The Green Slime (1968)

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Time for the monthly switcheroo called the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Movie Challenge, when a blogger friend suggests a movie I’ve never seen and vice versa.

The Green Slime, a Japanese-made picture directed by Kinji Fukasaku, is one silly and groovy sci-fi baby, and totally my bag. It features the catchy, funky theme song by the Fuzztones, with these lyrics:

“Is this something in your head?
Would you believe it when you’re dead?
You’ll believe it when you find
something screaming across your mind …green sliiiiiime!”

There are many more delights, like the miraculous hair product that allows Robert Horton’s coif to stand up to the g-force of maximum spacecraft acceleration. There’s a tense romantic and professional rivalry between Horton and his astronaut colleague Richard Jaeckel, and best of all there’s an onslaught of rapidly-multiplying alien monsters. The critters sneak on board the Gamma III space station after its astronauts return from blowing up a giant killer asteroid (a cool mission in itself). The men bring back a bit of sticky, foamy matter that looks like lime green jello, just enough to fill a thimble, but more than enough to spawn an army of aliens that will spell doom for the station, and possibly Earth as well. This tiny green blob feeds off energy sources, expanding with lightning speed to its final form, a one-eyed monster with a hide like prickly fruit. It waddles and squeaks, and flails its electrocuting tentacles about maniacally like the giant inflatable tube at your local car dealership. The crew shoots the things with lasers, isolates them with the airlock system, turns off the power and light (that works for a bit), but wounded aliens bleed, every drop of mucus spawns another horde, and soon there are oodles of them crawling along the outside of the station like barnacles. Game over for the Gamma, as crew decides to evacuate and nuke the joint on their way out.

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Now if that monster threat and loads of action doesn’t grab you, there’s a juicy, grudgy backstory involving a past monumental screw-up by impulsive Jaeckel and Horton’s unwillingness to trust or forgive, and fireworks now that Horton’s summoned out of retirement and sent to take temporary command of Jaeckel’s station. True to formula, the men work out their feud and earn each others’ respect before one makes the ultimate sacrifice and leaves Doctor Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi) to be with the one she truly loves.

The effects and miniatures weren’t always convincing but still lots of fun: figures are used to show the astronauts getting out and flying around with jetpacks, the station and ship move on wires, and during the asteroid landing (a cool mission in itself) these cute little carts disembark and trundle along the rock’s rust-coloured surface and through oily ponds. When they’re monitoring the alien they managed to lock in a room, they watch its green blood spread, crawl up the wall and across the ceiling before congealing and splitting off into new bodies. The flimsy medical bay doors almost pop out of their tracks and wouldn’t hold back a poodle, but I like to see the problem-solving and creation involved in these lower-budget films, a little handmade magic with the groovy space monster adventure.

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Now check out the French thriller I first heard of via Billy Idol, and suggested for Mike’s Take on the Movies.

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12 thoughts on “The Green Slime (1968)”

  1. I had a feeling you’d like this throwback to the simpler days of the sci-fi films and the monsters that populated them. The one sheet for this one is awesome and I do hope to someday find a copy for the vault.

    1. The poster I saw while reading up on this promised more adult fare, where the movie is more silly, but did I ever enjoy it! Jaeckel vs Horton is fun– they grit their teeth and bark at each other, etc. Love that bit with the swingin’ lounge, and the way Horton gets up and walks to the controls when there’s so much g-force nobody can move a finger.

  2. I remember my brother (who is 12 years older than me) leaving the house to go see this movie when it came out and I wanted to go soooooooo badly, but my parents wouldn’t let me go. I finally saw the movie when I was about 30 or 31 and almost wanted to call up my parents to say, “Hey, thanks for *not* letting me go see The Green Slime when I was six!” I think if I saw it again, knowing what to expect, I’d probably have a great time with it. Maybe I will, thanks to your review! 🙂

    1. It’s cheesy fun for sure, but I like this as much as art house stuff, ha. Nice to eat all the foods at the cinematic buffet! 🙂

  3. You don’t know how many times over the past few years I’ve been tempted to buy this movie, sight unseen, but always backed off at the last moment. Now, it’s going right back on my ‘to buy’ list…it sounds like a whole mess of fun! Toho-like production value mixed with some smarts, a luscious Bond girl, and of course plenty of slime. The story sounds a bit like ‘Aliens’, actually…did it seem that way to you?

    1. The slime FX, when it runs “up” the walls and across the ceiling–call me basic but I love simple stuff like that, and did remind me of Alien. The first bit where they go to the asteroid is like Armageddon too, they put explosives on there to save Earth and zip out of the blast zone, just in time of course. Fun stuff.

  4. Looks like something we’d see on ‘Svengoolie’ on Saturday night, …which is a compliment, of course!

    Great to see you still here, Kristina. And even better to see that you’re still having fun!

    1. ..and great to see you drop by! Hope you’re doing good. Yes I know just what you mean, these cheesier movies are always fun, good casts and memorable monsters– even better.

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