James Reviews Kinji Fukasaku’s The Green Slime [DVD Review]

What do you get when we have a film produced by MGM but filmed in Tokyo at Toei Company? We have Kinji Fukasaku’s The Green Slime, a sci-fi film from 1968 that has tons of charm and some surprisingly horrific effects that most people probably weren’t ready for the film here in the States. It’s gotten a lot of negativity over the years from critics, which took it a bit too seriously with its initial release.

An asteroid is coming toward Earth and will collide with it if nothing is done. A group of astronauts go land on the asteroid, set up explosive charges and blow the damn thing up. A scientist unknowingly brings on a remnant of some luminous green slime that was living on the asteroid. While the space suits are being decontaminated, the green slime starts to mutate at an accelerated rate and becomes a large one-eyed tentacle wielding beast, killing anything in its path by electrocuting them. The crew on Gamma 3 try to blast it with their laser beams, but they realize that the green slime grows and multiplies from the energy. Everyone bands together to try to stop these aliens before they can take over and reach to Earth. They might have to sacrifice more than just the space station.

Over the years, The Green Slime has been pushed around, laughed at, made fun of for supposedly shoddy acting and has even been relegated to worst sci-fi film lists. I’m really not sure what film they’ve been seeing, but it must not be the same one I’ve loved for years and with this new release from the Warner Archive Collection. This being the first time it’s been available on DVD in the States, it’s a great time for this film to gain some love from film aficionados out there. Especially for Kinji Fukasaku fans out there, who later went on to do the fantastic Yakuza Papers films and our very own Rudie Obias’ favorite film of the 2000’s, Battle Royale.

We have a great cast of B-actors, who relish in their roles. From handsome TV actor Robert Horton as Commander Jack Rankin, war and western film vet Richard Jaeckel as his rival Commander Vince Elliot and Fiona Volpe from Thunderball herself Luciana Paluzzi as Dr. Lisa Benson. The film was written by Bill Finger, who is the uncredited creator of Batman himself, Charles Sinclar who was a prominent TV writer (such as the Batman series), Tom Rowe and Ivan Reiner.

The film has some fantastic miniatures, fully functional models and some great gooey effects, thanks to Japan Special Effects Co. And the alien’s suits, which are at times comical but still work as scary monsters, were made by Ekisu Productions. A little tidbit for you kaiju fans out there, but both these companies were formed by former Toho employees, who learned everything they knew from the “Father of Japanese Special Effects” himself, Eiji Tsuburaya

It’s truly a fan film, a film that most would look at as bad but if you have an open mind and a love for older sci-fi films, you can’t go wrong with The Green Slime. Warner Archive has truly done a stellar job with remastering this undervalued film. The colors pop really well now, especially when reds and greens are on display. Also, the film’s first half hour plot is pretty much lifted for over 2 hours with Michael Bay’s Armageddon, a Criterion release. And there’s one scene which looks as if it was lovingly seen by John Carpenter when he was younger and used later on for his remake The Thing. You’ll see what I mean.

Also it has one of the most ridiculous and amazing theme songs ever by Charles Fox. It’s definitely a doozy.

Check out the love John Landis has for the film from Trailers From Hell.

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