MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH "THE GREEN SLIME" WAS AS A COVER FEATURE IN FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. Then, of course, there's that ultra-groovy theme song! But it's only now in 2012 that I finally got around to seeing the damn thing - courtesy of the Warner Archives Collection "made-to-order" service. I don't know about you but I'm quite fond of this "burn on demand" thing from many of the movie studios; they make movies that were probably never going to come out on dvd available and that's a good thing. I've picked up several of them and "THE GREEN SLIME" was the latest.
An asteroid named Flora is on a collision course with earth so a group of astronauts is sent up to land on it with explosives and blow it up. The team leaves from space station Gamma 3 and lands on the asteroid where one of the astronauts finds a green blob -- it should hardly be surprising to find something green on an asteroid named "Flora" but I digress. A sample jar of the stuff gets smashed and a bit of green goop gets on an astronaut's space suit and is brought back to Gamma 3 where it quickly feeds on electricity and begins growing and multiplying at an alarming rate. Soon there is an ever-replicating army of "Green Slime" monsters hobbling around the space station killing people. Only one drop of green slime "blood" is needed to grow into geometrically-duplicating monsters so the astronauts decide they need to destroy the space station before any green slime can be carried to earth.
This is a movie which apparently gets a lot of trash talked about it but I found it to be incredibly fun and entertaining. There are dead spots in the film here and there (which involve the usual "love triangle" subplot polluting films like this) but when the monsters are on screen it's all great. And what monsters! They are just so darn lovable (which I'm sure wasn't the producers' intentions) -- sort of a cross between a Doctor Who monster and Sigmund the Sea Monster. Just absolutely adorable!!! With their weeble bodies and their one googly eye and their waving tentacles shooting electric sparks, how can you not love them. They're officially now some of my favourite bug-eyed-monsters of the 60s! The film itself is reminiscent of an episode of SPACE: 1999; in fact, the movie is reminiscent of A LOT of things. There is a good deal of "THE BLOB" in the initial finding of the green slime and the monsters on the loose in the space station recall everything from "THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT" to "IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE" and I even got flashes of Mario Bava's "PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES" as well. Oh, and there's a flavour of "THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD" as well; hey, "THE GREEN SLIME" only takes from the best! This movie is just too likeable to trash talk and I don't understand the usual "very low" rating it gets: I think the imdb gives it a 3.5 stars. How can anyone have a heart so dead as not to at least rate it a 6 out of 10?!?!?!
The film was apparently produced by MGM but filmed by Toei Company in Japan using American and European actors. I've always gotten the feeling that, for some reason, this movie had a really big promotional push at the time of its release. The cover feature on FAMOUS MONSTERS seemed a little odd unless somebody orchestrated it purposely; the film surely wasn't big enough or good enough to warrant it unless there was a huge publicity machine pushing the film. But all that being said, I've got a real soft spot for this movie. The two male leads jockeying for position are "WAGON TRAIN"'s Robert Horton and "THE DIRTY DOZEN"'s Richard Jaeckel who was also in the fine war film "ATTACK!", the classic western "3:10 TO YUMA" as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in "SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION" co-starring Paul Newman, Henry Fonda and Michael Sarrazin. Luciana Paluzzi ("THUNDERBALL") is the woman both men are fighting over. The film is directed by Kinji Fukusaku who would give us the excellent "BATTLE ROYALE" (2000) which something called "THE HUNGER GAMES" ripped off recently, I believe.
The combination of Western cast in a Japanese monster movie lends the proceedings a wonderful off-beat quality of bizarreness helped along by the admittedly bonkers proceedings of one-eyed green slime monsters running around a space station. The monster-fighting scenes are quite briskly paced with rapid-fire ray gun blasts and even people in low gravity jumping up and out of frame carrying wounded spacemen to safety. Of course, the laughably lovable monsters make any "scare quotient" nil but really they are just so cuddly it's never a minus to the viewer's enjoyment of the film. In fact, I think it's a plus; a less adorable monster would've made the film a lot more of a tough slog to sit through. So really, I do recommend this movie to anyone who is up for a silly good time.