Countdown

January 1999


Green Slime Title
   This month I am going to review one of the all-time favorite science fiction flicks here at GDI, The Green Slime.  It's a cheesy film shot in 1969. It was a joint US and Japanese production that for some reason is rated G, especially considering that many people are killed in this flick. Leonard Video Tape BoxMaltin gave this flick 1 and 1/2 stars, but we all feel it deserves better.
    It was directed by Kinji Fukasaku, whose major credits are doing Tora Tora Tora, a really good Pearl Harbor flick. The Producer goes by the name of Ivan Reiner, who I thought was the guy who did Ghostbusters and such, but in reality it was the guy who produced War Between The Planets (which we actually have in our archives).  It must be noted that the special effects were done by Akira Watanabe who did the work on the original Godzilla.  This movie has gone by a lot of names which won't even rate Bold faced type and red coloring: Battle Beyond the Stars, Battle of Space Station Gamma, Death and the Green Slime, and finally Gamma #3 Big Military Space Operation.
    The lead character is named Jack Rankin, played by Robert Horton and I'll be dammed if I could find anything of merit on his resume. The other lead character is named Vince Elliot, played by Richard Jaeckel who played that tough Sergeant in The Dirty Dozen. He also starred in tow of those animals go nuts flicks Grizzly and Day Of The Animals. Captain Martin is the guy who gets ordered around a lot and is played by Robert Dunham who was in Godzilla Vs. Megalon (which we have). Finally for the men is William Ross who plays the scientist. He also plays a scientist in two flicks War Of The Robots (which we have) and War In Space.
    On the chick side, we have a lot of hot extras but the credited character is Lisa, who is played by this Italian chick Luciana Paluzzi, who was the villain chick in Thunderball, you know, the one who got shot in the back while dancing with Sean Connery.
    Anyway, lets get it on.
    So we start on United Nations Space Station Gamma 3, a really bad model, but hey it was 1969. There are a lot of models here and a lot of dudes looking at scanners. Suddenly the scanners go screwy and some tense music starts.  They discover that this disturbance is being caused by a red and green asteroid named Flora.
    AND IT'S ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH EARTH!!!
So This Is The U.N. Space Station?Cut to the credits where we are greeted by some very groovy sixties music that actually matches the title of the film. These people actually spent some money on this flick. Or so it seems.  After the music dies away, we cut back to these guys clustered around the monitors like some twisted scene where robotic vultures hover over a slowly dying Atari. We discover from these guys that this asteroid will slam into the earth in 11 hours and someone has to blast it out of the sky (?), and you know they'll do it.  Armageddon and Deep Impact, and even Meteor had some time to prepare, but this was the sixties and we can take out 6 million tons of rock in half a day dammit.
    Conveniently CDR. Jack Rankin is there, even though he has tendered his resignation (why we never find out). So he gets to be volunteered and is sent to the space station, taking over from Vince Elliot, whom Rankin apparently has some problems with. So he leaves and we have to sit through a lot of scenes involving models. The space ship looks like something from Thunderbirds. This is a definite sign that the Japanese had a hand in this flick (God bless Toei Studios). While he is heading for the station, we get to meet CDR. Elliot and Lisa, the chick, who is apparently the squeeze of Elliot. We are again informed that there is some bad blood between Elliot and Rankin. We also discover that Lisa was once Rankin's chick. Oh yeah, space age chick fight.
Let's Get It OnThe picture to the left gets a good look at three of the main characters, Rankin, The Doctor, and Elliot.  Originally this was supposed to be a "blow up the rock" missions but as always the doctor has to come along for scientific collection. This is always the way, you know for damn sure that he is going to jeopardize many lives because he'll want to collect a specimen, or study the creature. I mean it's the classic Ridley Scott Alien bit (and hundreds of fifties films too).
    The land on the asteroid and start preparing to drill.  There is some trippy background music there.  More and more I see Armageddon ripped a lot of stuff off from this flick.  I must also note that back at the space station, all of these manly men are drinking coffee from those dainty little tea cups. Now That's What I Call MoldWhat the hell is up with that? Anyway, there are scenes of the doctor looking at this green slime and some cheesy reverse photography shots.  20 minutes into the film and we have seen the title character.  Naturally the scientist has to take a sample and while the drilling is going on, we find out the stuff is attracted to the machinery.  I wonder why?
    Suddenly the space dudes are informed that the asteroid has accelerated and that they must blow it sooner.  So they have to hurry up and get out of there, however, the little moon buggies are clogged up with slime so they have to do it on foot.  Apparently there is supposed to be some suspense as to weather they will get off or not, but I never felt it.  The scientist gets into an argument with Rankin about bringing the jar full of slime back to the station and Rankin slaps it out of his hands.  We will see more of the Commanders short temper and general arrogance.  Oh and a little bit of slime pierced the doctors suit (yet he did not decompress).
    Anyway, they do get off and do escape the blast and the world is saved.
    The End
    NOT!  That was just the setup for the rest of the film . . . 29 minutes and 23 seconds of film just to set up a bit!
    So they get back to a heroes welcome, the men is science outfits, the women in go go girl outfits.  Rankin is a party pooper whining about decontamination. Swinging Party In SpaceRankin then goes to medical to get a cut taken care of (he got it on the flight back, not on the asteroid) and Lisa, the doctor treats him badly.  Yes she is a bitter chick and we discover that Vince was once Rankin's best friend and Lisa got engaged with Vince after dumping Rankin.  She tells him its finished but Rankin thinks that she still digs him.  Later a swinging sixties style party ensues.  Now this is the kind of thing that would energize people into supporting an international space station.  There is champagne everywhere and people dancing and groovy music. During this little shindig, the two men throw barbs at each other. Pretty petty, but hey that's Commander Rankin, the guy you love to hate.
    Meanwhile in decontamination, something strange is happening to the slime that was on the Doctors suit.  The energy of the machine makes the slime grow while Lite Brite style control panels flash.  We also discover that Elliot sacrificed ten men to save one (not like on an alter).  Back at medical, 39 minutes into the film, as a piece of machinery goes haywire, a technician is killed by something . . . He's been electrocuted and all hell breaks loose (about time).
Ow! My Eye!A search ensues for whatever did the deed .  Then we cut to some shots of a tentacle with red claws on it shocking the hell out of another guy.  Finally we run into the monster and in typical fashion, the scientist tries to save it.  Conversely several guys get killed and Rankin makes the command decision to kill it.
    So we are put through a series of attempts to both kill the creature while at the same time figure out what makes it tick.  And what makes it tick?  Electricity it feeds and grows off of electricity. When Lasers Fail, Throw HelmetsAdditionally, even one drop of blood can spawn a whole creature with enough juice.  There is a plan to get rid of them by blowing them out of the airlock, but the chick fails to evacuate the medical center, so Rankin has to go in and save her.  Again, there is supposed to be some of that "will they make it" tension here, but again, I didn't feel it.  The end result is that they can't shoot them or they will make more.  Rankin even resorts to throwing his helmet at one.  Ow, plastic really hurts.  He then uses a flashlight to hold the monsters at bay while all of the Doctors patients can be evacuated.
    Oh and I can't forget to mention the stupid scientist that causes lives to be lost and plans to be spoiled.  The scientist whines about getting his research papers and gets electrocuted for his effort.  I've said it time and again, ethics have no place when there are monsters around.  Vince, succumbing The Ship! The Ship! The Ship Is On Fire!to his weakness for idiots, tries to save the doctor and reopens the hatches only to find out that he is just a bit too late.  The whole scene culminates in the monsters accidentally setting off some flammable material which blows up part of the space station. Oh how I love seeing open flame in a vacuum.
    Rankin makes the decision that it's time to evacuate the base and then blow it up, thereby killing all of these monsters.  Of course the monsters have gotten outside of the station and are blocking the docking doors so they won't open.  Rankin and Vince have a fist fight and then Vince, in an effort to make up for his previous screw ups, leads a mission outside in space packs to knock off these creatures.  He is successful and the hatch is able to open allowing escape ships to . . . well . . . escape.  And I have to mention the fact that Vince runs out of ammo in his gun and actually throws it at the monster, in zero gravity, and it pierces its eye!It's Funny Until A Monster Loses An Eye
    Of course, there is a problem with the space station that requires Rankin to go back into the monster nest to set some controls.  Jesus, we didn't see that one coming.  On the plus side, Lisa admits that she still has feelings for Rankin.  Vince flies into the loitering spaceship waiting to pick up Rankin . . . can you guess what Vince is going to do?   Yep, he goes to save him.  While Rankin is fighting these monsters, his gun runs out of ammo and he too throws the gun at it and he too hits it in the eye.  Vince and Rankin meet up and are old buddies again.  They set the machinery but on their way out, at 1 hour and 27 minutes into the film, Vince gets smoked.  Rankin carries the body with him and leaves from an airlock.  The space station plunges into the Earth's atmosphere, burning up the monsters and Rankin is picked up by the ship.
    Rankin recommends that Vince be awarded the highest decoration for bravery.
    Rankin gets Lisa.
    Who's the boss.
    Then we fade out to the groovy music and see the credits.  All and all, one of the better cheesy films made.  Of note here is that it was this movie that MST3K used for its pilot.  I've personally seen it over 20 times, but you don't see it on TV much, not even on MonsterVision.


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