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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Slugs
Slugs
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Review by Adam Tyner | posted January 15, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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"I saw the biggest slug in the world right before you got home."
"Jesus Christ! Those things are big!"
"I told you they were big."
"Big? They're gigantic! (pause) Damn thing bit me!"
"What kind of slug bites someone?"
-- just one of many, many quotes I wanted to use to open this review of Anchor Bay's "Slugs"

When I was a senior in college, I bought 21 Troma DVDs in a nostalgic fit, remembering how much movies like "Chopper Chicks in Zombietown" and "Surf Nazis Must Die" shaped my formative years in junior high. When I discovered how little Troma appealed to me a decade later, maybe I should've taken that as some sort of hint -- some things are best left in middle school. As you could probably guess from the fact that the title "Slugs" appears in big, bold letters at the top of the page, "Slugs" was one of my most prized Laserdiscs back then, during the days when I'd scour the $10.88 bin at Camelot Music with my father, and no, it doesn't grab my interest in quite the same way.

"Slugs" (or "Slugs: The Movie" as the title appears in the film; I guess this is to differentiate it from possible slug-related spin-offs like "Slugs: The Series" or "Slugs On Ice") is about a picturesque little town built on that reliable foundation of '80s killer insect movies, the toxic waste dump. For whatever reason, this particular chemical concoction only seems to have any sort of effect on our slime-trail leaving buddies, the slugs, who've acquired a taste for flesh and a series of slug-super-powers. Health inspector Mike Brady (readers, pretend there's some clever "Brady Bunch" gag here) discovers the truth about the slug menace fairly early on, but the sheriff and mayor aren't buyin' what Brady's selling. The body count's on the rise, and Mike, his wife's British professor pal, and sewer warrior Don (ooh, I could make a witty joke about the slug fighters being the Don and Mike Show!) take matters into their own hands, leading to a climatic battle to the death in the sewers below...and yes, in true '80s horror fashion, it's left open for a sequel.

There are just too many prized moments here to list. How 'bout the school bell that sounds more like the alarm in the "Ghostbusters" firehouse...or the sheriff who appends "dammit!" onto nearly every line of dialogue? Greenhouses filled with explosives, a variety of acids, and a hefty assortment of sharp-edged weaponry. Slugs feasing on people and people feasting on slugs. An explosively bloody business lunch. This is stuff that was so deeply embedded in my mind after a single viewing that I could mentally replay most of the movie a decade later. One thing that didn't stick with me was the low-grade acting. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I'm hard-pressed to think of a movie I own with worse acting. The t&a quotient is fairly low, but what "Slugs" lacks in breasts, it more than makes up for with gore. The effects won a Goya Award (a national film award in Spain) in '89 for its graphic special effects.

Video: My old "Slugs" Laserdisc was full-frame, which I'd guess would make this DVD the first widescreen release of "Slugs" ever. Yup, "Slugs" is enhanced for widescreen televisions and has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. A couple of scenes look a bit too soft, and some darker shots are riddled with light grain, but neither of these problems are excessive to any sort of unreasonable level. Blacks are rock-solid, and colors -- particularly the geysers of blood and assorted grue -- are eye-catching and pretty impressive.

Audio: A pleasant jaunt into the whimsical land of the monaural. As is the case with similar Anchor Bay releases, this Dolby Digital mono track doesn't suffer from hiss or distortion. Yup, the not-quite-snazzy ADR work (presumably due to some of the Spanish actors' accents being too thick for American audience?), the incrementally-better-than-shot-on-video-porn acting, and a score that often sounds more like "Quincy" outtakes than something from a horror film are all represented darn near flawlessly.

Supplements: The only extra on the disc is an extremely goofy trailer in anamorphic widescreen featuring the sort of voice over work you don't hear outside of the mid-to-late '80s. A decent set of liner notes are included, though it's really just Anchor Bay preaching to the converted...

Conclusion: "What's next...demented crickets?" Oh, sheriff, we could only hope. "Slugs", though not quite as appealing as it seemed when I first saw it, still managed to be a lot of fun and would probably be even better watching with a large group of friends. "Slugs" is the sort of movie I like to own but don't like to buy -- nice for watching once, but I can't really see myself giving it another spin anytime soon. I would say "Slugs" is best-suited as a rental, but I have a bit of a hard time imagining anyone but mom-and-pop shops and the online houses renting this sucker out. I recommend "Slugs", but it's probably worth waiting for a week where nothing that looks appealing rolls around. Here's hoping Anchor Bay gives other New World classics like my personal favorite, "Return of the Killer Tomatoes", similarly spiffy treatment.
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