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.
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.