Yes. It’s true. Some films are so awesomely bad that they’ve come full circle and are just plain awesomely awesome. And that’s the truth. One such film is the truly underrated and much ridiculed, 1968’s, the Green Slime. I mean the name kind of says it all.
While a very close brethren to the Green Slime, Alien, wouldn’t come on the screen for another 11 years, the Green Slime really is the first and one of most awesomely awesome launching pads for Alien. In fact, when watching the Green Slime it’s pretty hard to believe the Ridley Scott and writer Dan O’Bannon conceived of Alien entirely in a space vacuum. I know that’s a fairly hard piece of wisdom to swallow, but the likenesses are uncanny:
-A corporation, with quasi-military functions, requires a crew to investigate an asteroid.
-The asteroid contains green slime (AKA: Alien) who hitchhike their way back on to the mothership.
-Some on the mission want to study the aliens and others want to kill them.
-The green slime (AKA: Alien) secrete an acidic-like substance that burns the crew and their ship.
-The green slime has an incredible ability to heal, resurrect, and procreate itself.
-The crew is able to jettison the green slime, but the final fight has to take place outside the ship.
-Only one crew member remains and is required to take the fight to the green slime. That crew member survives to fight another day!
Seriously, I could on and on about the remarkable similarities between these two films and their underlying story. If I didn’t think I was going to be sued by 20th Century Fox, I might even posit that Alien is a straight-up rip off of the ridiculously ridiculous, The Green Slime.
The Green Slime, directed by fame Japanese Director, Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale), follows a semi-corporate group who has been asked by their government (read: corporation) to travel to an asteroid and destroy it before it destroys planet Earth. The crew quickly and bombastically dispenses with the asteroid, but not before being infected by the acidic green slime and bringing it back to their mothership, Gamma 3 (AKA: the Nostromo). The green slime quickly mutates from plain old green slime in to a gang of multi-tentacled, one-eyed brutes. A sub-plot (one of the few deviations from Alien) involves a love triangle between Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) Commander Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel: Day of the Animals and Grizzly) Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi: Thunderball). The routine love triangle is rather pedestrian, save for the fact that it establishes the final and heroic conflict by Commander Elliot and Commander Rankin.
One of the other interesting little pieces of allegory involves the green slime itself and its weakness. In the case of Alien, they are susceptible to gun fire, but the gun fire results in a stream of dangerous acidity. Whereas, the green slime, while also susceptible to gun fire, converts the laser energy of the weapons to spout even more one-eyed beasties. In both instances, conventional weapons might work against both space-alien life forms, but each strategy also holds significant drawbacks.
The Green Slime really is a sight to behold. It’s ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous on a grand stage. The sets are monumental, the story telling is clearly legit, the over-acting is delightful, and the hundreds of extras (yes, hundreds) are an amazing counterpoint the joke-worthy appearance of the green slime. In addition, to all the incredible Alien “coincidences” yielded by the Green Slime, it has got one hell of a soundtrack — which is unfortunately, only available on the deeper, darker recess of the internet. Looking at the Green Slime only as a goofy piece of sci-fi horror history would be a large mistake. The Green Slime offers so much, and it might have, just might have, spawned a 40+ year Alien franchise. Maybe…