Friday, July 23, 2010
The Green Slime - Trailer (1968)
A group of astronauts set out to stop a giant asteroid on a collision course with the planet Earth. They land on the asteroid, plant explosive charges and destroy it. Afterwards they return to the staging area, a space station called Gamma 3 in orbit around the Earth. Unfortunately, a scientist from the mission has unwittingly carried a luminous-green substance on the leg of his spacesuit which quickly mutates into one-eyed, tentacled monsters with the ability to discharge lethal bolts of electricity. The Gamma 3 crew fend off the alien creatures with their laser-based weaponry, only to discover the creatures feed off the energy which, in turn, allows them to multiply rapidly, sprouting the new creatures from their blood. As the creatures overrun the station the crew continues to fight back against overwhelming odds.
Produced in 1968, under the title "Battle Beyond the Stars" the film was shot in Japan using a largely American cast of B-movie actors, including Robert Horton (as Commander Jack Rankin) and Richard Jaeckel (as Commander Vince Elliott), while the Italian actress, Luciana Paluzzi, best known as the femme fatale in Thunderball (1965), was cast as Dr. Lisa Benson. The film was co-written by a group of screenwriters active in television and B-movies at the time: Charles Sinclair, who had written episodes of the 1960s Batman TV series, Bill Finger, who was the uncredited co-creator of the character Batman, and Tom Rowe. Ivan Reiner, who co-wrote Wild, Wild Planet and other Italian-made science fiction movies of the 1960s, is credited with the story. Finger wrote or co-wrote other B-movies, such as Track of the Moon Beast. The director, Kinji Fukasaku, was a reliable and dynamic studio program director at the time, who was best known for his nihilistic gangster films (later unanimously lauded for The Yakuza Papers film series), maintains a frenetic pace for the narrative.
The American background players were recruited from the foreign community in Japan, as well as foreign amateur actors, which included Americans, Turks and Germans, many of who had extensive experience working for Japanese filmmakers. Background players were supplemented by USAF personnel from the Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, and female, American, fashion models based in Japan. Communication between the Japanese crew and the American actors was facilitated through ex-pat translators, namely production manager, William Ross, who founded his own English-dubbing facility in Japan, Frontier Enterprises.
The film's visual effects were provided by Japan Special Effects Co. and directed by Akira Watanabe, while the monster suits were created by Ekisu Productions; both companies formed by ex-Toho Studios employees, who worked under Eiji Tsuburaya, the acknowledged "Father of Japanese Special Effects." Children were recruited as "suit actors" to play the majority of the monsters.
The psychedelic theme song was composed by Charles Fox, who made a name for himself creating high-profile soundtracks for films such as Barbarella and The Incident.
The Japanese version was released on December 19, 1968, under the title Gamma 3: Operation Outer Space. This was intended for Toei's seasonal kiddie matinée series, Toei Chibiko Matsuri (Toei Children's Festival), which became the Toei Manga Matsuri (Toei Cartoon Festival), and is now known as the Toei Anime Fair. These are theatrical packages consisting of a feature film and several animated and live action shorts. The main feature was the U.S./Belgian co-production Pinocchio in Outer Space.
The Japanese cut of Gamma 3: Operation Outer Space was 13 minutes shorter than the American version, and eliminated the Horton-Paluzzi-Jaeckel love triangle subplot (which would be boring for children), added different musical cues by Toshiaki Tsushima (notably absent was the infamous theme song), giving the film an increased action movie feel.
Green Slime's May 1969 U.S release was met with mostly negative critical reaction. The New York Times review was typical—on May 22, 1969, reviewer Howard Thomson wrote, "The dialogue is wooden, so is most of the acting by a cast including Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel and Luciana Paluzzi. And a dull and obvious romantic triangle continually squashes the terror potential at the ripest moments."
However, the movie did achieve a popular success with American matinée audiences due, in part, to an extensive advertising campaign aimed at children. The MPAA rated the film G.
In Australia, the film was triple-billed with The Blob and Beware! The Blob (aka Son Of Blob).
WATCH THIS TRAILER:
THE GREEN SLIME (TRAILER)
KINJI FUKASAKU (1968)