Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THE GREEN SLIME (1968) review

Green Slime, The (1968) (3rd viewing) d. Fukasaku, Kinji (Japan)

From the opening drum fill of Charles Fox’s mind-blowing funk rock theme to Ekisu Productions’ unforgettable screeching cyclopean beasties, this Japanese sci-fi effort (employing an entirely Western cast) benefits from high energy pace alongside an unabashedly pulpy narrative. A meteor on collision course with Earth is diverted thanks to a explosive -planting mission to the projectile’s surface (a plot device Michael Bay would later co-opt for 1998’s big-bam-boom Armageddon). While the plan is successful, a globule of the titular pulsing sludge hitches a ride within a spacesuit’s folds to the local space station; worse, the floating city’s decontamination process boosts the alien life form’s growth pattern, evolving the spongy green foam into red-eyed tentacled creatures capable of emitting lethal electronic shocks. Headlined by square-jawed, impeccably coiffed hero Robert Horton and Richard Jaeckel’s blue-eyed blue-collar captain – each vying for impossibly eyelashed stunner Luciana Paluzzi’s affections – Fukusaka’s action-packed space melodrama juices its corny kiddie sci-fi fare trappings with effective scenes of claustrophobia and a surprisingly high (and graphic) body count. (The director would achieve lasting infamy three decades later with his epic adaptation of the taboo-smashing, kids-killing-kids manga, Battle Royale.)

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