It had been many years since I'd last seen director Gregory Lamberson's cult hit Slime City, and all I could remember were the film's gross-out gore effects and one hell of a messy finale. Now that Slime City is available on Blu-ray in High Definition for the very first time, along with its 2010 sequel Slime City Massacre (which I'd never seen), It seemed like a great time to revisit. I really want to thank the folks at Alternative Cinema for providing me with a copy to review.
Kicking things off with the classic Slime City. When Alex (Robert Sabin) moves into a New York City apartment to spend more time with and possibly "deflower" his virginal girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner), he falls victim to blood-thirsty supernatural forces that have horrifying plans for him involving some bright-green and apparently ultra tasty "Himalayan yogurt" and wine (elixir). Turns out, the apartment is haunted by the restless spirits of an occultist named Zachary Devon and his fanatical followers who had committed mass suicide years before. Seduced by a mysterious woman, Alex is gradually possessed by the diabolical Zachary when consuming the aforementioned delicacies. Only Lori can battle the putrid powers of darkness and save Alex's soul when he transforms into a murdering, melting monster…a hideous slime-splattered psycho who can only chill out by committing acts of brutal murder.
The '80s was a magical decade for the horror genre, everything was coated in cheese, everything was practical, and everyone involved seemed to have a damn fun time making the films. These things make '80s horror films universally entertaining and thriving nearly four decades later. Slime City perfectly encompasses all these things, it's loaded with practical effects, dark humor, hit or miss acting and a paper thin plot, and I'll be damned, it just works. You can feel the love and passion put into the film by Lamberson and crew, which truly contributes to the film's undeniable charm.
It would be blasphemy for me not to give the film's gloriously grotesque practical effects more recognition. These aren't the typical, realistic blood and gore effects you're used to seeing in low budget horror romps. No, these are nasty, colorful and slimy gore effects, much like what you'd see in Street Trash and early Brian Yuzna horror flicks. The green and yellow puss flows like fountains, especially during the film's over the top finale, which is truly a sight to behold.
To enjoy a film like Slime City, you have to be one who really enjoys sleazy, trash cinema, and I'll happily admit that I do. Honestly, it's hard for me to find anything NOT to enjoy with films of this nature. You just have to know going into Slime City that you're not going to see some polished and robust masterpiece. It's not Re-Animator...hell, it's not even The Toxic Avenger, but Slime City does offer up a heaping helping of splattery goodness that's sure to satisfy those with an acquired taste in film.
Now onto Slime City's follow up, Slime City Massacre. As most of us already know, sequels can go one of two ways, they can either outshine the original film (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Evil Dead 2) of they can totally suck ass, paling in comparison to their predecessor. I may be with the minority here, but I feel Slime City Massacre improves upon the groundwork laid by the original in nearly every way.
The film takes place in a bombed out city, four fugitives (Jennifer Bihl, Kealan Patrick Burke, Debbie Rochon, Lee Perkins) seeking refuge among the ruins stumble across the remains of a cult led by Zachary Devon (yes, the same dude mentioned first film) who's ironically played by Slime City's lead Robert Sabin. Of course, they begin consuming all the "Himalayan yogurt" and elixir they can get their grubby hands on, thus transforming them into hideous, oozing slime monsters with the overwhelming desire to kill. When real estate tycoon Ronald Crump (Roy Frumkes) hires mercenaries to wipe out the homeless population in the area in which our four squatters reside, an all-out war breaks out between the slime heads, cannibal mutants and hired killers – a bloody, merciless battle that will determine for once and for all, who will control Slime City.
One would think that a sequel to an '80s cult classic that was made two decades after the original film would absolutely fail in every possible way, but that's not the case with Slime City Massacre. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy Slime City and all of it's gritty, campy charm, I just feel Massacre did everything better. The acting, plot and effects have all received a slimy facelift.
The film's four leads all bring great performances to the table, creating characters who are fun to watch, especially when their comical mental and physical meltdowns begin. We're also treated to a cameo appearance by Lloyd Kaufman. One must also admire the script by writer/director Greg Lamberson. It's hard enough to create a quality sequel and even harder to create one that's ultimately better. Lamberson does one hell of a good job here, which is even more surprising given the gap between the two films.
Most importantly, those checking out the film for its sick gore effects will find more than enough here. Obviously, the colorful slime is still present in oozy abundance, but there's also more traditional gore effects to be seen. The film does have moments of noticeable cheap CGI, luckily the practical effects more than make up for this.
Slime City Massacre is much more than a rinse and repeat version of the first film and a very worthy follow up to a cult hit. You owe it to yourself to check it out!
For what they are, both films look great on Blu-ray, with Slime City obviously featuring more prominent film grain and blemishes, though ultimately looking better than any other previously released version of the film. Colors on both films are rich and robust, with details being as good as they're going to get, this is especially the case with the original film. Both films and all extras come in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Audio, and feature clear, clean presentation.
In terms of extras, Slime City ports over extras from the 2006 DVD release, which includes a 2006 Commentary Track, and multiple Behind-the-Scenes/Interview featurettes. "Making Slime" features 7 minutes of Making-Of footage and "Slime Heads," a 45 minute chat with leads Robert Sabin and Mary Huner as they reflect on their experiences with the film. Also included are the film's trailer, a ninety-second Grindhouse Promo for the Slime City Grindhouse Collection, and a two-minute "Return To Slime City" promo. Lastly, there's the addition of a 2016 Commentary Track, which is much clearer than the 2006 track, though it finds Lamberson covering much of the same ground regarding the film.
Slime City Massacre brings a 2016 Commentary Track with Lamberson, actress Debbie Rochon and other members of the cast. There's a short Blooper segment that's fairly amusing, an even shorter Behind-the-Scenes feaurette that offers a small peek at the filming process and an interview with composer MARS, who discusses his thoughts and methodology in creating the film's score. The best feature of the bunch being the "Slime City Survivors Webisodes," which covers production processes and interviews with cast and crew. A single Deleted Scene, and a couple trailers round things out.
Greg Lamberson's Slime City and Slime City Massacre both get the release they deserve with this Blu-ray from Camp Motion Pictures. It's hard not to love these films, they're sure to satisfy gorehounds and lovers of classic Troma flicks. These films are campy, grotesque and oozing with fun, toss in the extras, old and new, and you've got yourself a must-own Blu-ray!