Friday, August 28, 2020

The Slime People

The Slime People
Robert Hutton

A pilot, Tom Gregory (Robert Hutton), makes a rough landing in Burbank, California. He finds the town deserted and dozens of bodies strewn on the roads. These people were murdered with spears. Tom encounters a group of survivors, Professor Galbraith (Robert Burton), Lisa Galbraith (Susan Hart), Bonnie Galbraith (Judee Morton), and a soldier named Cal (William Boyce). These survivors recount a battle between the army and a race of underground monsters who have come to surface to surround the city with a solid dome. Now trapped inside with the Slime People closing in, the survivors must find a way through the wall before it’s too late.


The Slime People had the potential to be a low-budget gem. For starters, the monsters look great in an era of film where monster effects were still often crude for low budget affairs. The slime people themselves are full-bodied costumes that project the right mix of camp and menace,.With a little creative lighting they could even stand-up today in a modern film. I like the fact that they use spears which is an usual choice of weapon for a monster. The concept of an underground race rising to the surface trapping everyone inside a dome and killing them off is horrific and interesting. Even though it was a cost-saving exercise to set the film just after the initial attack, the opening moments with the pilot walking around a deserted town filled with corpses is a terrific opener.

Almost immediately after a captivating intro the film fumbles. The pilot runs into a group of survivors who deliver line after line of dialogue explaining everything that has happened. Any mystery about the slaughter and the monsters is gone. From this point on the film struggles to find something to do. We get a lot of talking and moving to a new location, some more talking, and finally a few hints at how to defeat the monsters. There is even a brief scene where our survivors are confronted by looters. This could have led to some more complex conflicts later in the film, but the whole thing is resolved within minutes and never spoken of again.

Me on Benadryl.

Beyond being too talky, the other major mistake The Slime People makes is covering the action scenes in a cheap fog effect. It obscures the image and renders everything on screen a grey blob. I could almost understand this decision if the slime people costumes were terrible, but they are easily the best thing in the film. The entire third act is virtually incoherent during what should have been an exciting climax as the survivors make a last-ditch effort to burrow through the dome and the slime people close in on them. I’m still not sure what happens but eventually, things end, the dome is gone, and everyone is all smiles.

If you really like monster movies and really like the films of the 1950s and 1960s, The Slime People isn’t the worst film you can watch, but it might just be the most disappointing. 

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