persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

THE GREEN SLIME 1968 MGM. with Robert Horton, Richard Jaekyl, Lucianna Paluzzi. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

When someone asks me, “What’s one of your favorite science fictions films that are also bad?” I mention this film, and get an odd shrug, even from people who might have seen it.

In a really useful book on Japanese cinema called MONSTERS ARE ATTACKING TOKYO (by Stuart Galbraith, Feral House 1998, and OOP), the director of this film has recollections of the films inception...Kinji Fukasaku says...”THE GREEN SLIME was about three times the average Japanese budget...Instead of using three Japanese actors we used three foreign stars....and then amateurs from the local military base.” (page 105) Other revelations included the news that the film was about Vietnam, with Americans discovering and involving themselves with something they could not understand and could not control.

The film really tries to be different and meaningful, but the one eyed unpurple people zappers undermine the whole production as something promising to be scary, but getting further away from its actual intent with the accumulation of too many off centered details.

Back to the beginning: an asteroid is heading towards earth. It has come out of no where, no previous coordination known, and heading straight for earth. Not too much time to stop it, so a crew is quickly assembled to blow it to bits. It is named Flora.

The love triangle that involves Elliot and his ol' girlfriend and her really married to him new boyfriend never graduates beyond the level of high school play. And Robert Horton's hair is prefect. He fights, he takes off his helmet, he is thrown against a wall, and his titanium welded hair is still intact. A bomb could go off next to his head, splatter his brains all over the universe, and all those hair follicles would be intact and ready to go.

What is amusing is some of the set designs that don’t match common sense. The big burly Americans are seen drinking out of teacups (on a spaceship?), clocks with analog dials are seen on the walls, with plugs coming out.There's a 1960's teletype. The spaceships emit vapor and smoke in a vacuum, the walls shake frequently. The space station is a large torus, but all the rooms seem to be square. The spaceships catches on fire and tilts towards the earth, and explodes when it "hits" the atmosphere.

And as for those rubbery flabby electricity munching aliens who hitch hiked a ride from the atmospheric asteroid...they seem kind of funny looking. I have seen the film a few times, and I keeping wondering if I'll ever see a pair of sneakers near the floor holding up the costume.

This is a great bad movie. It tries to tell a story, but loses control of it.


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