Monday, 26 September 2016

Slugs - The Movie (1988)

“Creepy Crawly Mutant Mollusc Horror!”

Arrow manages what no-one ever thought possible (or advisable, anyway) by releasing Juan Piquer Simon’s SLUGS on Blu-ray and DVD. Anyone familiar with the director’s 1981 loony-athon PIECES will know what to expect. For those not wise to the ways of this particular director’s work, here are some highlights of this one.

Naughty slugs
A very badly dubbed ‘teenaged’ couple are fishing. He gets pulled into the water while she fails in trying to take her top off. There’s a bit of floundering around and a load of stage blood before we get the titles, which proudly proclaim we are watching SLUGS - THE MOVIE (the TV show will still have to wait a while, I suspect).

Unaware that slugs are lurking in the toilet
         A man with trousers that are far too short for him swigs from a bottle of booze in an abandoned house before something kills him. The police arrive the next day and have a good look around the room in which he died before realising there’s a half-eaten corpse lying on the sofa. Dept of Health Bloke Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) and his specialist-in-going-down-sewers-dressed-in-yellow chum Don (Philip McHale) become concerned that all may not be well, especially when Mike is attacked by a finger puppet slug with pointy teeth in his wife’s garden (that’s not a euphemism by the way, sorry if you watch this expecting some kind of graphic genital violence).

Nudity not at all justified in terms of the plot
         The slugs are coming! Loads of them! All speeded up! See how they burst out of an ensuite toilet, completely eat a naked couple and then disappear before the police get there! Despite the vast quantities of slime everywhere the Sheriff is convinced it’s the work of raccoons.
         A man eats a slug, gets indigestion and his face explodes in a restaurant. The slugs are possibly the product of toxic waste. There’s a chap who may be a teacher and definitely works in the local school laboratory who has access to oildrum-sized quantities of lithium and arsenic which he proposes to burn the slugs to death with. Everyone thinks this is a good idea.

Men in yellow!
          Don dresses up in yellow. Mike dresses up in yellow. They go down into the sewers to find the slugs’ breeding ground (I think that was the name of the sequel). Much toilet-based humour ensues as sewage explodes everywhere. 
         Please believe me when I say I haven’t spoiled any enjoyment you might get out of SLUGS by telling you most of the plot. The true pleasure of something like this is its sheer awfulness - the stilted acting and dubbing, the ropey special effects (apart from some of the miniatures) and the frequently loud and inappropriate music score that the credits claim is performed by the Royal Philharmonic but sounds more like offcuts from an Aaron Spelling 1970s TV show. 

Explosion at jam factory. Slug tries to give assistance
         Arrow’s SLUGS package offers not one but two commentary tracks - one from Chris Alexander, and another from the author of the novel on which the film was based, Shaun Hutson. The latter is more of a chat about Mr Hutson’s career and he proves to be his usual candid and upfront self about his work and the genre. And he even mentions the infamous Pierce Nace novel Eat Them Alive!
         Other extras include interviews with special effects man Carlo De Marchis, art director Gonzalo Gonzalo, production manager Larry Evans and actor Emilio Lindar. You also get the trailer, a reversible sleeve and new writing on the movie by Michael Gingold. 
         SLUGS - THE MOVIE is rubbish. During its UK premiere at 1988’s Shock Around the Clock there was so much good-natured laughter at its ludicrousness that it quite possibly endeared me to this sort of silly film for life. And therein lies its charm. It may be awful, but it is extremely watchable. 

SLUGS is coming out from Arrow on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 26th September 2016

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