Saturday, September 16, 2006

Filling in the Gaps

When I was around nine years old, much like today, I was fascinated with genre movies. I yearned to see movies like "The Planet of the Apes" and "2001: A Space Odyssey", but my parents had little love of such things. I was growing up in a Baptist-rural-Georgia home and even though my folks did not disapprove of fantastically themed movies, their interest was low to say the least. Even so, I saw my fair share of the Universal horror films on television and commercials for then current sci-fi films appealed to me in a really big way.

Despite my parents ambivolence and through some strange happenstance, my parents took me to see "1,000,000 Million Years B.C." thinking it was a 'bible picture'. I'm pretty sure they were confused by the B.C. suffix. Of course I knew better and my love of dinosuars kept me silent in the back seat of the car as we drove to the Cobb Center movie theater. My dear mother knew nothing about dinosaurs and thought poor Raquel Welch had been carried off by a large bat during the film. At age 6, I knew full well it was a Pteronadon, but again, I stayed silent.

It was in this environment that I spotted the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland #57 in the magazine section of a Marietta, Georgia drug store on Hwy 5. The cover featured the movie poster art from a B-grade Japanese made sci-fi movie entitled "The Green Slime". I thought the art was amazing and it still evokes a sense of fascination even today. Memories of that magazine cover stayed with me for years and in the VERY back of my mind, I always wondered what the movie, depicted so wonderfully in the artwork, was actually like.

I never saw "The Green Slime" until a week ago. I was checking out the DVDs and remaining VHS tapes at a Half Price Books when I stumbled across a VHS copy of what was, to me, a missing gap in my childhood. It was only $5, so I grabbed it without hesitation.

The movie was made by the studio that made Godzilla movies in Japan, but this film featured a mostly non-Japanese cast. The effects shots were about as bad as one would expect from a 1960s Japanese sci-fi film, but all in all it was not as bad as I had anticipated. The oddly familar plot was something like "Armageddon" meets "Alien". A space craft sets out to destroy an asteroid on a collision course with earth. The feat is accomplished, complete with a landing on the planetoid, but not before a small alien presence is unknowingly brought back to the Earth orbiting space station which had launched the mission.

As you can see from the poster art, mayhem ensues even though none of the aliens grew to the Godzilla-like proportions depicted on the cover of FM #57.

Despite "The Green Slime" being a B-movie barrage, seeing it after all these years, actually created a faint sensation of accomplishment. A small gap in my childhood had been filled in by a simple $5 video tape. Not bad for $5.


Blogger cliff said...

For me, it's The Screaming Skull; it may be one of the lowest-budget American horror films of all time, but it really creeped me out when I saw it as a child, and I have rarely passed up an opportunity to watch it again. Same for The Tingler, which gained a patina of respectability due to the involvement of Vincent Price (although I have to admit that Price was involved in some clunkers in his time...).

September 17, 2006 9:34 AM  

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