Monday, 20 June 2011



I've never been a fan of so-bad-it's-good. In fact, I don't know that I even believe in it. Troll 2 isn't so-bad-it's-good, it's just bad. The cheapo SF Z-flicks of the 1950s like Robot Monster and the infamous Plan Nine From Outer Space, bundled together as the Golden Turkeys by the Medved Brothers on a wet afternoon when they'd frankly got nothing better to do, aren't so-bad-they're-good, they're simply bad films. That's not to say that movies can be great fun and absolutely terrible at the same time, but the point is that the fun isn't derived from the terribleness. Crucially, the makers of the "worst movies ever" never thought they were making bad films, a mistake the likes of Troma and The Asylum continue to make: deliberately making sub-standard movies for an audience they presume don't care. Far more interesting are the ones made with good intentions: the honest failures rather than the calculatedly shoddy.

Slugs: The Movie mercifully falls into the former camp: they didn't set out to make a rotten film although that is unquestionably what they ended up with. Construction work on a new housing estate and shopping mall has resulted in chemicals leaking from an old toxic waste dump and mutating the local slugs into three-inch flesh-eating monsters. Using the sewer system, the millions of killer slugs can attack in any part of town - coming through the taps or toilets, attacking en masse. Can Mike Brady, Health Inspector and Don Palmer, Sanitation Officer destroy the slug menace and save the town? Difficult, when the Mayor refuses to listen to reason even when a property developer's head explodes in the Italian restaurant....

An American-Spanish adaptation of Shaun Hutson's England-set novel directed by Juan Piquer Simon (the genius behind Pieces), Slugs: The Movie is appallingly written and acted and really only has its slimy slug-drenched gore sequences to commend it to the connoisseur of yuck. Highlights include naked teen lovers eaten in their bedroom a sea of slugs and a gardener finding a slug in his glove and cutting his own hand off with an axe. There's even the occasional riff on Jaws: the mayor more interested in money than public safety, the public official hero facing the monster himself (even their names are similar: Brady/Brody!), the opening scene with the teenager eaten alive in the water....But in honesty, this ISN'T Jaws. This isn't even Jaws: The Revenge.

It just isn't very good: the acting is soap opera level (hardly surprising as two of the American cast were daytime soap stars) and there is some outrageously clunky dialogue. But despite the awful performances and screenplay, and an incredibly out-of-place score by Tim Souster (played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!), it's a mess with only the innocent cheesiness and the upfront grisly gore effects in its favour. Happily, the British DVD is uncut (the old VHS issue lost about 40 seconds of cheerily gratuitous gore to the BBFC's scissors). If memory serves (which it might not), the movie went down quite well at the Scala in a Shock-Around-The-Clock festival in 1988. Pretty terrible, but not unentertaining. Now if someone wants to film Spawn....



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