Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Script: Ron Gontman
Cast: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip Machale, Alicia Moro, Concha Cuetos, Santiago Aleveres
Running time: 89 minutes
Based on the novel by British author Shaun Hutson, Slugs is a delightfully bad ‘nature goes wild’ movie from the director of such exploitation delights as the wonderfully cheesy Pieces, Cthulhu Mansion, and the underrated The Rift.
The townsfolk of the, mostly rural, community of Wayne County are dying in strange and often horrific circumstances. Following the slimy trail of gruesome half-eaten bodies is the resident health inspector Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) who is trying to piece together the all too obvious mystery of who or what’s behind the recent mushy mayhem. Hours after the viewer has twigged what’s happening, Mike and his wife, Kim (Terry), come to the terrifying conclusion that larger than normal slugs, replete with sharp teeth, are breeding in the sewers beneath the town and are targeting humans as their preferred take-out!
Our intrepid investigators then pressgang a local scientist (who happens to be English) to help them eradicate the molluscan menace with some all too explosive consequences for the township!
One things you can’t say about Slugs is that it’s dull. Once a pattern of carnage has started to emerge, the ooze, slime and gross-out gore effects don’t let up. The characters might merely be useful cyphers to propel the story forward, and the acting might be somewhat risible in most cases, but the gore effects, courtesy of Emilio Ruiz and Carlo de Marchis, are certainly worth tuning in for.
Slugs also features some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever encountered in a film, but that kind of makes the film rather endearing in a bad movie way. It also features the most ridiculous central premise of any ‘rampaging animals’ movie, which will have you shaking your head in incredulous disbelief, but once again that’s all part of the over-arching, giddy fun. After all, with a tag-line on its posters that boldly states: ‘They Slime. They Ooze. They Kill.’ no one can take a movie like this seriously for one second…
Most mainstream reviewers would somewhat lazily give this film two stars at best, but it’s not made for them, it’s for ‘creature feature’ horror fans who are in on the joke and just want to be entertained, albeit in a rather icky way! And that includes me…
Arrow Video are distributing Slugs on DVD and Blu-ray. As per usual with Arrow Video there are numerous extras on the disc including:
Here’s slugs in your eye (8 mins) – an interview with actor Emilio Linder who plays a rather unfortunate diner in the movie. He talks about how he first got into acting, a bit about the film itself and about the grisly end his character meets. Interestingly, Linder is also in the equally cheesy Monster Dog, which features Alice Cooper in a central role. Maybe that’s a movie that Arrow should be thinking of re-releasing!
They slime, they ooze, they kill (11 mins) – an interview with special effects artist Carlo de Marchis. Here we find out that Marchis also worked on the likes of Conan the Barbarian, and with Steven Spielberg. Somewhat surprisingly he thinks director J.P. Simon was better at dealing with effects and effects shots than his more famous counterpart. Apparently, Marchis won a Goya for the effects in Slugs.
Invasion USA (12 mins) – an interview with the art director Gonzalo Gonzalo where we discover that he used to work with the director doing commercials for Lever. He talks about some of the production design and the effects shots, and explains that Piper was always more interested in the visual effects than in the characters and story, which kind of makes sense given many of the films that he made during his career.
The Lyons Den (21 mins) – an interview with production manager Larry Ann Evans, in Lyons, New York, where she also takes us on an interesting tour around some of the locations used for the film. Evans is a great host for this kind of mini- documentary and talks with much fondness about her time working with Juan, who eventually became like a second father to her. She reveals that the film’s budget was about $1 million, and it was filmed at the same time as ‘Lady in White’, which is the only other feature to be filmed in Lyons! She’s also a great source of funny stories about the shoot and, these days, works at the Wayne County Museum.
Trailer (1.37) – ‘Don’t turn on the tap, don’t go in the basement, don’t make out while your parents are out!’ screams the voice-over…
Audio commentary by writer and filmmaker Chris Alexander – a fun audio track with one of the former editors of Fangoria magazine, who kind of makes it up as he goes along, but it works quite nicely as he a pretty funny guy.
Audio commentary with acclaimed British horror author Shaun Hutson – Shaun jokes with the mediator about his reaction to the movie. It’s a good-humoured discussion with the popular author who reveals the fact that he was never approached to write the screenplay (despite what some areas of the press reported at the time), but he acknowledges that quite a bit of it does kind of closely follow his book. This was my favourite special feature on the disc as, having previously met Hutson (see my interview elsewhere on the ‘BluePrint Review’ website), I really enjoyed hearing him talk about his work and life again with his normal self-effacing charm.