The Green Slime (1968)

The Green Slime has a plot like something from 1970s Doctor Who, and special effects that would barely have passed muster even on the 1960s version of that program—which, of course, was not produced in colour or widescreen or even on film—and acting that even its 1980s incarnation would’ve considered dodgy. It’s a bemusingly special beast, to be sure, a co-production between Toei in Japan and an American company that apparently was mostly Italian-funded, with an entirely Oriental crew and Occidental cast, and Kinji Fukasaku in the director’s chair. Basically, the first half hour actually anticipates Armageddon, with an asteroid threatening the Earth and needing to be destroyed. Which is done, but the asteroid is home to the titular slime, a sample of which inadvertently gets taken back to the space station, where it turns into an army of preposterous tentacled monsters. The strangest thing about the film is that, apparently, Fukasaku meant it as an allegory of the then-current war in Vietnam… which I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed by watching it, but as Scott Ashlin observes it actually does kind of explain perhaps the film’s most remarkable aspect, i.e. the fact that the hero of the film really is a total shitcock. Not even an antihero, but just an arsehole. Giving us this frankly unpleasant man as our point of audience identification just seems like a strange move, but the whole film is a strange move… years ago—like 20 or more—I saw the artwork for the DVD (above) in a book and was taken aback by it. What, this was for a real film? Even in my late teens I couldn’t quite believe it. Now in my late 30s I’ve seen the film itself and I’m still not sure I believe it. It’s kind of fun, though, and I think if I could still drink alcohol like I used to I’d find it a bigger hoot; this would go down a treat at Mu-Meson Archives.

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