Friday, October 31, 2008

Slime City (1988)

Directed by:
Greg Lamberson

In New York City, college art student Alex (Robert C. Sabin - I WAS A TEENAGE ZOMBIE) decides it's time to live on his own and stumbles upon an ideal apartment that almost seems too good to be true. The landlord seems kind of quirky but she sure is friendly, it's well located, it's spacious, it's affordable and he no longer has to deal with his obnoxious and immature friends, such as Jerry (T.J. Merrick), on a daily basis. Hell, he's so pleased with his new digs that he's even considering letting his blonde girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner) move in one day, despite the fact she doesn't put out (she's a virgin). Soon after Alex gets settled in, he learns the place has a sordid history and finds himself caught up in some Troma-style mutation shenanigans. Well, Troma-style minus the fart humor and with an even lower budget, even worse acting and even cruder special effects. To make a short story shorter, the three-story apartment house used to be home to a supposedly dead Satanist/alchemist named Zachary and his small but loyal coven of followers, whose experiments centered around bodily mutations as well as body snatching. Zachary has found that the best way to eternal life it by transferring souls of the elderly and aged into younger, healthier bodies. Somehow he's able to accomplish this by tricking people into eating some slimy, runny pea green food substance, as well as drinking different colored "wines" that are kept stored down in the basement. New tenant Alex is, of course, the next on their list for bodily takeover.

Everyone else who lives in the building are in on the scheme. Other than the landlord (Bunny Levine), there's an elderly, seemingly senile old lady (Jane Doniger Reibel), an intense, punk/junkie look guy (Dennis Embry) and a sexy female dominatrix (also played by Huner, wearing a long black wig and miniskirts). Side note: I have to give Huner credit for the dual role because I had no clue she played both parts until I saw the credits. Anyway... Once Alex ingests a few spoonfuls of the slime-food (called "Himalayan yogurt") and drinks some of the wine (referred to as "elixir"), he starts temporarily transforming into a yellow-faced murderous mutant with a huge, fanged mouth growing inside his stomach (when one punk punches him in the gut it bites his hand off). Victims include a black gang member, a homeless man and an Asian hooker. After Alex goes out and kills, he returns home, goes to sleep and then wakes up, not remembering what had happened the previous day. A detective (Dick Biel - SPLATTER UNIVERSITY) is on the case. The more of the stuff Alex eats, the more out-of-control he becomes. Things end in a "gore-fest" dismemberment finale where Alex and Lori face off. It features multiple limbs hacked off, some minor air bladder facial effects, link sausage and lasagna noodle looking innards, a decapitation, a head splitting open and a crawling brain. The effects are OK for the budget range, I suppose.

Now I actually somewhat enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so of this movie. Sure it's badly made and stupid and horribly acted by most of the principals, but it had that same sort of quirky/seedy low-budget independent feel that Frank Henenlotter's BASKET CASE and Troma's THE TOXIC AVENGER (which this obviously copied) possess. Some of the dialogue was even pretty amusing, if unnatural sounding, at times. Unfortunately, once the story and characters were fully established, the film seemed to stall and became a little too repetitive and monotonous. Certain subplots (such as Lori visiting a psychic, and Alex visiting Lori's parents) didn't add much to the overall film other than slowing it down and introducing a few new horrible non-actors who can't handle the little dialogue given to them. It's all watchable I suppose, but my interest started waning around the midway point and the film never managed to reel me back in. Perhaps the people behind this ran out of time and/or money? The budget was only $50,000, the run time is around 80 minutes and it has been released on DVD recently from EI Independent Cinema, along with a short documentary featurette and another feature by director Greg Lamberson called NAKED FEAR, which has many of the same actors as this film.


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