The Slime People (1963)

The Slime PeopleThe Slime People

Directed by Robert Hutton

Tagline: “Up from the bowels of the Earth!”

Running time: 76 min

Other titles: “Tomorrow You Die”


As the tag line states: “Up from the bowels of the Earth!”…Indeed.

This lovely little slime-ball of a film was directed by actor Robert Hutton (who coincidentally stars in it, who would have thought…). Hutton had a long and successful actor career behind him, so whatever possessed him to try and direct a film (let alone this one!) is beyond me.

With some 40 roles behind him before he began this film, Hutton probably thought he knew enough about acting that he could also successfully direct a movie. He’d also played in a handfull of other horror movies before this one (Colossus of New York (1958) and Invisible Invaders (1959) for example), so maybe he thought that directing a monster movie would be just as easy as acting in one. Well, there is no point in speculating about his motives. The end result is clear: a deliciously awful film.

Take the premise: Nuclear testing drives up a race of underground creatures. Said creatures proceed to take over Los Angeles by defeating the entire US Army (using only their spears!) and chasing out all the civilians. The slimers then erect a dome of “goo” around the whole city and begin lowering the temperature so that they can eventually live above ground in more suitable environs.

Of course, our hero and a tiny Band of Survivors ® manage to do what the entire US Army could not: destroy the slime people. (In retrospect, I don’t really know why they are called ‘Slime People’: They aren’t people and they aren’t slimy either)

I just want to apologize in advance for the quality of the screen shots…I know they suck.

Prepare yourself for a journey into the “bowels of the Earth” with this one…

We open with a picture of some sort of large bronze medal that says “Medallion TV Presents”, which then takes us into the movie itself (I have a bad feeling already). We then see some sort of bunker door opening and a slime person coming out of the fog (there is a LOT of fog in this movie). So, we get to see a slime person after approximately 10 seconds of film…well, I guess I won’t lose any sleep wondering what they look like.

The Slime PeopleThe Slime People

Several scenes of slimers coming out of manholes, walking around the forest, etc, is meant to give us the impression that there must be a large number of them. However, since the most slimers we ever see at one time is 3 (certainly due to budget limitations), it’s difficult to imagine that they are vast hoards of them stalking L.A.

A man’s corpse lying on the beach with a spear stuck in his back implies that these slime people are certainly not nice. Yes, a spear. That is a slimer’s only weapon…and they defeated the entire US Army with them. More on that later.

Anyway, to the blares of horns and “scary” music, the credits are shown over a foggy background. (Strangely, the music plays weird little jazzy riffs every now and then.)

Ah yes, the movie is beginning…only 74 minutes to go.

We see our hero, Tom Gregory (Robert Hutton), piloting a single-engine plane through what appears to be some pretty rough weather. We know it’s rough because stage hands are rocking the ‘plane’ back and forth while he sits in the cockpit. Gregory radios the control tower requesting “LA visibility readings…”, while we see stock footage of a plane flying over the sea and towards LA (in quite clear skies I might add).

LA does not respond. Fortunately Santa Barbara airport comes in over the radio and warns Tom not to attempt a landing at L.A. Airport. Furthermore, the tower tells him to get out of L.A. “immediately” and head North (although they don’t tell him why).

Despite these warnings, Gregory lands at LA Airport (pretty funny to see how small LAX was back then…compare the shots of the airport to LAX today…) and taxis off the runway to the fuel pump. Getting out of the plane, our puzzled hero notices that the entire airport is deserted, which he thinks is rather odd (even for 1963…). He accidentally puts his hand in some “goo” on the airplanes wing and hastily wipes it off on a handkerchief. I assume the “goo” is supposed to remind us how “slimy” the slime people are, or, well, I don’t know. Of course we find out later that he has flown through a “slime dome” that covers the entire city, but this isn’t mentioned until about 10 minutes later.

The Slime PeopleBoredom ensues as he walks from building to building at the airport, occasionally calling out the standard “Hello…” and “Anybody there?” Sometimes something exciting happens like him trying to open a locked door. Yep, this is an exciting sequence of scenes…Oh wait! He’s calling somebody from a phone booth…and…and…no answer!!! Wow! The horror!

Having established the fact that, well, that the airport is empty, he walks back to the plane. I don’t mean we cut to a scene with him back at the plane, oh no…we see him walk all the way back to it…every exciting step.

Tom tries to radio the tower from his plane…without success. The, er, excitement, is broken when a car drives up and starts honking the horn. Inside the car are Professor Galbraith Galvin and his two (cute) daughters, Lisa and Bonnie. Gee, I wonder if the Professor’s character is going to be used in the film to explain away plot holes with scientific gobbledy-goop…Oh yeah, who wants to bet on whether or not Tom hooks up with one of the daughters…

The Slime PeopleThe Slime PeopleThe Slime People

The Professor tells Tom to get in the car, to which he understandably balks, saying he has to “…check my plane in…” Well, they’ll be no checking in of planes today! Tom eventually decides to go with them back to the laboratory and use a phone there.

On the way to the lab, he finally gets to the bottom of things. Bonnie quickly fills him in (and us) by dumping a slimy-wad of exposition into our laps: “First the slime people came…then the whole army came to fight them…and they lost.” Well, isn’t that sweet.

Wait a minute. Something is bothering me here:

In the opening shots we see that the only weapon slimers use is a spear…So they beat the entire United States Army using spears? Oh brother! I can see why they chose to have Bonnie just tell us everything instead of daring to show scenes from that battle.

Another thing, we find out later that Tom is a reporter for a L.A. newspaper, yet he’s unaware of the fact that:

1) Subterranean monsters have come up and overrun Los Angeles (his home town!)

2) The monsters defeated the entire US Army

3) They have entombed the entire city of Los Angeles in a slime dome!

What the hell kind of a reporter is this guy? Even if he wasn’t a news hound, you would think that even the most illiterate savage in the deepest regions of the rain forest would have heard about all this!

As Bonnie continues, Tom shakes his head in disbelief (probably because he can’t believe he actually chose to star in this movie). She tells him that she, Lisa, and the Professor were up in the cabin when it all happened and they didn’t get out of L.A. “…before the wall hardened.” Hmmm, you would think that would have been a priority, you know, joining the evacuation of 5 million people from an invasion of slime creatures, but oh well… Bonnie is confident they well get out because, well, her father is a “…science professor.” (Note the maniacal look on her face when she says it…)

The Slime People

“He’s a science professor!”

Professor Galbraith mysterious adds, “…well…that’s about the way it happened.” Hmmm, what else happened then? Never mind, he drops the whole subject and begins questioning Tom on how he got through the slime wall (just typing that makes me a little nauseous). Tom still refuses to believe that any of this is true. (by the way, wouldn’t they have seen any sort of signs of the massive war that lead to the defeat of the US Army? Wouldn’t that give some weight to his argument?)

Galbraith continues with his attempts to convince Tom of the reality of what’s happened by saying, “Now, we all know there are fish in the sea…” (?). This air-tight argument is interrupted when he points out some (stock-footage) destroyed houses to Tom. We see some stock-footage of some bombed out houses, ummm, wouldn’t they have seen all this before now? I mean, the devastation looks pretty extensive in the shot.

Tom admits that, yes, something has happened (gee, you think so?). Our gang of heroes comes upon a car which has crashed into the ditch on the side of the road. A dead body is hanging out of the door impaled by a spear in its back. (This is one of the very few scenes where they actually show a dead body. What happened to all the rest? Shouldn’t there be thousands and thousands of dead slime people and soldiers lying around?) Tom and the Professor walk over and examine the wreckage for about 5 seconds and return to their car, but not before the Professor pulls the spear out of the body and takes it with him. (Yuch!)

Back in the car Tom says, “Seeing those dead men back there, I’m ready to believe…” Wow! Seeing a dead body in L.A.! I bet that never happens! Ok, so now we are done with that part of the plot (convincing Tom about the slime people. I wonder if it was as easy to convince the producers of this movie…)

Tom suggests that they all head down to the TV station where he works and see if there’s any “film” about this. When he says this Lisa blurts out “Oh! You’re THAT Tom Gregory!” Bingo! Now we know which daughter he will hook up with before the film is over. Never mind that she is half his age. (Yes…they do end up kissing and yes…it’s revolting.)

I just have to say this: throughout this whole film, these two girls sure seem to take things lightly. They are trapped in a slime dome that covers the entire L.A. metropolis area, overrun by slime monsters, and have no way out. Yet they don’t seem to be in the slightest bit concerned. It really takes away from any sense of urgency and concern the viewer may have (and I don’t think there are very many viewers that would have it in the first place).

Trudging onward…

They finally arrive at the TV station where Tom escorts them to a studio. Professor Galbraith and his daughters take a seat in some sort of mini-movie theater while Tom looks through a set of news reels. Yup! He found it, and it’s even titled “The Slime People”. (Give me a break!)

On the film (which conveniently exposits more information to fill in the gaping plot holes) we see a news caster sitting at a desk reading news flashes and bulletins into the camera. He reports that 12 “persons” have been found murdered “on and near” the beaches. We are treated to an on-the-spot interview with a hysterical witness (note: The actress who plays the witness, Mrs. Steel, is actually one of the co-writers of the film, Blair Roberts. Did you know that? Did you care? By the way, she really, really hams it up in this scene. Probably best she stuck with writing.)

The news footage cuts back to the newsroom where we are informed that the armed forces are engaged in “hand-to-hand combat” with the monsters. What? Why the hell would they fight them hand-to-hand? Didn’t they have, um, rockets, tanks, rifles, hell, we had the atom bomb for God’s sake!

I guess because we would have kicked their slimy butts and we wouldn’t have to watch this movie.

Speaking of movies, let’s get this one over with. The newscaster is now interviewing Dr. Bro (!). He describes the creatures as, well, completely opposite to how they look in the film (see Classic Lines). Cutting back to the “on the spot reporter” (who we can barely discern through all the fog!), he tells us that the fighting has been heavy for the last two days. He tells us that the army is trying to clear away the fog because then the “battle would be over.” Ok, if you say so. With a sudden blast of ‘scary’ music, the reporter shouts “It’s hardened! The fog has hardened!” We see (sort of) somebody “frozen” in the now hardened fog (even though you can see that the person is just trying to stand still in the smoke, which he can’t do very well because you can see his hands moving). Ok, so this must be how the wall came into being. Scary. No, the movie is not scary. It’s scary that I’m actually watching this.

A colonel comes into view (sort of) and tells everybody that there are “holes in the fog wall” to the South and East, so everybody should evacuate the city as soon as possible. Wow. Two days to defeat the US Army. Pretty impressive for a bunch of prehistoric slime people!

We shift scenes back to the little theater at the TV station where Tom and the others have been watching this. It’s kind of funny when you realize that they have been watching a film about all this, which means that somebody had to gather the reportage, develop the film, splice the segments together, and then deliver it to the newsroom. Not too bad considering the battle for survival that was taking place. Talk about devotion to one’s work!

The peaceful moment is shattered as some sort of drunk jumps up in front of the screen and throws something at Tom (accompanied by the mandatory “Scream-o-Fear” from one of the girls). Turns out there are two “looters” in the theater. How the hell they got there without being seen, ahhh…let’s just keep going.

The professor points out that it will soon be the “dew point” (?) and the slime people will be coming out. How does he know that? Is he some sort of human humidity gauge? Tom suggests that they go to studio 1 because it has “double doors”. Good idea, Tom. This of course requires them to leave the building and run outside. They are stopped short by some sort of doors in the ground opening up (the exact same scene as in the beginning of the movie, mind you). Fog spews out (of course), along with a spear-wielding slime person.

Playing it safe, they run the extra 10 feet to the studio doors and go inside where a figure steps out of the shadows. It’s a slime person who quickly stabs them to death and the movie ends. I wish. It’s none other than US Marine Calvin Johnson (this guy must be Conan O’Brien’s long lost twin brother!) This marine, with a pretty un-military looking hair cut, has been cut off from his unit and has been hiding from the slime people for the last couple of days.

Here comes a scary scene. Well, relatively speaking of course. Tom and Calvin try to close the door to the studio when suddenly a slime person pushes his way into the opening. For some reason, the scene immediately fills with smoke and fog, when just a second ago it was perfectly clear, so it’s hard to see what’s happening. Professor Galbraith picks up a fire extinguisher and begins squirting wimpy little puffs of extinguisher powder in the slime person’s face. This of course is intolerable and the slimer backs out of the door again. (Hey! Maybe the Army should try using fire-extinguishers next time!)

The Slime People

You better cut that hair, marine!

Tom and the others manage to close the door (but they don’t lock it!) at which time all the fog in the scene immediately clears. Hmmmm. It turns out that studio 1 is a broadcast studio complete with a television camera, and a sound stage filled with comfortable sofas and chairs. The professor and his daughters retire to the chairs while Tom turns on the intercom and tries to warn the looters in the theater that the slime people are out and about.

The Slime PeopleThe drunks refuse to heed his warnings and continue to drink. How they managed to stay alive this long is anybody’s guess. Fog fills the room, so we can assume that the slime people will be appearing,…ah yes, there is one, I can barely make him out through the smoke, but I’m pretty sure it’s a slime person. Not surprisingly, the drunks are dispatched by the slimer’s spear while Tom and the others listen to his screams over the intercom speakers. Hilariously, in the background you can see Lisa doing her nails on the sofa while the drunk is screaming! That’s one cold-hearted lady!

Tom gets the great idea to turn on the television camera and try to broadcast a plea for help. Ever helpful, the professor says that he doubts the signal can “…get through that dome. But there’s no harm trying.” Gee! Why don’t you come up with a useful idea then, Professor!

To nobody’s great surprise, no signal appears to be getting through the dome. Tom suggests that there is a slight chance the “audio” could still get through (whatever). Calvin, eager to emphasize that this is no joke (ummm, a slime dome over the city of L.A. should convince most everybody that this is for real, you would think…), grabs the microphone from Tom and makes an emotional appeal for help.

This tear-jerking plea is interrupted when the lights begin to flicker and dim, complete with a Scream-o-Fear from Bonnie (sigh). Tom runs off scene in order to ‘Fix The Problem’, as all heroes do. Yes! The lights have stopped flickering and Tom confidently states that the power should now last them through the night. Wow! He’s a pretty good electrician for a sports reporter!

The professor thinks that Calvin might have some useful information and asks him if he’s ever seen the wall (see Classic Dialog…I couldn’t resist). Calvin supplies little useful information, but then again, a slime wall, what more can a person say about that? Professor Galbraith suggests that they get some sleep because the next day they are going to gather “every chemical they possibly can,” go out to the wall, and try to penetrate it with the pilfered chemicals.

Calvin bravely volunteers to take the first guard shift. Well, what do you know…Here comes Bonnie to join him because she can’t sleep. Bonnie, after knowing Calvin for about 20 minutes says that she wants to stay with him. Well, to make a long story short, and to spare you some excruciatingly clumsy dialog, they end up kissing (see Classic Lines for a good sample of what I had to put up with in this scene).

Gee, I wonder if that means her sister Lisa is going to end up with Tom. Oops! I hope I didn’t give anything away.

The mandatory kissing scene out of the way, Calvin wisely realizes that he has a job to do, i.e., protecting the rest of the survivors from slime people, not kissing on Bonnie. Talk about military discipline! He tells Bonnie to go back to the others while he finishes his guard shift.

Fade to black.

We see now that its daylight and Tom is returning back to the studio after looking around a little bit. He wakes up the Professor and the others so they can start, well, gathering as many chemicals as possible I guess.

The professor asks if it’s any cooler today. Tom replies that it is, and then they both realize that the slime people are trying to bring the temperature down to “…a constant dew point…”, so the slime people can then “…circulate on the surface both day and night.” Oh no! Not that! Furthermore, the Professor tells them they have to break through the wall and get out within a couple of hours. Why the sudden time crunch? Eh, who knows…

Professor Galbraith suggests that they drive up to his cabin laboratory and get some chemicals from there. Pulling out a list of items they need to take with them, Lisa wonders how they are going to get it all into their car. Never fear! Tom says that he has his car in the garage there at the studio (how convenient), so they can take both cars in order to haul all the chemicals and supplies to the slime wall when they try and break through.

Calvin is told to drive to the nearest “surplus” store and get a bunch of supplies. Bonnie asks permission to accompany him and Galbraith complies. I don’t know why he would let his daughter go on such a dangerous errand when her presence serves absolutely no purpose what so ever…

Tom, Professor Galbraith, and Lisa all head out to Tom’s car (with Tom saying a condescending “C’mon Honey!” to Lisa on the way out). With some typical driving-up-to-the-cabin-on-dirt-roads scenes, the brave trio finally reach the Galbraith’s mountain cabin.

At the cabin, the Professor exposits some scientific goobledy-goop in an effort to explain how the slime dome was made (see Classic Lines if you dare). Meanwhile, Lisa is busying herself, as every good 1960’s woman should, by putting away the dishes, packing food, and making coffee while the men talk.

Galbraith heads off to the lab and, incredibly, Tom goes over to Lisa, lifts her down off a stool she was standing on and kisses her (Yech!). Boy! Those 1960’s guys sure move quick! This nauseating, excuse me, romantic scene is interrupted when the professor walks back into the kitchen. He comments how important it is to find a way to penetrate the slime wall, because “…if this ever happens again…the world will have a solution right at its fingertips.” Umm, if what happens again? Subterranean slime people come up, defeat the US Army, and enshroud L.A. in a slime dome? Yeah, ok, I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen again…

We cut to the next scene where Calvin and Bonnie have met up with Tom and the others on a dirt road somewhere. How the hell they did that, who knows. Amazingly enough, they just happen to meet right outside the house of an eccentric writer, Norman Tolliver (played by Les Tremayne!), who rushes out to greet them, while carrying a goat (!!). Yes. I said a goat.

The Slime PeopleYou see, Tolliver’s character provides what is supposed to be some funny moments. Don’t worry. It’s not funny, so you didn’t miss anything.

Tolliver refuses to believe in the slime people, he insists it’s just mass hysteria and a bunch of nonsense. Once again, I have to wonder how the mother-of-all-battles between the Army and the slime people could have gone unnoticed by anybody. Tolliver decides to go with them to “gather some material” for his new book about the insanity of the people who evacuated the city. So he clambers into the car, without the goat, and they drive off.

Scary music plays while the cars pull up to a ‘fog bank’ in some wooded area. Galbraith points out that “…somewhere in there…is the wall”. If he means that there is a wall that surrounds L.A. in the pathetic wisps of smoke from the smoke machines, then I’m not terribly convinced. Calvin stays behind with the girls while Professor Galbraith and Tom head off into the fog with their “chemicals”. In order not to get lost in this oh-so-thick-fog, they drag along a rope that they can follow back to the cars.

The plan is for Calvin to fire a shot into the air when Bonnie’s thermometer reaches the “dew point”, that way the professor and Tom can get back to the car before the slime people come out (maybe she could warn them before the dew point?). With the rope tied around his waist, the professor and Tom head off into the fog bank to find the wall.

After walking a way, Tom thinks he sees something moving in the trees. Galbraith doesn’t see anything so they move on. Bad idea. Up pops a slime person and which starts to follow them.

The duo keep walking for a way and then stop to take some more readings, however the scene is shot at the same tree that they were just standing at!

The Slime PeopleThe Slime People

No, this is not the same scene twice. The first picture is from when Tom thinks he sees something. The second picture is from after they have moved on and had been walking for awhile longer. Busted! Exact same tree!

It’s finding errors like this that make watching these movies all worthwhile. Ahhh…now I have more energy to continue with this film.

While the two are walking around in the fog, a slime person steps on the rope that leads back to Calvin and the girls. Calvin feels the rope jerk and assumes that the Tom and the Professor are in trouble. Tolliver, sitting on an old tractor (!) laughs and makes some wisecracks, while Bonnie and Lisa run off into the fog! Calvin, showing great judgment, throws down the rope and chases after the girls into the fog. Oh no. I just realized that this means there will be more roaming-in-the-fog scenes. God help me.

Tom and Galbraith finally, and I mean finally, reach the wall. In case your wondering what the wall looks like, I can’t tell you because the smoke machines are turned up so high. From what I can make out, it looks like, well, a wall. Not too slimy though. Anyhoo…the two brave men begin applying various chemicals onto the wall to see if they have any effect. Just to give you an idea of how much smoke there is in these scenes, feast your hungry eyes on this:

The Slime People

Yessirree, really makes for some exciting movie watching, eh?

Meanwhile, thinking that Tom and the Professor are in trouble, Calvin and the girls have followed the rope to where Tom is standing. They decide to head back because nothing they’ve tried has affected the wall. Wow, that was an exciting sequence of scenes.

Bonnie asks her father where the wall is. (?) Umm, it’s that giant dome of slime covering LA two feet to your left, honey…. She heads off into the fog and screams. I think she screams because a slime person is coming towards them. I’m not sure because I can’t make it out through the smoke. Whatever. They run back to the car. Let’s get this movie over with.

It’s actually pretty humorous sometimes when the exciting “action” music plays: horns blaring, drums pounding, and you can’t see a thing through the smoke. Maybe I need a break if I find that entertaining.

After making it back to safety (…after some truly boring “action” scenes of being chased by lumbering slime people through thick smoke…), the group drives back to town. On the way, Tolliver wants to be dropped off somewhere so he can start his book about the idiotic believers. Glad to be rid of him, they pull over to the first house they drive past, and Tolliver jumps out of the car and runs up to the house. Tolliver tries to break into the house to “…see if they have a typewriter…” when he stumbles upon a spear-skewered body laying next to the front door (don’t worry, you can’t really see too much in the fog).

Suddenly, Lisa lets loose a “Scream-o-Fear” as some slime people waddle up to the cars. Tolliver dives back into one of the waiting cars and they all drive off (leaving one car behind for some reason). Well, finally having seen a slime person, Tolliver has to admit that he was wrong all along.

Driving back to town they come upon a large group of survivors blocking the road. The mob attacks the car and forces them to turn around and head back. I’m not too sure why they attack them, but then again, does it make any difference? No. Maybe it was trying to show how easily civilized behavior is cast aside when people are thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Nahh…probably just chewing up running time.

Driving back to town using a different route, Calvin realizes that they are, *sigh*, out of gas. They pull up to an abandoned butcher shop and try to hide inside. It’s pretty funny to see how low food prices were back in 1963. Actually, it’s kind of annoying because the walls of the butcher store are covered in distracting posters showing meat prices, which the viewer can’t help but read.

The fog-enshrouded front door is locked, so they head back to the completely fog-free back door which is wide open. This is very lucky for them for the slime people immediately attack by breaking through the glass sky-light in the roof of the butcher’s shop. (!) Much easier then, say, going in the wide-open back door.

Everybody takes refuge in the meat locker while Tolliver collapses to the floor as the slime people close in for the kill. Screaming, “Die you monster! You’re not real!”, Tolliver shoots a slime person with no apparent effect. Scratch one stupid character. No more Tolliver.

Both Bonnie and Lisa begin to overact, oops, I mean cry out for Tom to save Tolliver. Being the hero, and a 1960’s male, Tom takes charge and calms the hysterical sisters by saying “He had the same chance for safety as we all had…..Fear killed Tolliver!” Hmmm, I was pretty sure it was a pair of prehistoric slime people that killed him, but with all the fog in the scene, I could be wrong.

The two girls apologize for their outbursts, and walk off scene to calm down, but not before Calvin says “Remember…keep cool!”. (Oh brother!)

Now Professor Galbraith and Tom begin to discuss Tom’s travel through the dome when he first flew into LA. While they are talking Calvin climbs a ladder and peeks out a row of windows. (How many meat lockers do you remember that have ladders and long rows of windows in them?)

With an incredible display of deductive logic (Go Professor! Go!), he figures that the slime wall can be broken by using ‘sodium chloride’! (Oh! So scientific!). Don’t ask me to explain how he figured it out, just see the movie if you really want to know. (Ok, Tom tells him his plane dove down as he passed through the dome. Thus there was a gap between the water and the bottom of the dome. QED: salt from the ocean’s salt spray burned a hole through the dome. Elementary, my dear Watson. Of course, any kid that has ever poured salt on a slug probably would have thought of this a long time ago.)

They decide to give it a try, but they need more salt, and a vehicle to fill with salt and use to get out of the dome. Calvin takes it upon himself to find a car that they can use, but doesn’t want anybody else to know what he’s going to do. Huh? Why not? You would think that it would be common courtesy to tell the others you are going to take off, especially when you have the only rifle! Well, Bonnie finds out he’s going on this Dangerous Mission, and wants to tag along.

Using no common sense what-so-ever, Calvin and Bonnie go out the meat locker’s back door (!) and into an alley. They begin to walk slowly down the alley and walk in front of a big garbage dumpster. Now really, do I have to tell anybody what is going to happen next? In case your brain is completely atrophied by this point, I will tell you that a slime person pulls Bonnie into the dumpster and Calvin continues to walk down the alley, oblivious to the fact (Way to go, Marine!).

As a matter of fact, Calvin doesn’t even notice that she’s gone until he has found a truck and climbed up into the driver’s seat.

Back in the meat locker (a surprisingly warm meat locker), the others have just noticed that Bonnie and Calvin have left. (how big is this meat locker anyway? Could they really not notice that they had snuck out?)

Tom, being The Hero, takes a rifle (where did this second rifle come from?!!) and heads out into the fog to find the young pair. His efforts prove futile, as the only thing he finds is the useless Calvin also wandering around in the fog. The two men are quickly chased back into the meat locker by a couple of slime people where they have to inform the others that Bonnie is missing.

Tom assumes that the slime people have kidnapped Bonnie in order to lure them out. Wait a minute:

1) Why the hell would they bother to do that? They have killed everybody without hesitation up to now!

2) What do the slime people care if a sports caster, an AWOL Marine, a 70 year old professor, and a bimbo are trapped in a meat locker? Do these 4 stragglers really pose such a huge threat to their plans to take over the world?

Well, obviously, we can now look forward to burning more running time as they search for Bonnie. Great. I needed that.

Calvin, suddenly grows a pair of balls, and decides to go out after her alone. Tom tries to stop him from acting so hastily. (Tom, couldn’t you please just let him go out and get killed so I don’t have to watch his horrible acting anymore?)

The Slime PeopleBefore Tom can stop him, Calvin does manage to open the back door and nearly lets a slime person into the meat locker (moron). They manage to close the door on the monster’s claw, or something. This gives Professor Galbraith a chance to study the wound (groan). He deduces again that the monsters are “…self-sealing..” and that’s why the bullets had no effect: the wounds just sealed up again. This also explains why they use these spears: Since the spears are hollow, the wound won’t close up. (Don’t think about all this too much, because it makes no sense whatsoever if you do. Just go with the flow.)

Tom suggests that “…they probably have a headquarters nearby..”, and assumes that’s where they have taken Bonnie. (This movie is really getting stupid now. There. I said it. I feel better.)

Tom and Calvin grab their guns and a slime person’s spear which they just happened to have taken along with them, and head out into the fog to find Bonnie.

The Slime People

The brave pair find a car and drive off, but not before a slime person punctures one of the tires. They still manage to drive up into the mountains on the rim before pulling over and jumping out of the moving car. (You are treated to some really fake scenes of them driving, the kind where you can see out the back window and notice that the car isn’t moving at all…) This ingenious plan was meant to mislead the slime people into thinking that they are still in the car. Genius! Try not to see Tom drop their guns at the top of the hill, and when Tom stands up at the bottom of the hill, his gun is right beside him.

Which also makes me wonder: They know the guns are useless against slime people, so why the hell did they bring them?

They now start to search for Bonnie. Tom suggest that they look for any signs of her…”Foot prints, slime, anything!” (!!)

Cut to a scene showing a slime person dragging the still struggling and screaming Bonnie through the woods. It does make a person wonder why they would take her up into the woods when they live underground…

The Slime People

Slime person carrying Bonnie in the fog. Exciting shot, eh?

Cut back to Tom and Calvin walking through the fog looking for clues. In a most unbelievable moment (and that says a lot!) , Tom leans over and plucks up a lock of blond hair from a field of knee high grass while surrounded by dense smoke and fog. I have to through the BS flag on this one! Penalty! No way!

Wow, I really want to get this over with now. More shots of Tom and Calvin walking through the woods looking for Bonnie. More shots of Bonnie screaming and struggling with a slime person. Ok, we’re really burning up the run time here.

To make a long story short, Calvin, or maybe it was Tom (hard to see who it was in the fog) manages to spear and kill the slime person carrying Bonnie. The two men and the shaken Bonnie (probably with a pretty sore throat by now from screaming for the last 20 minutes) all head back to the butcher’s shop on foot.

On the way back, with another amazing coincidence, they come across the machine that is creating the wall of slime around LA. (Tom, of course, figures out the purpose of the machine after seeing it for maybe 3 seconds.) In fact, it looks like a smoke generator, which is what it is. It’s hard to believe that this one little machine is maintaining a slime dome around the entire city of LA, but hey, who am I to say what is and what isn’t possible for slime people to accomplish.

A tearful reunion is held when Bonnie is reunited with her family in the meat locker. She recalls her horrible ordeal to her father and sister, even mentioning that they had “…set her in a cave.” Hmm, I don’t remember seeing that, but let’s just pretend it happened and move on.

Conferring with the good Professor, they decide to attack the machine with the salt. Their hopes are quickly dampened when they realize they have only two buckets of it. Doesn’t quite sound like enough to liberate Los Angeles, does it now. Since the slime creatures “…already have our temperature under control…” they will just have to try and break out with the salt they have, and as Calvin so astutely points out, as long as they remain in the meat locker they are “…setting ducks.” (Did you mean “sitting ducks”, Calvin?)

The Slime PeopleThey now get their “salt solution” (hey, that’s what the Professor calls it!) and head out to the wall in order to try to make a hole and get out. Or something.

The next shot is really bizarre. We see the 5 of them walking through the fog, but look what each person is carrying: The two girls are carrying heavy buckets of salt solution, Tom and Calvin are carrying rifles which have no effect on slime people, and the 70 year old Professor is struggling to keep up while lugging a spear with him. Even more bizarre is the fact that Lisa has taken along her purse in addition to her bucket of salt.

Oh Lord! That was a gripping scene watching them walk through the fog. To add insult to injury, they show us the exact same scene but from a different angle in order to make us think they are walking a long way. You can even see Lisa trip in the same spot in both scenes. Sheesh!

They finally, oh my Lord, and I mean finally, reach the slime wall and start applying the salt solution to it. Here is a screen capture of their desperate attempts to burn a hole in the wall:

The Slime People

Burning a hole through the slime dome. I guess.

Once again, fate rears its ugly head. The salt is not working fast enough. Tom wants to go after the machine and destroy it. He thinks that the machine will be unguarded because the slime people will still be looking for them. Let me get this straight: The slime people are going to leave the machine that sustains their lives, in order to find 5 stragglers running in the woods? I can’t believe I’m watching this, yet here I sit.

Calving and Tom head off to destroy the machine, leaving the two girls in the care of their 70 year old father. Smart plan. Before they leave, Tom tells them to fire if they run into trouble, yet when they leave to destroy the machine, Tom and Calvin take both rifles with them! Gee, thanks for nothing honey!

Tom heads towards the machine while Calvin stands guard at the top of a little hill. For some reason, Lisa, Bonnie and their father suddenly show up at Calvin’s side. Weren’t they told to stay put? Does anything make sense here?

As you would probably expect, Calvin is attacked by a slime person while Tom is making his way down to the slime machine. After some pretty uninspired hand-to-hand fighting, Calvin manages to kick the slime person down an embankment, where it dies. I guess rolling down a hill is enough to kill these powerful creatures.

After this (yawn, excuse me) exciting episode, Calving, the Professor and the girls decide to go help Tom instead of waiting where they are. As they reach the machine, they see that Tom is in a fight for his life with not 1, but 3 slime people! Lisa lets off a Scream-o-Fear while Calvin runs down to lend a hand.

Wouldn’t you know it? A slimer has snuck up behind Lisa and grabbed her by the throat. (Can we just get on with this and destroy the machine already?!) Thankfully (that this is almost over), Professor Galbraith throws one of the slime people’s spears into the slime producing machine, which of course explodes in a shower of sparks and smoke.

Sounds of wind gusting informs the alert viewer (you are awake, aren’t you?) that by destroying the machine, the slime dome has been ruptured. A good thing too, since Tom and Calvin are really getting their butts kicked by the slime people. The fog lifts and the slime people begin to drop like flies from the clean air.

The Slime PeopleHaving saved the world (at least LA), Tom and Calvin run back and give hugs to their respective sweet-hearts. Stock footage of some jet planes, tanks, and some soldiers walking across a field ensure us that we are safe from the slime people. An army Colonel drives up in a jeep and asks Professor Galbraith to give a full report to “..the General.” (Oh. That general!)

We end the movie with Calvin and Bonnie in the front of a jeep with Tom and Lisa in the back. “C’mon! Let’s get out of here!” shouts Calvin as they drive off. Uggh.

Dennis Grisbeck (Jan 2005)

Afterthoughts

I hate to say it, but this film could have been much better. The slime people looked halfway decent (when you could see them through the fog). It’s too bad there were at most only 3 of them in any given shot. As I said before, it was hard to imagine that anybody was being “overrun” by them.

Another irritating thing about this film was the overuse of the smoke machines. Was the machine operator getting paid by the cubic yard of smoke he could produce? There are entire sequences of scenes where you literally couldn’t make anything out at all.

The nauseating 1960s male chauvinism is pretty funny to watch, I must admit. Tom is quite the “real man” in the film. Furthermore, the way that the two relationships (Tom and Lisa, Calvin and Bonnie) came together was so perfunctory and unconvincing, it makes me squirm with discomfort just thinking about it.

All in all, I think the tag line sums it up best: “…Up from the bowels of the Earth”

Now, please send this movie back there.

Read more about The Slime People at

IMDB

3 comments to The Slime People (1963)

  • Guts3d

    …Professor Galbraith picks up a fire extinguisher and begins squirting wimpy little puffs of extinguisher powder in the slime person’s face. This of course is intolerable and the slimer backs out of the door again. (Hey! Maybe the Army should try using fire-extinguishers next time!)

    Perfect! Nice review, Dennis! I remember seeing this a looong time ago and wondering why the rest of the world didn’t seem to care that LA was domed. By sub-terrainian monsters.

  • vwyler

    Maybe spear-toting Slime Men could defeat the military. Especially if the marines were all as dumb as Cal. I’ve often wondered why no one has noticed how closely this film follows Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”, or rather George Remero’s take on Legend, the zombie epic, “Night of the Living Dead”. NOTLD, a later film, takes a lot from Slime People… the trapped band of survivors, the helpless females, the dead-pan newscasters and military types, the thwarted escape plans… it’s as if Romero followed the slime people model to the letter for his classic zombie yarn, but with much creepier results.;)

  • Guts3d

    Interesting to compare this crap-fest to “NOTLD”. I will have to ruminate a bit on that…

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