Sunday, March 28, 2010

All about The Slime People!

The Slime People, 1963, B&W, 76 minutes, Joseph F. Robertson Productions, directed by Robert Hutton. Starring Hutton as Tom Gregory, Les Tremayne as Norman Tolliver, Robert Burton as Professor Galbraith, Susan Hart as Lisa Galbraith, Judee Morton as Bonnie Galbraith, and William Boyce as Cal Johnson. Schlock-meter rating: 6 stars out of 10.
I wasn’t expecting expecting to enjoy this ultra-low budget cheapie in 1963 from future porn director Joe Robertson. I had just read Mondo Cult 1, where Brad Linaweaver really trashed the film. It’s not a great film, but it’s a lot of fun. The plot: A TV newsman (Hutton) crash lands near Los Angeles and discovers that things are well, silent and different. He’s picked up by a professor (Burton) and his two giggly daughters. The professor explains that underground nuclear testing has caused the underground-dwelling “slime people” to come up and take over. They have built a hard-t0-penetrate dome (shades of The Simpsons film) over the LA area. The slime people sort of resemble creatures from the black lagoon on steroids. Areas infected by the slime people are in a dark haze. (This occasionally makes it hard on viewers trying to follow the action).
The four eventually pick up a gung-ho army man (Boyce) and a smarmy writer (Guess who dies?). Most of the film is talk, but there are cool scenes of our heroes battling slime people and dealing with looters. Surprisingly, director Hutton does a good job of making LA seem deserted, although the film lingers too long at a grocery store (probably due to its low budget). The four young people also quickly pair off in a “me-Tarzan, you-Jane” style. The secret to battling the slimy baddies is finally discovered.
The acting is OK and the film doesn’t drag too much. The special effects are really not that bad and the film has a hokey charm. OK, the hero just happening to run into the professor and having it all explained is a little lame. It would have been better to have him be alone for the first fifth of the film, discover the slime people himself and then hook up with the others. But I like this film. I’m surprised it hasn’t played on Utah;s UEN Channel 9 Sci-Fi Friday. It’d be a good addition.
Notes: Robertson also produced the ultra-cheapie The Crawling Hand, which starred Alan Hale Jr. of Gilligan’s Island fame. Cult director Ed Wood starred in his porn films Love Feast and Mrs. Stone’s Thing. Both are reputed to be horrendously bad films. It’s a pity Wood didn’t work on The Slime People or Crawling Hand. The film was spoofed on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
-- Doug Gibson

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