12/6/06

108 Slime People

(1963, Horror, b&w), with:

Commando Cody in Radar Men from the Moon: Chapter Six, Hills of Death
(1952, SciFi Serial-Children, b&w)

Hand to fin combat!

Rating: *1/2

In a nutshell:

Short: Commando Cody helps clean up after a natural disaster, then beats people up.
Film: Subterranean fish people attack Los Angeles with the help of their solid fog.

Short Summary:

In our last tepid episode, we saw the armored ambulance and Cody’s car ram into each other and plunge over a cliff. As we suspected would happen, this time we see the scene replayed with previously unshown footage of Cody and his sidekick Ted leaping to safety at the last minute. Finally successful in bringing in much-needed cash, the Moon Men’s hired thugs learn that their evil employers have changed their minds again, and this time they want to set off an atomic explosion in the crater of a dormant volcano. They want this to happen because, for some reason, this will set off worldwide flooding not seen since the days of Noah. The thugs rent a plane to carry out this fiendish plan, and stupidly give the plane rental guy a matchbook from their favorite diner. They blow up the volcano with an atomic blast that’s about the magnitude of a couple sticks of dynamite. Flooding ensues. Then it subsides with no apparent affect, and Cody tracks them to the aforementioned diner. A balsa-wood-furniture-breaking fight ensues, after which the thugs kidnap Ted. Ted predictably escapes, and Cody chases them into a corner. Out of bullets, the thugs knock Cody over a cliff with a big rock. Is this the end? Of course not.

Film Summary

This is my goat!  There are many like it, but this one is mine!The eponymous Slime People live underground where it’s very cold and slimy. The denizens of Los Angeles have somehow polluted the underground environment, so they come to the surface and kill thousands of people with spears. We don’t actually get to see any of this, though. Stodgy reporter types narrate it to us from a newsreel found by our heroes in a deserted TV studio. A sportscaster, a marine, a scientist, and his two hot daughters were all unavailable when the invasion happened, so they get together afterwards in the abandoned city and find out about it from the aforementioned “exposition reel.” They embark on a bold quest to find a chemical that will bust them out of L.A., now encased in an impenetrable dome of solidified fog. This dome also keeps out any hope of military rescue. Along the way they find an irritating novelist and his pet goat.

Apparently, the Slime People need to live in a cold, damp environment, so also they create a more mundane, but very dense fog that makes it impossible to see anything for most of the rest of the film. The group hides out in a meat locker, where the novelist goes crazy and gets himself killed. One of the hot daughters gets kidnapped, but they rescue her, finding the fog-wall machine in the process. In the meantime, the scientist discovers that the Slime People are vulnerable to ordinary table salt, and doggedly refers to it as Sodium Chloride for the rest of the movie. Vague shapes flounder through the fog and grunt a lot, which I think was supposed to be the climactic battle. Someone, the scientist I think, throws a spear at the machine and it explodes. The fog lifts instantly, the dome evaporates, all the slime people fall dead, the military shows up, and the sportscaster and the marine fall in love with the two hot daughters.

Introduction:

Can he also make them squirt blood to blind potential predators?Joel and Tom get up in the morning in a typically surly mood. Crow, on the other hand, is aggressively chipper. He makes up a morning poem.

Host Segment One:

Joel invents glasses with eyeballs that inflate, cartoon-style. The Mads demonstrate cotton candy that screams when you bite it.

Host Segment Two:

Joel and the ‘Bots don robes and wigs to put a plastic toy of Commando Cody on trial for crimes against reality. The whole thing devolves into bickering and courtroom clich├ęs. Joel demolishes the toy Cody with his gavel.

Host Segment Three:

The ‘Bots decide that the gullibility of humankind is responsible for movies as abysmal as the one seen today. They then suggest other ideas for bad movies, such as a man trapped on a desert island, forced to watch bad TV shows by two evil commodores. Joel tells them it’s a horrible idea.

Host Segment Four:

The ‘Bots add suspense and mystery to the Satellite of Love by filling it with dense fog.

Host Segment Five:

Joel bakes diode pie, but Gypsy eats it while it’s cooling on the windowsill. They read a letter.

Thoughts:

I liked the Cody short a little better this time. Maybe it’s because they went back to the ridiculous faux science that I liked in the first two episodes. Come on, an erupting volcano made the earth flood? Even though the catastrophe made the front page of the newspaper, it didn’t seem to make any impression on the rest of the world beyond a few seconds of stock footage. You’d think that worldwide flooding from an atomic explosion would cause widespread radiation sickness, but nope—this is the 50's; there’s no such thing. Also, the atomic explosion seemed a little tame. No mushroom cloud, just a little dirt flying into the air. Of interest, the actor who plays Graber (the leader of the thugs) is Clayton Moore, more famously known as The Lone Ranger.

The host segments start off right with a funny bit about how obnoxious morning people can be. The fog idea was clever, and I liked Crow’s suggestion for a TV show that features sentient breakfast food. The invention exchange and the Cody sketch were okay, probably about average, but I just didn’t get the whole pie sketch. It’s a mixed bag as far as host segments go.

This is what we see for most of the film's running time.From watching the movie, I’m guessing that the Slime People are too expensive to film, or that the costumes were just too bad to show, as the only real footage we get of them is a minute at the end where a few of them are shown dropping dead from a distance. What we do get is people sitting around talking about them for the first half of the film, and then fog gets so thick that absolutely nothing can be seen for the second half of the film. (The only visible scenes of the second half are the ones at the very end and the ones in the butcher shop where—you guessed it—people stand around and talk about the Slime People.) The plot is simple enough, and I think there’s some action in the second half, but it’s hard to tell. Comments from Joel and the ‘Bots about the inability to see abound, as well as various mucous and crustacean jokes. Also included are jokes about the low price of meat in the 60s and a hilarious mass impression of Richard the Third as all of the Slime People are dying at the end. Unfortunately, the ending alone is not enough to recommend it, as the only visible parts of the film are stiflingly dull.