Spooky movie season is upon us again!
Also known as October, this is the month of bat-shaped decals and bulk bin candy corn eaten by the fistful.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been spending my Octobers making my way through the classic canon of horror movies.
This year I’m trying a more varied diet, branching out into some of the weirder stuff I haven’t seen yet. I am aided in this quest by the fact that classic movie channel TCM seems to have become bored of showing just the core favourite horror films this year.
So instead, I’ve spent the past few weeks watching things like The Innocents, a gothic psychological thriller, and Son of Frankenstein, which is basically Young Frankenstein but with fewer jokes.
But possibly the best/worst, funniest/most horrifying was The Green Slime, a 1968 American-Japanese co-production.
It uses the kind of special effects you might see in a really, really bad Godzilla knock off. The main cast are mostly wooden American actors. It throws them into a goofy plot in which future astronauts encounter some – surprise, surprise – green slime, which turns into monsters that try to take over a space station.
I can’t remember the main characters’ names. I think of them as Jerky McAstrojock, Wimpy Buzzcut, and Dr. Former Bond Girl.
I know this sounds terrible, and it is. But it’s transcendently terrible. It’s the kind of terrible that gives you something new and weird to look at every few minutes.
The spaceships and space station never look like anything other than plastic models drifting about on strings in front of a badly painted backdrop. The slime is not just green, it’s the kind of vivid green you could only get in a garishly Technicolor movie from the late sixties. At one point the action stops so everyone can spent five minutes dancing in a space-disco complete with go-go boots.
Then the monsters arrive, the offspring of the Swamp Thing, a badly mangled muppet, and a serious budget shortfall. They make a high pitched meep-meep noise and shoot sparklers out of their tentacles.
By the time the entire space station has been dipped in kerosene and set on fire for the big climax, you’re rooting for the slime guys.
They don’t make movies like that anymore. In some ways that’s for the best. But we’ll always have The Green Slime.