets around, blinking lights on sterile-colored walls, the epitome of ’60s sci-fi, one has to question why a woman is clearly seen using a typewriter in the control room’s second floor. Computers can transfer video calls, control all of the equipment aboard space station Gamma 3, but word processing? Forget it.
It’s one of those ludicrous details that makes this obscure Japanese/American/Italian production such a blast, a kooky space saga involving miniatures from Godzilla effects artist Akira Watanabe, English-speaking actors who still seem to be dubbed over, and a bunch of creatures that defy even movie logic.
Maybe Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck did have it right, blowing up the asteroid without any risk of introducing an energy-seeking alien species on Earth. The crew of Gamma 3 are not quite that careful. The appropriate title describes the birthing form of these creatures, slowly evolving into one-eyed, tentacled critters that feed on electricity. With their brightly exaggerated red eye, bumpy skin, and obvious human form inside a bulky suit, the Green Slime are as kitschy as they come.
Green Slime has a sub-plot involving two commanding officers, Jack (Robert Horton) and Vince (Richard Jaeckel), fighting over a redhead named Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi). Where does it all lead? Nowhere really. It’s there for more drama, bogging down the plot with unessential details while the audience waits for the next appearance of the slimy vegetables.
The poster art for this non-classic is wonderfully absurd, featuring Lisa in full space gear (never happens in the movie) casually grabbing a tentacle with her hand (that would kill a person due to their electric charge), while jet packing astronauts fire their laser beams at the creatures, now larger than almost the entire ship (also never happens). Sometimes, you just have to appreciate a little dishonesty, the artwork telling the story of a movie that could’ve been, but makes the finished product all the more entertaining.
Green Slime has been a holy grail of home video, a long out of print VHS copy being the only official means of obtaining the film, some likely carrying around a TV taping from one its equally rare showings on late night cable. That’s what makes Warner’s official DVD release, unfortunately kept somewhat obscure through the Warner Archives, a real gem.
The film is in rather remarkable shape, even if the damage will fluctuate wildly. Special effects scenes are of course the roughest, along with the opening credits. Still, the level of color on display here really gives this clunker new life. The bright orange suits of some of the workers in Gamma 3 really pop, as does the glowing paint job on the exterior of the space station. The green slime itself, pulsating with some glorious lights placed underneath to heighten the effect, is as vivid as they come. Flesh tones are warm, giving everyone a heroes tan, perfectly suited to the material.
There is even a strong level of detail going on here, close-ups resolving a rather surprising level of facial texture. Clothing is revealed down to the stitching in close. Black levels generate some extensive depth, and the natural grain structure is kept under control, the compression rarely a notable problem.
Audio exists firmly within 2.0 mono constraints, natural as one could expect. Of extreme importance is the film’s gloriously overdone theme song, the repetitious chorus bellowing “Green Slime!” with as much aggression as possible. Fidelity is great, with no noted distortion or static to be had under the track. Dialogue is firm, ADR or dubbed lines readily apparent, and the otherworldly creature sounds cleanly reproduced.
Warner doesn’t add any extras to this release, the barren menu offering nothing but a “play movie” option.