Space May Days: THE GREEN SLIME

THE GREEN SLIME

Invaders From Beyond The Stars!

THE GREEN SLIME is a 1968 science fiction space opera directed by Kinji Fukasaku. It was produced by Walter Manley and Ivan Reiner and written by William “Bill” Finger, Tom Rowe, and Charles Sinclair – from a story by Reiner. The film stars Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel, and Luciana Paluzzi. The movie was shot in Japan with a Japanese director and film crew but with a non-Japanese cast.

CAST

ROBERT HORTON as Commander Jack Rankin

RICHARD JAECKEL as Commander Vince Elliott

LUCIANA PALUZZI as Doctor Lisa Benson

The planet of tomato soup

In the near future the United Nations Space Command discovers that an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. Commander Jack Rankin is summoned back to active duty to take command of the space station Gamma Three and destroy the asteroid. The problem is that the current commanding officer of Gamma Three – Commander Vince Elliott – was Rankin’s best friend until they had a bad falling out. To make matters worse the Chief Medical Officer on Gamma Three – Doctor Lisa Benson – was Rankin’s girlfriend but is now Elliott’s fiancé. Hoo boy! Talk about drama. The minute Rankin steps aboard the station the tension becomes so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“I’m hurt and you’re smiling?”

They set explosives on the surface of the asteroid to blow it up. While on the asteroid they discover green slime sucking energy from their vehicle. The science officer wants to bring back a sample but Rankin isn’t having it and smashes the container with some of the creature attaching to the science officer’s space suit.

The mission is a success and the asteroid is destroyed. But as the crew returns and their space suits go thru decontamination the bit of creature absorbs the decontamination radiation and starts to grow!

During their victory celebration alarms go off and people begin to die. The green slime mutates into tentacled monsters. The worst of it is if you shoot the monster and it bleeds the blood becomes more monsters. Fighting them makes it worse. It doesn’t help that our two heroes continue their bickering.

Somebody should tell him karate chops don’t work

Do our heroes get their act together long enough to save the day? Does our heroine choose between an old beau and a new flame? Do you have enough time to go get popcorn? I’m not going to tell you. You have to see the movie for yourself.

“I should have brought a light saber”
  • The movie is a co-production between MGM and Toei. MGM came up with the funds and script while Toei got the film crew and locations.
  • Years ago MGM contracted Antonio Margheriti to make four television movies about the adventures of a space station called Gamma One. MGM was so impressed with Margheriti’s four films that they released them theatrically. The producers for the Gamma One films – Manley and Reiner – wanted to capitalize on the four movies and made THE GREEN SLIME as an unofficial fifth film. The station went from being called Gamma One to Gamma Three.
“He’s dead, Jim!”
  • There are two versions of this movie. The U.S. version has a subplot involving a love triangle between the three leads – Benson, Rankin, and Elliott. The Japanese version eliminated the subplot thereby making the movie much shorter.
  • The film was shot in Japan with a predominantly Asian crew. However, the cast were Caucasian actors. In addition to Horton, Paluzzi, and Jaeckel the rest of the cast consisted of amateur and semi-professional actors living in Japan. This included many of the background players who were American military personnel stationed in Japan.
  • The tentacled green slime monsters were played by Japanese children in rubber monster suits.
  • Believe it or not but the William Finger who helped write this movie is the same Bill Finger who co-created Batman.
  • The amusingly campy nature of the film was embraced by inebriated/stoned 60s moviegoers. For years after its initial release THE GREEN SLIME was often brought back as the bottom half of double features.

DISLIKES

  • Okay, I’m going to try to edit myself a bit here because quite frankly listing what is wrong with this movie would take too long. So let’s start with the visual effects being sub-par. Even for a movie from the 60s, even for a movie that is low budget, even for a foreign film, the visual effects are sub-standard. I could see the wires holding up the spaceship. I have seen plenty of Japanese space operas from this time period. All of them were better than this.
  • Japanese monster movies have a tradition of guys in rubber suits. You didn’t think Godzilla was real did you? This time around the rubber suits were sub-standard. Small doesn’t make you more menacing. Small makes you ridiculous. On top of that swinging tentacles out of control do not work. And the worst part is – the movie is called THE GREEN SLIME and these creatures aren’t the slightest bit slimy.
  • The acting – if you want to call it that – leaves much to be desired. I’ve seen more emotion in an episode of THUNDERBIRDS.
Yes! It is true. Your acting is that bad!

LIKES

  • I like the story very much. Back when this movie first came out I was thirteen and I was able to separate the story from everything else and like the story. I kept telling myself that this could have been a cool episode of STAR TREK. Now I have seen this movie about a dozen more times since then and I still like the story.
  • I like Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Richard Jaeckel in this movie. I remember Robert Horton from WAGON TRAIN, A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH, and THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF KIOWA JONES. He can act and there is nothing wrong with his acting here. Luciana Paluzzi is a dish and before this she had appeared in the James Bond movie THUNDERBALL. But I had also seen her in HERCULES, TO TRAP A SPY, THE VENETIAN AFFAIR, and CHUKA. She can also act. And then there is Richard Jaeckel. I love this guy and I had seen him in so many of my favorite movies. A short list includes BATTLEGROUND, SANDS OF IWO JIMA, THE DIRTY DOZEN, and THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE. In 1971 he made SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION for which he got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Now this guy can act! While it is true that the rest of the cast couldn’t act to save their lives these three carried the whole movie.

RECOMMENDATIONS

I got asked if THE GREEN SLIME is a B movie. Let me tell you it is a Z movie except for three things. (A) It has a good story. (B) It has good acting from its three leads. (C) There is just something about this movie that makes you want to like it. Every time you say, “Oh brother!” (and you will do this a lot) to something that was cheesy you say it with a smile. And you say it willing to forgive. There is just something charming about this movie. I completely admit this movie is Grade Z – but it is still one of the movies that over the years I have gotten my friends and family to see. And I have watched it over a dozen times. I would like to ask all of you to see it. Yes, you’re going to be saying, “Oh brother!” repeatedly. You may snicker, you might even roll your eyes, but I think you will walk away smiling. You will have been entertained and isn’t that the purpose of a movie?

I give THE GREEN SLIME two Gray Geeks. I maybe should have given it less but I love this movie too damn much!

Mis amigos, I am sad to say it is time for me to say adios. This is the part I don’t like because I really love spending time with all of you. But all good things come to an end even if it is just for now. I love you all and I wish you all the best. Kiss the girl and then ride your horse into the sunset – and this time make sure you got it right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s