So, I was browsing old drive-in ads on Pinterest and found this in an archive.
And I thought, what better way to get a new year's start on trying to get back into this blog. Both movies have been given the MST3K treatment, so I knew going in that both were pretty shoddy and potentially laughable.
Both movies are a product of the 60's and brought to the US under the auspices of American International, the giant of the drive-in movie world. Both movies are also originally produced in foreign markets. The Green Slime came to us from Japan and Reptilicus came to us from Denmark proving that low-budget schlock is not strictly an American product.
As far as The Green Slime is concerned it's a co-production with AIP and Toei studios in Japan, but as near as I could tell there isn't one single Japanese actor or actress in the entire production. (Unless thos green slime creatures are really Japanese people in the costumes. At least the Danish produced Reptilicus is handled by an all-Danish cast (none of whom you will recognize (unless you are a devotee of Danish and West German cinema,
Both are definitely the kinds of movies that I originally started this blog to bring to light, low-budget drive-in fare that exemplifies some of the main tropes of 50's and 60's drive-in cinema; sub-par acting, ridiculous dialogue and cardboard characters that have no depth. But both are entertaining in their own right if you like that sort of thing.
The Green Slime (1968):
"Is it something in your head?
Will you believe it when you're dead?
(lyrics from the theme to The Green Slime)
The opening song is an indication of what we are in for. Sounding (to me) kind of like the psychedelic rock that was prominent at the time, it is pretty catchy, but the lyrics are just plain weird. I was reminded of Iron Butterfly, myself.
This movie starts out with a theme similar to later big budget movies you are familiar with (Armageddon and Deep Impact, both from 1998). Early on one of the characters on a space station, the Gamma 3, mutters somewhat reluctantly, that "Nothing ever happens around here."
Of course, you know from experience that that's when something exciting does happen. Because the next line is another character who says "I'm getting a lot of interference...". Which of course is is when the $^:+ hits the fan.
The team on the space station has discovered an asteroid which as somehow veered of course of it's standard trajectory and his headed on a collision course with, you guessed it, Earth. And it's going to cause a butt load of damage if it hits.
The commander of the space station, Commander Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel) relays the information back to Earth and his superior decides the situation warrants him calling out from retirement an officer, Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) to go up and take over the reins on a mission to destroy the asteroid.
Warning, Will Robinson! Danger! It seems that Rankin and Elliott are not the best of friends, and the problem mainly stems from the fact that Elliott stole Rankin's girl away from him. And Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi) just happens to be on the space station with Elliott.
(BTW, if she looks familiar, her most famous role, for me anyway, was as one of the Bond girls in Thunderball.)
The egregious subplot of a love triangle is only one of the more ridiculous parts of this movie. What happens when the crew lands on the asteroid to blow up the thing constitutes what makes up the bulk of this movie. It seems there is some kind of green slime buried under the rock where they plant the explosives. And one small loogie sized bit of it gets on one of the crewmen's clothes and is brought on board the space station.
The green slime stuff as the ability to regenerate itself at an alarming rate and eventually becomes a one-eyed tentacled creature that rampages over the space station. And it's regenerative powers means that every time it is hit and a piece of it comes off, that piece regenerates into another creature. (Which explains why the movie poster says "The Green Slime ARE coming" not is coming.)
The conflict between Rankin and Elliott escalates as each has ideas as to how the invader should be addressed. And of course there is the ubiquitous scientist on board< Dr. Hans Halverson (Ted Gunther) who advocates keeping one alive so it can be studied. Just think what it could mean to science and posterity to understand such a creature (that could multiply itself and cover the Earth in just a few days) ...how can we pass up that?
Eventually of course the slime creatures overwhelm the entire space station and the inevitable must happen. "What's the inevitable?" you ask?
Why, of course, the conflict between Elliott and Rankin over whether the space station should just be destroyed so the creatures can't do any havoc on terra firma. And he-man heroes that they are, only one can win that battle...
A final note: The Green Slime was a directorial effort by Kinji Fukasaku whose other efforts including being on of the directors of the Japanese sequences of Tora! Tora! Tora!, the classic American-Japanese extravaganza that depicted the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Danish miners are drilling in Lapland for copper and discover something unique on the drill bit when it is pulled from the Earth. Skin and blood! They also discover a piece of a prehistoric reptile, a tail, which they naturally take to the local scientific institute.
The scientists decide that the best possible solution for their new find is to keep it frozen.Which they manage to do up until someone fails to keep an observation on the controls and the freezing unit fails. And you know that's not good.
The tail begins rapidly regenerating until gradually the monster has regenerated itself into a complete prehistoric behemoth which the scientists have dubbed reptilicus. And because it is all powerful (and it is needed to keep the plot going) it escapes.
But before the action goes into full swing we are treated to a travelogue of modern day Denmark for some reason. And briefly a musical number with a song called "Tivoli Nights" none of which has anything to do with the plot.
A lot of the action seems to be culled from clips of maneuvers culled from the archives of the Danish army as the try to get a line on Reptilicus. But they are making a BIG mistake. They keep trying to blow it up. Until one of the scientists (a woman, who is apparently smarter than all the men put together) points out that if they blow it up it will scatter parts of Reptilicus all over the countryside, each with the potential of regenerating into another Reptilicus.
The dialogue and the acting are on par with some of the worst American made low budget flicks of the era. It makes one wonder how any of these actors ever had a career beyond this. But they did, albeit, as stated before, entirely in the Danish and west German cinema.
The script was written by Ib Melchior, who not only wrote the story that inspired one of my favorite films Death Race 2000, but was also the director of The Angry Red Planet and The Time Travelers, two films previously reviewed on this blog.
Reptilicus is pretty laughable. I've read that he resembles a marionette from Howdy Doody, but my opinion is he looks kind of like a reject from Jim Henson's Muppets. He spits green vomit which is dubbed acid slime by the characters although we never see it hit anything, and the movie never even shows the aftermath of what damage it has done, so we can only take the characters words for it that it does any kind of acid damage. But it does knock over a few buildings.
It has wings, but we never see it fly. One wonders why it evolved wings in the first place. Maybe the producers intended to include a few sequences in which the creature battled the Danish Air Force but the Air Force declined to get itself involved in this schlock...
One can only thank God that the Danes only made one foray into this giant monster genre. They were probably better at sticking with dramas like Babette's Feast.
Well folks, time to fire up the old Plymouth (which is still working even after the Covid panic). Drive safely