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The Green Slime


Rating: One Green Poseidon




Reviewed by Neal E. Busch



  Evaluation of the film, “Green Slime” (by Neal E. Busch)


            The film stars Robert Horton (Jack), Luciana Paluzzi (Liza), and Richard Jaeckel (Vince)


            Produced by Ram Films, Inc., and filmed at  Toei Tokyo Studios, Inc., Tokyo , Japan with          special effects performed by Nihon Special Effects, Inc., & Toei Chemistry Co., Inc.


            Directed by Kinju Fukasaku


            Music by Charles Fox and Toshiaki  Tsushima


Opening sound track lyrics screamed to the accompaniment of 1960's rock with Buddy Rich type loud drumming:


            “...What can it be; what’s the reason?...”


            ...Is this the end to all the seasons?...


            ...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!...


                                                   slime, green slime, green slime...”


I. Plot


            Basically, the film is similar in plot to the films,  “Deep Impact” with Robert Duval or “Armageddon” in which an asteroid targets Earth for destruction.  Ancillary to the basic plot is the contact made by the astronauts with the “green slime”, which was on the asteroid to be destroyed and brought back to the space station by the astronauts.  Predictably, the green slime develops and grows to become a mortal threat to the astronauts and to the space station.  The plot is resolved by one or more of the central characters destroying the menace by sacrificing their live(s).  A romantic twist to the plot is the predictable competition for the attentions of the character played by Luciana Paluzzi as head nurse by the two central male characters played by Robert Horton and Richard Jaeckels.  Also predictably one of them has to die to clear the field for the other male lead for the attentions of Ms. Paluzzi.  The film ends amidst the screaming lyrics of “Green Slime” back dropped with the space station plunging to Earth and then exploding in a fire ball scattering bits and pieces of both the station and the green slime.  Of course, the space station personnel escape in a functioning space ship.   No one is informed that the bits and pieces of the “green slime” may have survived reentry into Earth’s atmosphere such as to become a mortal threat to life on Earth.

            One of the interesting and laughable elements in the plot is that the number of nurses appear to outnumber the number of astronauts almost as though the “Gamma Three” space station were an orbiting hospital staffed almost entirely with male and female models posing as medical personnel.


II. Characters and Acting


            Central actors include Robert Horton as “Jack”, Commander of the expedition to destroy the asteroid, Richard Jaeckels who plays “Vince”, the commander of “Gamma Three” space station, and Luciana Paluzzi as “Liza” who plays the head nurse and occupies the third element of the love triangle.

            Interestingly, characters were all “clean cut” and well groomed with 1950's haircuts more for a modeling agency than realistic for a science fiction film.  Voices appear to be dubbed over actor’s lip motion creating a robotic stiffness with lips out of synch with speech    an effect more common to a laughable episode in the Godzilla series than for a serious science fiction drama.

            Character development was poor with the central characters shouting orders at one another and rushing from one scene to another to an instant resolution of the initial asteroid plot only to be followed in another rush to the secondary plot dealing with the “green slime”. 

            The predictable clash of the two central characters, “Jack” and “Vince”, was shallow with predictable  irritations and predictable vocal clashes.  The secondary green slime plot parallels the clash between “Jack” and “Vince” with both plots being resolved simultaneously with the green slime being vanquished simultaneously with the death by sacrifice of Jack’s rival, “Vince”.  The two surviving central characters,” Jack” and “Liza” do not ride off into the sun set, but instead are treated to the screaming lyrics of the “Green Slime” theme song as the film ends.

            Supporting actors include a group of well groomed but unrecognizable “also ran’s” all acting with B-film stiffness.

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III. Special Effects


            Special effect technology appear to originate in the 1940's or more precisely the film appears to be without the benefit of special effects technology.  The “Gamma Three” space station is a cheap plastic model in the shape of the predictable donut  with windows and external fixtures painted on with cheap enamel paint..  The model is poised in front of a black back drop punctured with a multitude of small holes presumably representing stars.  The “space” surrounding the space station seems to have a day and night cycle uncharacteristic of space with a blue sky during the “day” and a half lite gray twilight for “night”.  Also, interestingly, there appears to be a large, fuzzy galaxy residing just adjacent to Earth all unbeknownst to present day astronomers. 

            The space ship modeling appears to be made of the same cheap plastic as the space station with painted on logo.  Rocket flames appear to be made by a natural gas blow torch with flames and smoke angling upward caused by the atmospheric effects within the surrounding studio.   The effect is much like that of a candle burning at a slant.  Space motion is either too smooth or too jerky creating the expectation of seeing a hand or wire pulling the models along.  At times, I expected to see a giant hand come out and crush the model in exasperation.

            The green slime “alien” is obviously a guy in a rubber suit with flapping rubber “arms” and a single, large, painted-on red eye.  When the green slime sub-plot gets rolling the invading green slime is able to reproduce itself several times over producing a mob of green slime creatures who amble around the space station creating confusion and chaos amongst the multitudes of nurses and medical personnel all careening about with fits of screaming and shouting.  Sometimes, I find myself cheering for the aliens to just “end it all” so as to stop the chaos and mob rule prevalent on the space station.  From a scientific standpoint it is hard to fathom where the green slime goes from being a small gooey mass about the size of a thumbnail to becoming a herd of huge green slime creatures each the size of a refrigerator.  I suspect the producers of the film never heard of the law of  “conservation of matter” in which matter can neither be created nor destroyed.  Seemingly, the green slime creatures have overcome this scientific difficulty. 


IV. Summary


            The film, “Green Slime”, was produced in Japan in the early 1960's apparently without benefit of either special effects technology or an adequate budget for the technology available at the time.  Although big name actors and actresses were involved in the film, the directing of the film was amateurish with shallow plot and character development with predictable plot resolution consistent with the B-film genre.  The artificial and phoney conflict between “Jack” and  “Vince” was a bit ridiculous when juxtapositioned against the supposed dire calamity posed by the eminent collision of an asteroid with earth.  One would think that the characters would focus on the ensuing calamity rather than on a petty squabble between grown men.  However, the box office rules.  This film may inaugurate a new category as the first in a line of C-film genre.  If the green slime aliens weren’t so laughably fake I might find myself cheering for the aliens to “clean out” the space station of bad acting and excess medical personnel.  One is left with the question as to what the motivation is for staffing the “Gamma Three” space station with  the multitudes of nurses and medical technicians.  Maybe, the attitude of the age was focused more on the medical dangers of space travel as opposed to the scientific purposes of space exploration.


reviewed by Neal E. Busch

January 30, 2008