Saturday, January 16, 2010

THE SLIME PEOPLE: Up From The Bowels of The Earth!

By Steve D. Stones

For every decade since the silent era, I have a favorite low-budget monster movie. For the 1960s, I would say that The Slime People ranks as one of my all time favorites, next to Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. The Slime People has everything a fan of low-budget monster movies can ask for, such as: strange creatures, wooden acting, two beautiful girls, lots of foggy atmosphere and a fruitcake TV reporter, just to name a few.

Robert Hutton stars and directs the film. He went on to star in another 1960s cult film, They Came From Beyond Space. Joseph F. Robertson, a marine buddy of director Ed Wood, served as the producer of The Slime People. The film also stars lovely Susan Hart, who went on to star in War Gods of The Deep with Vincent Price, and Les Tremayne, star of the 1950s H.G. Wells classic War of The Worlds.

The film opens with TV reporter Hutton trying to land a small plane at a private Los Angeles airport. He is advised over the plane radio not to land because of a thick fog blanketing the sky. Eventually he lands to
find the airport completely abandoned. Soon, a science professor and his two young daughters find Hutton in their car at the airport and convince him that all radio and telephone communications are down. Hutton gets into the car and leaves with the group.

Hutton is shocked to see the devastation of destroyed buildings and dead bodies in the streets of Los Angeles. He convinces the group to go to his television studio where they might be able to find some news films on the devastation and reports of the Slime People, who have caused the
devastation. On route to the TV station, the professor describes how the Slime People have built a wall of fog around the city and how they have come from the bowels of the earth beneath.

The group watches several newsreels at the TV station confirming the devastation and activities of the Slime People. A drunken vagabond forces the group to leave the screening room. They are greeted outside by some of the slime creatures carrying lances. Hutton and the group run into another TV studio and barricade themselves in the studio. A young marine who wants to help the group meets them. The marine tries to get fresh with Bonnie, one of the professor’s daughters, while the rest of the group sleeps.

Hutton tries to establish communication with the outside world by broadcasting a message from the group over television transmission. The attempt fails, and the group decides to leave the TV station in search of a better location.

The group encounters an eccentric writer, played by Les Tremayne, who joins them on their journey. Looters attack them as they drive through the neighborhood streets of Los Angeles. The writer is eventually attacked and killed by the slime people.

Soon they arrive at a grocery store and barricade themselves in a meat locker. The professor comes up with the idea to use common table salt to pour over sections of the fog walls to break through the wall. While leaving the store to test this idea, the professor’s daughter Bonnie is kidnapped by the slime people and taken to a local cavern inhabited by the slime creatures. Hutton and the marine go after Bonnie and are able to rescue her from the cave. The sequence of Hutton removing the spear from a lance and driving it into the chest of a slime creature as blood spits out the other end of the lance is priceless.

Eventually the group is able to discover the location of the slime people’s fog machine. The professor destroys the fog machine, which allows natural air to flow freely through the atmosphere. This of course chokes the slime people and they die of asphyxiation. Apparently it was the fog that allowed the slime people to live above the earth’s surface in an attempt to conquer it.

What I love so much about this film is that it has an interesting mixture of monsters combined with a post-apocalyptic theme that is seen in so many great 1960s and 70s films, such as: The Last Man On Earth, The Last Woman On Earth, Night of The Living Dead, Panic In The Year
Zero, In The Year 2889, Dawn of The Dead, The Omega Man, The Earth Dies Screaming, Chosen Survivors, The Andromeda Strain, and the list goes on and on.

Is The Slime People a masterpiece? I would say NO, it is not, but that should not discourage viewers from seeing it. It’s often difficult to put into words what is so appealing about viewing a forgotten low-budget monster movie that most people would never care to want to ever see. I
suppose a person has to have a certain “taste” for these types of films.

Whatever your personal tastes are, I would like to encourage you to see The Slime People. Keep the popcorn handy.

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