Film (1968; vt Gamma 3: Cosmic War). MGM/Toei. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Written by Tom Rowe and Charles Sinclair, based on a story by Bill Finger and Ivan Reiner. Starring Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel, Bud Widom, Ted Gunther, David Yorston, Robert Dunham. 90 minutes. Colour.
When an Asteroid is detected on a collision course with Earth, with only hours left to prevent a catastrophe, the retiring head of space station Gamma 3 (> Space Stations), Jack Rankin (Horton), is recruited to lead an expedition to the asteroid to plant explosives there and destroy the asteroid before it strikes Earth. While there, an astronaut picks up a piece of strange green slime found on the ground, and when he returns, insufficient decontamination allows the small blob of green slime to begin growing into a small army of one-eyed, tentacled Monsters that are soon menacing the crew of the space station by electrocuting people and apparently feeding upon the station's energy sources. At first, new station commander Vince Elliott (Jaeckel), also the fiancé of Rankin's ex-girlfriend, Dr Lisa Benson (Paluzzi), resents Rankin's insistence upon destroying the creatures and wishes to preserve them for study; but soon, everyone recognizes that these virulent monsters must be exterminated before they reach Earth. Now asserting his authority, Rankin orders the evacuation and destruction of the space station, though these plans are complicated by monsters lurking outside the station. When other efforts to kill them prove insufficient, Rankin decides to stay behind and fight them, Vince chooses to join him, and Vince is killed fighting the monsters. But Rankin survives, ready to reconcile with Benson, while the station falls into Earth's atmosphere and burns up, destroying the monsters.
Despite a title and plot that suggest a low-budget production, The Green Slime was actually a major American-Japanese co-production, with good production values and two recognizable American stars in its cast. It also begins soberly enough, with an effort to avoid the plausible threat of an asteroid impact by blowing it up before it reaches the Earth. Unfortunately, its titular monsters look absolutely ridiculous, provoking derisive laughter instead of fear, and the repeated scenes of humans on board the station blasting away at the invading monsters grow rather tedious. (In contrast, a sequence showing astronauts floating in space battling the monsters outside the station is more impressive.) The film is not improved by the subplot of a trite romantic triangle, as Benson gradually realizes that her new boyfriend Vince is just not as manly as her former beau Rankin, who must replace the ineffectual Vince in order to effectively combat the Aliens; so she returns to his embrace as part of the film's happy ending. Overall, the danger of alien lifeforms infesting a space station was addressed far more intelligently in an episode of The Outer Limits, "Specimen: Unknown" (1964), and the film Mutiny in Outer Space (1965). [GW]
see also: The Awful Green Things from Outer Space.
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