Made in 1968, The Green Slime is Japanese production made under the MGM banner that does not feature any Japanese actors whatsoever. It is a little bit strange to be sure, but making it in Japan was most likely done so as to save on the budget. What is doubly interesting is that while obviously shot with whatever corners they could cut including B/Z-list actors and special effects that left a little to be desired, the film looked incredible at times and turned out to be fairly exciting as well. Just because a movie might seem cheap does not necessarily mean it will turn out to be a bad film. This particular picture is a prime example of that and yes, things could have been improved at every level, but when all was said and done, this was an enjoyable movie.
The action begins almost immediately as an asteroid is headed towards Earth, one so big that it will mean total annihilation. Enter Commander Jack Rankin, super-astronaut on the brink of retirement and tasked with saving the planet. One thing that audiences will immediately notice is that the pace of the film is somewhat relentless. The movie goes from one scene to the next with no wasted dialogue or filler scenes and it does so while ratcheting up the tension and delivering some strong characterization at the same time. As expected, Rankin destroys the asteroid but not before discovering a strange slime-like substance that makes its way back to the station on one of the men. From there, the slime grows into a large creature and begins to multiply as well, killing as it goes and threatening the lives of everyone on the station.
As a B picture, you have to expect and accept certain things that usually come with the genre, namely that sometimes there will be some sub-par acting, some cheesy special effects and more than likely a script that could use some better dialogue. All of those are present here and yet for whatever reason, none of it really hampers the amount of fun you have watching this picture. Perhaps is is because Robert Horton who plays Rankin actually puts in a pretty dynamic performance and while he is not the greatest actor you will ever see, your eyes are always on him no matter the scene. Additionally Richard Jaeckel as his friend and second in command is nearly as good and Luciana Paluzzi as the love interest and source of contention between the men manages to do a pretty good job with the material.
The aliens of course look pretty silly, but they do the trick and though they might not look so menacing, their actions are. Many tend to think that the film lends towards children’s fair and it does of course, it is big and bright and colourful and has everything that one could love, but there is also a level of sophistication to it in both the personal relationships between the leads of the picture and in the alien threat itself and how it is portrayed as an unstoppable force that requires eradication without compunction.
Though it is highly doubtful that any future filmmakers took their cue from this film or that it influenced anyone in any way, you can see bits of this film in many movies over the years that followed. So while it was corny and silly and maybe a little more exciting for children, it is perfect matinee fair and a surprising amount of fun.
3 out of 5