Perhaps what you remember from your childhood is watching Nickelodeon and thinking performers getting spattered with green slime was the coolest thing in the whole wide world. I don’t, but what I do recall is catching slime-oriented fare on gloriously underpowered over-the-air analog stations, sponsored by local businesses now out of business. (Anyone had a Booth’s grape soda lately?)
Though the names may be similar, the moniker mirror is about all The Green Slime (1968) and The Slime People (1962) have in common…besides being rip-roaring entertainment. Which is better? Tough call.
One thing’s for certain: when it comes to having a rousing, rocking theme song, The Green Slime tops every scarepic. Imagine a band like Steppenwolf fronted by a typical shriek-happy vocalist, wailing couplets like “”Is it something in your head? Will you believe it when you’re dead?!?’ Actually, you don’t have to imagine; it’s exactly what you hear, in all its late-Sixties glory.
An early take on the “soulless murderous alien(s) loose on a spaceship” theme, Green initially comes off like a very standard science-fiction flick: Big-budget sets, vivid color photography, a couple of square-jawed heroes fighting over the hilariously out-of-place Luciana Paluzzi. All seems very formulaic—until you get a glimpse of the monsters and go “What the? They have got to be spoofing!"
(I won’t spoil the fun by describing the creatures here, but guarantee you will find them, um, “unusual.” And just ignore that their inability to climb means a potential victim can easily escape them by casually going up or down one level.)
Green Slime has a first-rate look about it, right down to the publicity stills; which, juxtaposed against its overdramatic script, plot holes, silly monsters and so forth, make the movie a highly rewarding viewing experience. Its counterpart is almost its counterpoint.
The Slime People was shot in black-and-white with next to no bucks in the coffer, and the producer and his wife playing bit parts to shave expenses…all deemed virtues at the Manor Mansion. In addition, it features filmdom’s best baritone, Les Tremayne, whom you may have read about in the M-O-M review of The Angry Red Planet.
Another plus is that the Slimers, who reach the surface by crawling out of manholes, resemble ambulatory six-foot piles of the very materials found in sewers. (Do I really need to spell that out for you?) And what terrifying weapon of mass destruction do they employ in their ostensibly unstoppable quest for world domination? Webster’s defines the device as “a spear.”
Even more “bonus points” go to SP for being a production of Joseph Robertson, who you might say “enjoyed being a girl.” That’s not questioning his manhood or suggesting he was a transvestite. But after perfecting the horror genre, Joe went on to infamy as “Adele Robbins,” a porn director in the early video era, when adult-filmmakers still devised clever titles. (The Long Ranger and Real Men Don’t Eat Keisha were a couple of “Adele’s” classics.)
If I had to pick one Slime over the other, I’d give the slight edge to The Slime People. It’s all about location, location, location.
The Green menaces were in outer space; whereas, Roberson’s rapscallions were likely to slither out of any storm drain on any street in Anywhere, USA. As such, impressionable nine-year-olds leaving the theater all creeped-out by the premise, then had to scurry past a slew of sewers on the way home, where there’d be another sewer just down the block—from which monsters surely would skulk THAT VERY NIGHT!
(I can only imagine how many nonplussed moms changed the kids’ dampened sheets the morning after a Slime People ticket was purchased.)
That’s just my take on which pic is “better.” You may have completely different standards, and thus be more amused by the orbiting fracas. But why make a choice? I say see them both.
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