The Green Slime (1968)

Green Slime title

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

Written by Bill Finger and Ivan Reiner

Run Time: 90 min

Tagline: "The Green Slime is coming!"

Other Titles: Death and the Green Slime, Gamma #3 Big Military Space Operation (Japan)

Classic quote: Doctor Lisa Benson looking over a bloody, smoking, charred body: "He’s dead."

The Green Slime is an odd sort of picture. Produced and filmed in a Japanese studio, written by an Italian screenwriter, and starring American actors, it all adds up to one huge schlock-fest.

The creator of this silly space monster tale, Ivan Reiner, has a few other writing accomplishments to his name: Snow Demons (1965), The Galaxy Criminals (1965), The Deadly Diaphonoids (1966), and of course, our feature presentation. Interestingly enough, an uncredited co-author of the story is none other than Bill Finger, writer of the stupendously awful Track of the Moon Beast released in 1976.

Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku is well known for his work both inside and outside of Japan. With over 60 films completed under his direction, and over 20 films written, this prominent artist was awarded the Government’s Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1997 for his contribution to the film world.

The special effects are typical for this type of film, i.e., low budget. The man responsible for these efforts, Akira Watanabe, is certainly no hack. With over 40 films to his credit (mostly Godzilla films and assorted ‘space’ adventures), I’m sure Akira was constrained more by the budget than by his imagination.

"The Green Slime" is a hilarious example of a groovy-1960’s cheap monster movie. Maybe a little cheaper than the rest, but it’s more entertaining because of it. And hey! What other space monster movie has a Green Slime theme song!:

"Open the door, you’ve got a secret.
To find the answer is to keep it.
You’ll believe it when you find,
Something screaming ‘cross your mind…
Green Sliiiiiiiiime!

"What can it be, what is the reason?
Is this the end to all that’s breathin’?
Is this something in your head?
Will you believe it when you’re dead?

Green Sliiiiiiime! Green Sliiiiiiiiime! Green Sliiiiiiiiiime!"

Anyway, here’s the song in all of it’s glory for you:

Robert Horton Jack Rankin (Robert Horton)

Veteran Western actor Robert Horton takes on the role of studly Jack Rankin. Besides over 20 films, Robert has appeared in several T.V. shows during the years, including a visit to Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show in 1970. Robert’s last appearance was a guest role on the popular mystery television program Murder, She Wrote in 1989.

Richard Jaeckel Vince Elliot (Richard Jaeckel)

Veteran character actor Richard Jaeckel portrays the hard-headed captain of Gamma 3. With nearly 100 films under his belt, Richard has often appeared as a rough-and-tumble tough guy, including the hard-as-nails Drill Sgt. Bowren in The Dirty Dozen . His career also includes a few appearances on Baywatch as Capt. Ben Edwards, and he even popped up on Fantasy Island back in 1983. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1994, Richard was quoted as saying, “I know people are pulling for me to beat this thing, but let them have a glass at the bar for me and let it go at that.” I think that’s class.

Luciana Paluzzi Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi)

Doctor Lisa Benson seems to be everywhere in film except the sickbay. Not that I’m complaining. Luciana has shown up in over 60 films in her long career including the role of Fiona Volpe in the 1965 James Bond classic Thunderball, and a bit part in the first Italian Sword-N-Sandal "epic" Hercules (1958).

We open in space. Which is a good place to start in a space movie. Across the screen floats the U.N.S.C Gamma 3, a half-way decent model space station. Inside the "Command Center" (the words "Command Center" are actually written on the outside of the ship for some reason…), the crew is busily at work, while computers ping, lights blink, and colorfully clad crew members race back and forth performing their space duties.

headquartersCut down to Earth, specifically UNSC headquarters, a room filled with a busy staff and, yes, a gazillion computers arrayed with blinking lights (most aren’t labeled in any fashion, so who knows what they’re supposed to indicate.). And by the way, the operations room here looks incredibly similar to the bridge on Gamma 3…hmmm…they wouldn’t use the same set for both locations, would they? (The model "city" used in this scene isn’t so bad given the fact that the film was made nearly 40 years ago. I guess the filmmakers blew the whole F/X budget on the models, because the monsters themselves…well, you’ll see.) I love these 1960’s visions of the future, full of optimism and rocket ship launch pads. Where did we go wrong?

Inside the headquarters, a leggy blonde delivers the latest satellite tracking reports to XXXX. "Same old garbage," he remarks while flipping through the paper, "Nothing exciting every happens around here." (Hmmm…I wonder if something exciting is about to happen?)

On cue, one of the satellite tracking boards goes haywire. "A lot of abnormal interference!", the board operator shouts. (Opposed to normal interference?) Anyway, the big blip on the radar board is magnified and projected on the standard Huge Projection Screen On The Wall that every space agency and government building seems to be equipped with. "That’s an asteroid!" an observant officer notes upon seeing a giant asteroid on the screen.

space meatballAs many others have immediately noticed and commented upon, this asteroid resembles a gigantic meatball in every respect. The commander calls out to one of his lackeys to calculate the asteroid’s path. Upon seeing the predicted course, the commander’s face pales as he gasps, "It’s on a collision course with Earth."

Cue opening credits and the above mentioned "Green Slime" theme song. This great little groove-packed ditty was written and performed by Richard Delvy, the drummer for the popular 1960’s band "The Bel Airs". Believe me, this jam gets stuck in your head after hearing it a few times. I’ve been driving my wife nuts lately running around singing "Greeeennnn Sliiiiiimmmeeee!". Make sure to check out the little audio clip in the introduction to see what I mean.

Enter General Thompson. "This confirms my first guess," the General says upon perusing the report, "the only answer is to blast that thing out of the sky." As Thompson makes his way to his office, another hot blonde informs him that Commander Rankin has arrived. "Send him into my private office," Thompson commands. One of Thompson’s orderlies points out that Rankin has put in his resignation and it would be madness to send him on a mission where the chances of survival are "next to zero." (Seeing that if Rankin chooses not to do it, his chances, and the chances of everybody else are in fact zero, I don’t see what all the concern is about.) Thompson disagrees, reminding everybody that Rankin is "still his top officer" and he has full confidence in him. (Or is he the "rankin’ officer"? Ha ha! Get it…? oh never mind.)

FriendsCut to an absolutely hilarious photograph of Thompson, Rankin, and a third astronaut, Elliot. The funny thing is that the photograph is real, but the actor’s heads have been (poorly) "merged" over the original astronaut’s faces. I choked on my coffee when I saw that picture! Man, I’m tempted to use it as my desktop background.

Inside Thompson’s office, Jack Rankin gazes at a picture and reminisces of times gone by. Thompson enters and notices Rankin looking at the photograph. "Rankin and Elliot," Thompson says with a sentimental tone, "The best space team we ever had."

"Yeah, until I blew it," Rankin says. Um, what are you talking about? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out since General Thompson changes the subject to a more pressing issue: namely the newly christened asteroid ‘Flora’, which, as was pointed out earlier, is hurtling towards the Earth.

"Flora, that’s a class two asteroid." Rankin remarks. (Man, he sure does know his asteroids!)

The problem? Flora is going to collide with the Earth at 7 a.m. the next morning: less than 10 hours! This impeding deadline does raise the question of how in the hell they didn’t notice such this ‘planet buster’ asteroid before now? Just how did it suddenly appear within a few hours journey from Earth? I mean, we’re talking about a Class 2 asteroid here, folks!

Ok, Ok. It’s a 1960’s cheapie monster movie, I’ll suspend disbelief and go along with it for now.

Thompson explains his plans for blasting the asteroid to smithereens. "Who’s in charge of the mission?" Rankin asks. Thompson can think of only one person with the "necessary experience". (Asteroid destruction experience?) However, since Rankin is retired, he will have to "volunteer" to lead the mission. Well, yes, he does volunteer or else there wouldn’t be a movie, so Thompson orders him to get his butt up to the Gamma 3 space station where equipment and crew will be waiting for him. Furthermore, Rankin will be put in charge of the space station for the duration of the mission. Just one little problem, Vince Elliot is currently in charge, and will not be too happy about relinquishing command to Rankin. (Conflict!)

General Thompson ends the briefing with a solemn "Good luck" punctuated by a thumbs-up. Jack returns the thumbs-up and leaves to face his destiny. (I guess because all American’s give each other the thumbs-up when parting company.)

Happy ThumbHappy Thumb

Another sequence of cheap miniature space ship shots brings Rankin to the rocket ship that will ferry him up to Gamma 3. As kettle drums sound an ominous beat on the soundtrack, a model rocket lifts off from its miniature launch pad. (Look, I’m not trying to be overly picky about the model work done here. The models certainly are detailed, and even charming, but they are so obviously models that I just have to mention it.)

Gamma 3On the way up through the atmosphere one of the rocket pilots reports that they’ve "just passed through zero gravity." I’m not sure how that works, but Rankin seems to be OK with that. Wondering how long the trip is to Gamma 3? Well, I’ll tell you. 30 minutes.

On the bridge of Gamma 3, (Let me repeat that this set looks so much like the operations room back at UNSC headquarters that I thought the scene was taking place on Earth until one of the orderlies mentioned the approaching rocket. Hmmmm….) Commander Elliot watches the rocket flying towards the space station via a view screen. (Note how the rocket’s exhaust floats "up" in outer space.) Captain Martin, one of the officers of the Gamma 3, reminds Elliot that Rankin is aboard the ship. Not happy with having to give up his command to Rankin, even if only temporarily, Elliot swallows his pride and drops the subject by saying, "Since that’s the way it is, let’s be sure that’s the way it is!" (Hey, isn’t that a Zen koan?)

In the hallway, Elliot runs across Lisa, played by the red-headed Italian bombshell Luciana Paluzzi. (Why everybody else on board wears a blue military-style uniform while Lisa is clad in a silver, sleeveless, cleavage-revealing silver one-piece is not clear. But I’m not complaining.) Lisa asks Elliot to be on his best behavior with Rankin since they were best friends at one time. Oh yeah, and Rankin means nothing to Lisa anymore. (Hey! A love triangle! Who would have known?) Elliot complies and asks Lisa if she would like to join him in welcoming Rankin aboard. "I told him I never want to see him again," Lisa replies, "and I still mean it." (And she’s telling Elliot to behave himself?) Gee, this is all so original!

Rankin’s ship docks with Gamma 3 after which he disembarks. After wandering around the bustling landing bay, Rankin meets Elliot and they exchange a cordial greeting. Due to the time constraints, Rankin is set to leave in 20 minutes on his mission to intercept the asteroid. Thinking that he was going alone, Rankin finds out that his orders had been "modified" and he will in fact be accompanied by two of the Gamma 3 crew: Dr. Hans Halvorsen, the Station Space Consultant (?), and his assistant, Michael. (I guess he doesn’t have a rank so they just go on a first name basis.)

Elliot remarks that he to wants to tag along. (Rankin correctly notes, "Your place is here, Vince, and you know it.") Elliot reassures Rankin that his XO, Capt. Martin can handle the Gamma 3 while they’re away, and Rankin reluctantly allows him to come along. (Is it really that easy to change a rocket ship crew at the drop of a hat? Don’t these sort of things need to be planned a bit first? Oh well, this is The Future!) Rankin and the others (including a few Ensign No-Names which I assume will also end up in a cold, spacey grave) suit up, board their toy rocket, and blast off from the Gamma 3 towards the asteroid.

SpaceshipThe model rocket arrives at the meatball, I mean asteroid, and Rankin takes the ship over the surface pointing out the various areas of operations. Basically, the crew will split up into 3 groups. Each group will plant a "tri-megaton unit" in the surface and viola: no more asteroid.

Once the ship lands, the 3 demolition teams (armed with rifles!?) board tracked surface vehicles (I’ll call them ‘buggies’) and leave the main ship. (As the crew looks around the asteroid’s surface, you can see the sound stage lights reflected in their helmets’ faceplates.) Rankin rallies the men and goes over last minute details. The most important is that they have less than an hour to plant the bombs and get back to Gamma 3. Why? Who knows. It makes it more exciting I guess.

The crews drive around for a while, navigating through the barren, desolate landscape of the asteroid’s surface. Well, maybe not completely desolate. One shot shows one of the buggies driving through a pool of water. Standing, liquid water on the asteroids surface. I’m no astrophysicist, but I don’t think you’re going to find pools of water in outer space.

Eventually, Rankin’s stops his buggie and says, "This place looks as good as any." (Wow! Talk about a finely calculated plan! Don’t they have, you know, certain exact locations where they have to plant the bombs? If it doesn’t make any difference, then why not just plant them right outside the main ship and then return to Gamma 3?)

Oh yeah, look at the background and you can see the actors’ shadows on the painting on the wall behind them. Oops, I mean ‘outer space’.

Green SlimeAs the bombs are emplaced, Dr. Halvorsen studies the asteroid’s surface with a Geiger counter. (I guess it’s the only ‘spacey’ piece of equipment the film makers could afford for the scene.) Suddenly, Halvorsen notices a pulsating green glob of goo on the ground. He picks it up with a large pincers and is about to put it into a specimen jar (!!) he just happened to bring along, (that’s the first thing I would think of taking to an asteroid, wouldn’t you?), when he sees another green glob at the edge of the water. Doing what any highly trained Space Consultant would do, he simply drops the green glob he was holding, which splats all over his Geiger counter (!), and goes to have a look at the other glob. Why, hey! There’s little green globs all over the place. Oddly, the one that he dropped onto the Geiger counter seems to have grown, and is pulsating with a bright light. (Uh, Doc, don’t you think you should radio this in?)

Meanwhile, the drilling is completed and the bomb is removed from its carrying case. (The bomb is timed to go off using an analog clock, complete with ‘ticking’ second hand…to set off a nuclear bomb!?) What the astronauts don’t notice is that their buggy is being completely engulfed in these green gooey globs. As a matter of fact, green slimes have covered all the buggies, none of which will now start due to the slime’s energy-absorbing characteristics. Faced with no other option, the men start jogging back to the ship.

Out of the blue, Rankin receives a radio call from General Thompson back on Earth. It turns out that the asteroid is accelerating. (Hmmm…) Due to the new calculations, the bombs have to be detonated in 20 minutes.

"Do you realize what you’re asking?" Ranking shouts.

"I realize what I’m asking," replies Thompson.

I will say, that as the viewer, I don’t know what he’s asking, so it would have been nice for the story writer to have told me too. Oh well. I assume what Thompson’s asking is that they take a huge chance at detonating so soon, i.e., Rankin and his men won’t be far enough away from the asteroid to avoid taking a major, if not disastrous, hit from the blast.

After speaking with Thompson, Rankin goes back outside to inform the men of the new timetable.

"Detonation has been moved to three o’clock," Rankin says.

"That’s impossible!" shouts Elliot.

"That’s what I said."

Well, Rankin, if you look a few lines above, what you did say was "Do you know what you’re asking?", but never mind.

At that moment, Dr. Halvorsen runs up shouting excitedly about his green slime discovery. "It’s alive!" he shouts. Rankin, nonplussed, smashes the jar onto the ground, unknowingly splattering a glob of green goo on somebody’s space suit. (bum, bum, bum!)

The ship blasts off from the asteroid and races back towards Gamma 3. "Give it everything she’s got!" Ranking tells the pilot, noting that they have just 3 minutes before the multi-megaton nuclear bombs go off. "We’re over ten gee’s now!" grunts Elliot. (10 gee’s? I think they’d be unconscious, if not dead long before that. Assuming Rankin weighs around 170 pounds on Earth, his effective weight now would be in excess of 1,700 pounds. Needless to say, Rankin doesn’t look the least bit affected by this fact.) When the pilot hesitates to increase the speed, Rankin throws off his seat belt, jumps out of his chair, runs to the control console, and pushes the accelerator to the max. All at 10 gee, mind you.

Just as the bombs explode, reducing the asteroid to dust, Rankin pulls himself out of his seat and enables the "force shield". This shield envelopes the ship in a purple ‘cloud’ that sparkles a bit as the blast strikes. The ship shakes violently, buffeted by the forces unleashed by the nuclear bombs. Eventually, the tremors subside and the ship continues its journey back to Gamma 3.

Rankin and the crew are greeted by a gigantic cheering crowd in the landing bay and all seems well. Lisa bursts through the (unlocked) containment door to the landing bay and Rankin promptly chews her out from breaking decontamination procedures. Rankin turns to Doc Halvorsen and curtly orders him to run the decontamination checks 3 times. (Wow! 3 times!)

"Three times?" Elliot interrupts, "I can’t spare the equipment that long!"

Um, you can’t spare the decontamination equipment to decontaminate? What else were you going to use it for? Decontamination? Not sure what you’re getting at, Elliot.

DecontaminationWhen Rankin insists on decontamination, Elliot responds, "The crew on this ship has more important things to do!" (And this guy is the commander?) I mean, I have to take Rankin’s side on this issue. They just came back from an asteroid full of glowing, pulsating, green, blobs that they peeled off their buggies themselves…and Elliot doesn’t want to spend the time to decontaminate? Dude! Procedures! Procedures! (In the very next scene, the crew is shown standing on a rolling walkway, moving through a red-lit tunnel of sorts. I guess this is the decontamination equipment that couldn’t be spared. We also see the green goo on somebody’s space suit getting bigger as it absorbs the decontamination ‘energy’.)

Later, Rankin goes down to the sick bay to have his arm looked at. (He cut it doing the exciting Flying Away At Ten Gee’s scene) Well, guess who’s the doctor? Give yourself a gold star if you guessed Lisa. She treats his wound, rather roughly, and chews him out for being so strict with people. (Following decontamination procedures is being overly strict? And she’s a doctor?) Rankin and Lisa argue a bit, because the script calls for it, before Elliot comes around and informs Rankin that a communications channel has been established with Earth.

Space partyThat evening, the crew of Gamma 3 hold a massive party to celebrate the asteroid’s destruction and the resulting salvation of the Earth. (Gee, you think that would call for at least a couple of beers, eh?) Champagne corks pop (with plenty of background cleavage shots), groovy 1960’s music blares in the background, and things are looking pretty good. By the way, all the men are still in uniform, while the women are dressed in very revealing mini-skirts. Huh.

Elliot proposes a toast to Rankin and the success of the mission as Lisa looks on. Cheers! By the way, Elliot lets the cat out of the bag: He and Lisa are getting married next week. Rankin’s face turns a dark shade of red, returns to normal, and then he mutters, "Congratulations." (Who wants to bet that Elliot and Lisa won’t be getting married next week?)

As the party continues, Washing Machine Orderly Nameless is taking the soiled space suits to some sort of cleaning chamber. He pushes a button, the chamber opens, and he pushes the space suits inside. Another button is pushed, resulting in a huge bank of lights coming to life (all this for a washing machine?) accompanied with high-tech futuristic "pinging" noises. (Once again, all this just to wash clothes?) As the cleaning cycle continues, we see the green goo, still stuck on the spacesuit, begin to grow and pulsate with an un-Earthly green light.

Meanwhile, Rankin and Lisa are sharing a slow dance together. (With Elliot’s permission, course.) As they weave about the dance floor, the ex-lovers discuss Elliot’s weaknesses as a commander along with the one mistake that is "eating him up" inside: the time he sacrificed ten men to save one.

Something like that. Let’s just get to the goofy monsters already.

Upstairs, or somewhere, Washing Machine Orderly notices that something is going wrong with the current load. "Oh my God!" he shouts upon seeing a bank of blinking lights which looks just the same as every other bank of blinking lights I’ve seen so far. He opens the door to the washing chamber and screams in agony. An alarm goes off downstairs in the dance hall (A ship-wide washing machine alert? How does that work? "ALERT! ALERT! Fabric softening overload! ALERT!")

GuardOut of nowhere a security guard appears and reports to Elliot that there’s "trouble in the lab." (How do I know he’s a security guard even though his uniform is exactly the same as every other uniform? Because he’s wearing a silver motorcycle helmet.) Elliot asks "what sort of trouble," and the guard insists that he accompany him to the lab in order to see for himself. (Rankin, Lisa, and Dr. Halvorsen also tag along, because it’s their movie too.)

The lab itself has been destroyed, and laying on the floor is the scorched, battered, bloody body of the unfortunately orderly. ("He’s dead!" Doctor Lisa amazingly deduces upon seeing the smoldering remains.) Elliot notes that the kid was electrocuted. Hmmm. Suddenly the spot a burned bit of green slime hanging on a piece of broken equipment. Halvorsen remarks that it’s the same stuff that they saw on the asteroid.

"What’s it doing here?" asks Rankin.

"I don’t know," says Halvorsen.

"That’s your responsibility!" Rankin shouts in return.

I don’t see how it’s Halvorsen’s responsibility. First, he’s a "space consultant" (whatever the hell that is!), not chief science officer. Second, if they in fact went through the decontamination procedures as ordered, how is it his fault?

Whatever. Rankin orders a thorough search of the ship in order to find whatever it was that killed the orderly and left a piece of itself hanging on the equipment.

While the search is underway, one of the monitors on the bridge goes on the blink. A guard is dispatched to check out the "power terminal in block C." After creeping through a narrow access way, he discovers a mass of sparking wire, torn from the wall and laying on the floor. What he fails to see is the huge green creature sneaking up behind him. A long green tentacle wraps itself around his neck. Scratch one security guard. Elliot, Rankin and some others go to investigate and find the guard’s electrocuted body laying on the access way floor.

Suddenly a distressed voice breaks out over the ship’s loudspeaker system: "Emergency call to Commander Elliot! Come to the main power room at once!" (Uh oh! Not the main power room!)

Reaching the main power room, Elliot and Rankin discover a gaggle of guards looking up at one of the generators. Upon further investigation, they see a green thingee laying on the floor contentedly dragging its appendages along the generator, happily sucking power from the circuits. Rankin grabs a laser rifle in order to blast it. At that moment, because he’s a Scientist, Halvorsen runs up and begs Rankin not to kill it, remarking that it’s a "great discovery!" (Scientists…can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em!)

Monster netWell, since there’s still about an hour left of the movie, Elliot takes Halvorsen’s side just to spite Rankin, and the green bugger is spared. Gas and net guns are brought forward and the green monster is quickly subdued and captured. Or is it? The beast struggles and twists in the nets and finally rips itself free by using its sparkling tentacles. (Literally ‘sparkling’…Fourth of July sparklers are attached to the ends of the tentacles which the actor in the rubber suit wildly waves around.)

The monster zaps a guard and wounds Elliot before Rankin gets the chance to zap it with his laser rifle. The creature retreats from the beam, knocking another guard over a railing to his death and shoving another security man into a panel of high-voltage fuses. (This panel of lethal components is protected with a waist-high fence with a high-voltage sign hung on it. Really helpful, that. You know, don’t make the fence any higher than you have to, guys.) Finally, under Rankin’s unrelenting barrage of laser blasts, the monster flees down a dead end corridor. "Only ventilation shafts down there, sir," reports a guard. (Ahhh, yes, ‘Yee Olde Ventilation Shaft’, which is probably just big enough for the monster to squeeze into.)

Seeing that Elliot’s plan to capture it alive backfired, to say the least, Rankin announces that he’s taking command. (Um, does he have the authority to do that?) Anyway, the crew acquiesces and the guard is doubled at the corridor exit. (Gee, you think?) By the way, Dr. Halvorsen finds some green blood on the floor and swabs a bit up into a petri dish. (Does he just carry those around in his pocket?)

Back in the sickbay, Lisa is patching up Elliot’s wounds. (Why he was only cut by the monster while the ordinary crew members were electrocuted by its touch is not explained.) Finally, the big Confrontation. After a bit of Elliot’s goading, Rankin finally comes out and says that Elliot is not fit for command. Lisa tries to defend Elliot’s decision to capture the creature by noting that this is the man’s first encounter with extraterrestrial life. Rankin is not impressed. "Tell it to the wives of the guys in the morgue," he says before stomping off with his newly issued silver motorcycle helmet.

Meanwhile, a massive search is in underway. Security guards wearing a vast array of different colored uniforms (but all with silver motorcycle helmets), are driving around the ship in little golf-cart thingees and searching room-by-room for the unwanted visitor. You would think that a future spaceship of this size would have video monitoring equipment. Imagine how quickly they could find this thing, all from the safety of a surveillance center. But then we wouldn’t be able to see all the cool fights coming up.

Out in spaceA search crew is even sent outside the ship in order to take a look at the space station’s exterior. Unfortunately, the special effects used here are not of the highest quality, in fact, you can see the space station ‘through’ the partially transparent ‘astronauts’ from time to time. This search party consists of 4 men armed with laser rifles, floating around the outside of the ship without any apparent means of locomotion. Maybe that thing on his back is some sort of jet pack, but then where is the oxygen? Maybe they’re just holding their breathe.

The excitement of this scene is interrupted when Doctor Halvorsen calls Elliot and Rankin to the lab. Halvorsen has discovered that the monster’s blood cells "duplicate faster than anything known to man."

"It’s frightening," he adds, just to make sure we know that all this is ‘Bad’.

As Rankin and Elliot look on, Halvorsen takes a blood sample over to some sort of rigged up experimental apparatus. As the doctor applies electricity to the sample, it bubbles and expands. "It proves out!" Halvorsen remarks. "The animal feeds on energy!" Realizing that just one cell, if given access to an energy source, can grow to be one of those green monsters, Rankin gives the order that under no circumstances will anybody fire their weapons.

Meanwhile, Lisa and her entourage of nurses hook up one of their patients to the "Electronic Symptom Analyzer": a machine consisting of several buttons and a slew of unlabeled blinking lights. Noting that the machine is functioning rather oddly, Lisa looks into the alcove behind the machine where all the electronics are found. No! The Monster! "Get the patients out of here!" Lisa shouts as the nurses scream like a bunch of sorority girls in a panty raid. I will hand it to Lisa, while the others are cowering against the walls, she is doing more than her share of helping patients out of their beds and slinging gurneys at the monster. (I’m not sure why the medical staff and patients don’t just leave the room instead of cringing against the walls.)

FireAn alarm is sounded and a security detail races to the sick bay. "Get back! Get back!" the soldiers shout. (Gee, you think?) Unfortunately, Rankin’s "no fire" order had not been issued in time and the guards open fire with their laser rifles. The beams cut into the monster’s bumpy hide spewing green goo over the floor.

In rushes Rankin shouting, "Hold your fire!" The soldiers back off as Rankin suggests that they could try and trap it in the sick bay. (Well, then leave and close the door! Sheesh!) After a few more ‘action’ scenes, including a hilarious shot of Rankin slinging his helmet right into the monster’s noggin, the monster is temporarily pinned against a wall with a bed and the men flee the room, locking the door behind them. (Hey! That was my idea!)

Out in the hallway, a video feed reveals that the monster is busy healing itself. (This "healing" process is realized by showing the monster rub a sparkler-adorned tentacle on its chest.)

"My God! It’s healing itself…" Halvorsen murmurs.

Elliot turns and asks, "You’re saying we can’t kill it?"

Well, no. That’s not what he said. But anyway.

Worse yet, the blood or slime or whatever it bleeds, is now forming into new little slimy monsters. (Through the magic of Playing Footage Backwards, the slime is seen gliding "up" the walls.) Elliot gets a brainstorm and orders all power in the infirmary to be shut off. (Duh.) Not to be out "maled", Rankin calls a staff meeting in the control room to hash out their next move.

Back on Earth, General Thompson receives a transmission stating that a "total quarantine" has been imposed.

"Total quarantine?" Thompson shouts. "Who does he think he is?" (Umm…the Commander? Does that count for anything anymore?)

Cut back to Gamma 3. Rankin makes his way to a make-shift infirmary where Lisa (and her flock of attendant hot nurses) are fussing over the monster’s latest batch of victims. Rankin informs Lisa that the wounded will not be evacuated to Earth do to the danger of getting even "one drop" of the creature back onto our planet. (Apparently, one drop would be enough to doom the entire Earth. I can’t say I would rate the Green Slime as dangerous as that…I mean, you can almost take one out by hitting it in the head with a motorcycle helmet. But hey, I’m no space commander.) As if to confirm the danger that everybody is facing, the lights begin to flicker. "Keep control," Rankin says to Lisa before rushing off to see what’s happening.

We next see a gaggle of green slimes dragging their rubber arms over some sort of electrical do-dad full of sparklers. I can only suppose that they are ‘juicing up’ or something. Or else they’re celebrating the Fourth of July.

In the control room, Elliot reports that he and Rankin have "doped out a plan." (Groovy!) I bet you’re curious, aren’t you? OK, here’s the plan. Evacuate all personnel from "C Block", then confine the monster "even further" into the storage room. How in the hell do they get the monsters into the storage room? I’m glad you asked. Elliot will cut all power in C Block, then "run a power-beam search car" to the storage room where a generator will be emplaced. Viola! The power-beam will lure the monsters into the storage room where they will be isolated.

One quick question.

Then what?

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Space carAs planned, the generator is placed inside the store room as armed men take positions behind banks of equipment in the corridor itself. (Why are they armed with laser rifles? Don’t they just make the monsters stronger if hit with laser beams?) Hard to see. "Tense" seconds pass as the approaching "blackout" looms. Eventually the lights are cut and the entire space station is plunged into darkness. (Lisa and the nurses are still busy trying to evacuate all of the wounded when the lights go out. They were given 10 minutes to do the job, which seems to be not a heck of a lot of time. Nice.)

Right on cue, the monsters start making their goofy "squeaky" noise as they appear at the far end of the darkened corridor. A blast of Ominous Music indicates that this is Not Good. Rankin orders the car’s driver to slowly back up as the monsters follow the bright lights mounted on top of the vehicle.

Just as things are going so well, suddenly, and I mean suddenly, we cut to the darkened infirmary. (Well, not really darkened at all actually. I thought this was a black out…?) Somehow, a group of green slimes have broken into the infirmary and are now raising hell. Why did they stop following the light and go into the darkened infirmary? Hey, you tell me.

In the corridor, Rankin orders the men to kill the lights and then tosses a flashlight into the face of the nearest monster. (Why kill the lights? What’s happening here? Where is the infirmary in relation to these guys? These questions and more will not be answered for your inconvenience.)

BayThankfully, Rankin appears in the infirmary and lures the monsters towards him with a flashlight, thus giving Lisa and her staff a chance to evacuate the last of the patients. I have to ask, why did they lure the monsters down a corridor which passes right in front of the still-occupied sick bay? Oh yeah. The script says so. Anyway, in an exciting Pushing Gurneys Down A Hallway scene, Lisa and the others manages to clear the sick bay and flee to B Block.

Somehow Rankin is back in the corridor, but surrounded by monsters. Elliot and his crew are now behind Rankin and lure the monsters away from Rankin. Really now, the mechanics of what is happening here, as far as "who is where", is really confusing. I think that the script required a certain sequence of scenes, so they people just "appeared" as needed in order to fulfill the action "sequence". Furthermore, these "action" shots consist solely of close up shots of the monsters so that we never get a chance to see just how few there really are. (Costumes cost money, you know…)

Well, ok, the monsters go towards Elliot’s light, leaving Rankin free to run a couple feet to his waiting car. So, now I’m totally confused by all this. The car was standing right next to him with a complete crew that didn’t do jack-squat to help him, like, say, turn on their lights? This scene is utterly confusing, and I’m too tired to give a damn. Now wait, suddenly Rankin is behind Elliot and his crew. (I give up.) Elliot and the others run from the monsters and join Rankin and the "light car", which starts backing down the hallway, once again luring the monsters into the storage room. (Hey, wasn’t that exactly where the plot was before the monsters rampaged in the infirmary? So what was gained by all this nonsense?) Yawn, Rankin turns on the lights in the storage room, monsters go into storage room where they make a bunch of sparks, as usual, and Rankin locks the door behind him.

Taking off his helmet after a job well done, Rankin orders C Block to be searched one final time. Alas, a booming noise from the sick bay reminds them that there is still a monster sealed inside. (Did they forget?!) Rankin calls for a "monitor car", which is as you might imagine, a car with a monitor screen where Rankin can see what’s going down in the sick bay. (Boy that is soooo much more logical than, say, a screen mounted in the wall outside the sickbay door…man, I should have been a space station designer.)

Sure enough, there’s the lonely occupant: A pissed off green slime monster.

"That door won’t hold it!" Elliot warns. (Seems to be doing the job so far…) Captain Martin suggests reinforcing the door with one of the cars.

"That won’t help," Ranking says. (Why this won’t help is never explained…because it sounds like a good idea to me.) By use of an "airlock panel" (?) Rankin suggests isolating the monster in C Block. (Umm..wasn’t that already the plan? Have I missed something here?)

"This section can’t handle it!" Elliot says. Just a minute. Your stupid plan was to contain the monsters in C Block in the first place! What the hell is going on here?

Rankin orders C Block evacuated in order to "make ready the air lock panel." OK, am I going crazy? Didn’t they already order C Block evacuated before they lured the monsters into the storage room? Headache alert. Headache alert.

MonsterOut of the blue, Halvorsen and Lisa come running down the hall. (Huh?! Didn’t she flee to B Block with her patients? Likewise, what the hell is Halvorsen doing there?) Halvorsen begs for a chance to retrieve his files from sick bay (or his office?) before they (presumably) open the airlock and flush the buggers into space. Rankin denies his request, but Halvorsen runs down the hall to his office to collect his things anyway.

Suddenly the monster busts down the sick bay door and makes his way towards the crew. As Rankin and the others make their way down the hall, the other monsters burst out of the storage room (Why? Wouldn’t they be satisfied sucking up juice from the lights in there? Why would they want to leave?) and the chase is on.

To add to the, er, excitement, Halvorsen pops out of his office, holding 5 or 6 manila folders in his arms (His life’s work?!) and almost gets run over by one of the cars. (Halvorsen drops his folders to the floor where you can see that half of them are empty!) The "speeding" car goes out of control, once again, hard to see what’s going on because of all the close-shots, presumably to hide how small the set really is. It’s really quite claustrophobic the way all this is filmed, I have no idea how long or wide the corridor is, nor where people are in relation to each other. It’s just a series of close-ups patched together with exposition from the actors so you "get" what is happening.

Empty folders

Doctor Halvorsen’s Life Work

Anyway, buggies crash, people yell, hard to see who. A latch is thrown and an airlock door slides into place, forcing Rankin to Leap-And-Roll to the other side Just As The Door Slides Shut. In fact, Rankin is soooo good that he can jump under the door with his helmet on and pop up on the other side without it! Man! Now that’s good!

The men quickly realize that Halvorsen is trapped on the other side with the monsters. This fact is confirmed by a video feed showing Halvorsen dodging the monsters and running for his life. (With some terribly dubbed "screams" that in no way match his mouth…maybe he’s a ventriloquist.) One genius suggests opening another door down the hall to allow Halvorsen to escape, but there is a car blocking the way. Rankin, Elliot and the others push and shove against the car, but it’s hopelessly jammed against something or other.

Elliot decides to open the original door to let Halvorsen out. Rankin (correctly) remarks that doing so would let the creatures in and, well, that’s not good. Since these guys are required to butt heads every few minutes, Elliot disobeys Rankin’s orders (boy, I would think there’s going to be not a few court martial proceedings after all this is over…) and walks over to raise the door. In a Dramatic Scene, Ranking points a laser rifle at Elliot and orders him to stop or else he’ll shoot. Just as the tension becomes unbearable (not), Lisa jumps in front of Elliot to stop Rankin from shooting. Ranking shoots and kills both Lisa and Elliot, and the station is saved.

No wait. I was dreaming.

Rankin holds his fire, Elliot opens the door, and in falls Halvorsen’s burned and bloody corpse. As Rankin correctly predicted, the monsters rush into the corridor while Rankin desperately fires into them with his laser rifle. (Doesn’t that make them stronger? Didn’t he issue an order explicitly forbidding firing on the monsters?) Once everybody is on the other side of the second air lock panel, the door is dropped into place, once again sealing the monsters off on the other side. (In other words, once again, we are back where we were 5 minutes ago.)

BoomFor some reason there is a closet full of explosive barrels just beside the door that the monsters set off with their sparkling arms. The resulting explosion destroys at least a third of the entire space station. (That must be one hell of an air lock door to protect Rankin and the others from the blast!) We are treated to an exterior shot of the ship when the explosion takes place, complete with smoke rising and debris falling ‘down’…in outer space. You have to wonder why they would keep such powerful explosives in what would appear to be a totally random place on the ship. Well, let’s continue.

Rankin and the others, now safe in B Block are regrouping and plotting their next move. Rankin asks a crew member if a scanner is still active in C Block. Despite the fact that the entire C Block is destroyed, the crewman says that yes, there is in fact a scanner working. (Now that’s one tough scanner!)

A quick camera scan reveals a bunch of dead monsters laying around.

"Look how they’re burned," Rankin says, " there must have been tremendous heat generated by the explosion."

Gee, you think?

Elliot notes that there are only 3 or 4 monster corpses…so where are the rest? Rankin calls for an external camera scan which reveals, via some totally crappy miniature work, a group of monsters on the outside of the ship where they are being healed by the sun. Rankin orders the solar generators to be shut down and Lisa to prepare her patients for evacuation. (Again!?)

Rankin contacts Earth and asks General Thompson for permission to evacuate the space station because he’s going to destroy it. Once again, just for the sake of being stubborn, Elliot argues against destroying the station. (Think now, Elliot, just what the hell else is there to do at this point? The ship is crippled and covered in self-reproducing, growing, space slime monsters, and half the crew appears to be injured or dying.)

For the gazillionth time, Elliot claims that he’s in command, and so on and so on. Rankin, finally fed up with Elliot’s subordination, orders the chief security officer, Captain Martin, to arrest Elliot and escort him to one of the evacuation ships. Elliot tries to punch Rankin, gets punched in the chops himself, and storms off the bridge in abject humiliation.

Thompson gives Rankin permission to proceed with the evacuation and destruction of Gamma 3. Captain Martin gives the order to open the "escape hatch". (I guess this is the one point of exit for the entire evacuation fleet.) Of course, the puppets, I mean the monsters, are crowded around the escape hatch, forcing Martin to quickly close it again.

Rankin takes a look via an external camera. Seeing that they are "going after the circuits on the solar generators" (?), Rankin orders 4 men to go out and "blast" ’em off the ship. Elliot, sitting in shame in some sort of room, overhears the order and sneaks off to don a space suit himself. (Gee, I wonder if he’s going to sacrifice himself in order to save the others.) As luck would have it, the only person to spot Elliot sneaking off is Lisa (man, she’s everywhere!), who Tries To Stop Him From Doing It. Elliot shouts, "Don’t tell me what to do! I’m tired of taking orders!" Which seems like an odd thing to say for somebody whose chosen the military for a career, but never mind. Elliot goes on to accuse Lisa of still loving Ranking and yadda yadda zzzzzzzz.

Oi yoi yoi! Man, these are some stupendously terrible effects. You can see the space suit shadows on ‘outer space’ behind them! I think the last time I saw something like that was in an Ed Wood flick! No kidding! Then the guys ‘float’ (on wires) past the monsters who angrily wiggle their tentacles at them. (Casting even more shadows on ‘outer space’.) This is really crappy, crappy stuff here.

The team lands on the ship and starts firing at the monsters. So, let me ask this: Why do they have to land at all? Why not hover 20, 30, 40 feet above the monsters and just shoot from there? Anyhoo, the battle continues, for what that’s worth.

LaunchWith the escape hatch supposedly clear of monsters, the first ship is launched. (Lisa, of course, is now in the control room watching over the launch of the ship!) And yes, those are suppose to be monsters on the outside of the ship in the picture to the left. Do you now realize what I go through for this web site?

As other ships are launched, Elliot and the others continue their struggle. For some reason, Elliot’s rifle goes "empty", so he simply throws it at the nearest monster and impales it through the eye!

With the entire crew evacuated except for the security detail (which for some reason includes Lisa…you would think she’d evacuated with her patients! I guess they can take care of themselves until they get back to Earth.) the final ship is made ready for launch.

Just as Rankin is leaving the ship, he is cut off from the control room by some green slime monsters. (And they came from….where?) Of course, who else but Lisa would be around to warn him to "Look out!" More bad news. The power output is too low to allow Earth to remotely guide the ship. Boy, it must be a Monday, eh? Rankin decides that he will be the one to fight his way back into the control room and set the guidance computer himself, after which he’ll put on a spacesuit and "drift up and meet you later." (!!!)

The final ship launches and picks up Elliot and his battle team via some more crappy miniature work. Lisa tells Elliot what Rankin is up to, and Elliot, in a fit of Manly Camaraderie, puts his space suit back on and floats back to the main ship to help him.

Meanwhile, Rankin has his hands full blasting monsters which seem to be absolutely everywhere. (Even though you never see more than 3 or 4 at a time, if you know what I mean.) Once again, for some reason, Rankin’s laser rifle stops working, and he too throws it and impales a monster through the eye! Incredible! Just as things are looking bad for Rankin, Elliot "Suddenly Appears" and blasts the last of the monsters, giving Rankin a chance to program the computer.

ThumbsWith the ship’s rockets engaged the ship begins its plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will presumably burn up along with all the monsters. (I wouldn’t think this would be 100% safe. One little speck of a monster could survive on a piece of wreckage. I would have simply shot the ship into interstellar space and been done with it. But that would have precluded the Heroic Finale for Rankin and Elliot.)

Elliot and Rankin make their escape. However, since Elliot has now completed his Selfless Sacrifice role in the film, he is cut down by a monster which appears out of nowhere. Rankin hauls Elliot’s lifeless body out of the ship and is successfully picked up by the last evacuation ship.

As expected, the Gamma 3 plunges into the Earth’s atmosphere, bursts into flames, and explodes. Yeah baby, it explodes real good.

Rankin calls Earth and reports the success of the mission. As a final gesture of respect, he gives all the credit to Elliot. As Lisa looks on with tears in her eyes, a somber Rankin gives one final salute to his dead friend…by giving the body a thumbs up! (What the…?!)

The ship descends to Earth, where I suppose Rankin and Lisa will get a bottle of Scotch and a hotel room.

As for me, I’m going to take an aspirin and go to bed.

Dennis Grisbeck (September 2005)

Afterthoughts

A goofy 60’s monster movie. What can I say? The special effects varied from close-to-decent to downright terrible. The plot was right out of the Space Monster Movie Plot-O-Matic, but acceptable. I mean, it is a space monster movie…not Gone With the Wind. It might be worth viewing if you’re a bit drunk at 2 a.m. on Saturday night and everybody else has left your party.

Read more about The Green Slime at

IMDB

9 comments to The Green Slime (1968)

  • David Fullam

    OH HELL YEAH! Sci Fi, great theme song, manly men, hawt women. Green Slime forever!

  • Nothing like the combination of hawt women and slime monsters! 🙂

  • Excelllent review!

    I love Italian space opera; it’s just generally sooooooo bad! This particular film written by Bill Finger and Ivan Reiner clearly looks to have been intended to be one of the “Gamma 1 Quadrilogy.” Components of this notorious film series often show up on Turner Classic Movies, for reasons I’ve never understood. “War of the Planets” and “Wild Wild Planets” have only recently been shown there. They involve the Gamma 1 space station, and many of the beautiful city models are from the quadrilogy (which iirc was produced by Ivan Reiner as well). Always, there’s the brave base commander, his hot girlfriend/doctor/science officer, lots of go-go dancing scenes, weird lighting, and some truly loud soundtrack music. The base is usually threatened by the alien menace, and the commander sets things right.

    As far as the production goes, one can just see Finger and Reiner being told by their Italian backers that four bad movies are enough for them, and the two of them taking it to the Japanese, selling them on a international production with American stars, just like “King Kong Escapes.”

    I might add that as bad as “Green Slime” is — it is far much better than the Italian productions. It’s less goofy, more hammy, and more entertaining (despite the squeak toy nature of the monsters).

  • One more thing — I think you’ve got the director and writer credits swapped at the top.

  • @Randy: Thanks for the comments, and good eye regarding the writer/director swap. By the way, “War of the Planets” is one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures…I love that movie!

  • guts3d

    …The power output is too low to allow Earth to remotely guide the ship. Boy, it must be a Monday, eh?

    Nice!!! Great review!

  • John Edgar

    Great entertainment! This is what I like to call GOOD cheese. Over the years, I’ve received some funny looks when people ask; “What are your favorite science fiction movies?”. My answer…..2001:A Space Odyssey and The Green Slime! By the way, both movies were released by MGM, during the same year.

  • guts3d

    …..2001:A Space Odyssey and The Green Slime! By the way, both movies were released by MGM, during the same year.

    Yikes! Too bad they didn’t collaborate. Then again…

  • GoblinXXX

    Bill Finger is also the OTHER creator of Batman: Bob Kane wrote the first Batman story, but Finger drew him and designed his costume.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>