An asteroid is heading straight for Earth, and we have about 10 hours before it wipes us out. The only man for the job has just handed in his resignation. Fear not, Earthlings, because Commander Jack Rankin (Horton) has been talked into saving the day. He’s going directly to the Gamma III space station where he will launch his team to drill into the asteroid and plant explosives. (Sound familiar?). The station is currently commanded by Commander Vince Elliott (Jaeckel). Elliott was once Rankin’s best friend, until he stole away his fiancée Dr. Lisa Benson (Paluzzi). Now the two are rivals who will have to work together to save the Earth. In short order they destroy the asteroid, and Earth is safe… or is it?
The team is inadvertently contaminated with a green slime while on the asteroid. Once back at Gamma III the slime mutates into monsters with long tentacle arms complete with claws. The creatures are heavily charged and electrocute anyone who touches those tentacles. Now Elliott and Rankin have to work together again to keep the creatures from getting to Earth.
The Green Slime was a 1968 movie that was behind the times in many ways, but ahead of the curve in others. It plays out like any number of low-budget films from the 1950’s, and that cycle had pretty much played itself out. The creatures looked like something out of a 1970’s Dr. Who episode. The idea of the rival heroes and the two-tiered story was a cut above the titles of that kind. It was still pretty much a disaster at the box office. It was a cooperative effort between The United States and Japan. The cast was primarily American, while the sets were all filmed in Japan. There’s a ton of obvious miniature work, and the creatures are guys in rubber suits. In many ways it plays like a spoof of the square-jawed American hero template from the perspective of an outsider. While the effects are quite limited, the exterior of the asteroid was actually pretty good for the time and budget. Unfortunately, the film didn’t stay long on the ill-fated asteroid.
Warner Brothers has come out with what I believe to be a wonderful new program to enhance their home video release catalog. Let’s face it. We all have a favorite film or television show that was never really a popular release with the general population. But that doesn’t matter to us, because we love it anyway. We wait forever in the hopes that the title will one day be available. Unfortunately, like anything else, video releases have to make money. If the studio does not believe that it will have broad enough appeal, the release will never see the light of day, nor your local favorite video store. The reality is very easy to understand. Millions of copies of a release have to be cut in order to make all of the preparation and processing viable. If that number isn’t a realistic projection, there isn’t going to be a release. But now Warner Brothers has actually found a compromise, and at last hope for your obscure “gotta have” title, if it is owned by Warner Brothers, of course.
The Warner Archive Collection offers up hundreds of obscure titles that the studio has evaluated and found not viable as a commercial release. The catalog is growing almost by the day. For a nominal fee, not more than a standard DVD release, you can order a copy of these hard to find titles. Warner will then cut a DVD-R of that title and ship it to you direct. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. This is going to look like that bootleg copy your cousin makes in his basement. Wrong. The DVD-R comes in a solid case with a printed insert, just like in the stores. The disc is silk-screened and in color. The video quality varies somewhat. I’m not going to tell you that the audio and video are wonderful, but they are in better shape than cousin Hector’s bootleg, that I promise you. The discs do not contain extras, and the films are not restored or processed much as transfers. Still, it’s an incredibly grand idea, one I hope that all of the other studios adopt soon.
You can look at what there is to offer yourself at Warner Archive Collection
The movie’s good for a laugh and for fans of the genre. Otherwise it’s not going to make a huge impact in anyone’s collection. You know the kind of movie I’m talking about. If you don’t, this is a definite skip-it. If you do, there’s only one question you have to ask yourself now that this title has arrived: “Would you like to join the welcoming committee?”