It's been seven years since I last watched director Gregory Lamberson's 1989 effort, Slime City. Now that it's on Blu-ray, with its sequel Slime City Massacre, it seems a fine time to revisit it. The vast majority of you are probably here to discern whether the picture quality is improved enough to double dip, but some newcomers may want to know what the movie's about. It's about 80 minutes long. Rimshot. I'll be here all week.
Alex (Craig 'Robert C." Sabin) is a wisecracking college student in the Jerry Seinfeld vein. His girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner) won't put out or move in, even when he finds a suitably bleak new apartment for rent. There must be a reason the apartment's so cheap, other than the collection of Central Casting losers Alex with whom Alex must share the hallways. I guess the reason is the Himalayan Yogurt his neighbors feed him; bright green and unbelievably tasty.
The downside is the yogurt turns Alex into a slime-coated, melting super-freak who can only chill out through acts of brutal murder. Lori isn't pleased. Nor are viewers who by-and-large must wait for the final ten minutes of the movie for the bulk of the good stuff. That stuff being Alex going full freak, and shoving his own intestines back into his gut before his brain literally jumps out of his head for a slowwww getaway.
Slime City is many things: low budget, amateurish, and confused. Perhaps too much time is spent trying to convince us that Alex and Lori have a real shot at romance. Perhaps the breezy attitude doesn't mesh well with aspects Variety rightly termed 'repulsive'. And lastly, perhaps Lamberson foolishly avoided the need to go full-geek, showering us with more slime and gore than we can handle; because when the fluids start flying during the finale, it's truly something to behold.
Slime City Massacre
Slime City Massacre (2010) sets up a much more broad, almost post-apocalyptic conceit, while still managing to stay really intimate and low budget. In this case, Lamberson trades a single cruddy apartment for a single abandoned warehouse. The scale is much larger, but the feel is almost the same. A dirty bomb has destroyed a crappy part of town, disintegrating untold citizens (such as Lloyd Kaufman) while somehow concentrating living victims in the aforementioned warehouse. A BarterTown style organization emerges, into which stumble Alexa (Jennifer Bihl) and Cory (Kealan Patrick Burke). While in, they find rebel Slime City residents Alice (Debbie Rochon) and Mason, (Lee Perkins) a pair trusting of neither Alexa and Cory, nor anyone else. When the mother lode of Himalayan Yogurt and Wine is discovered, the splat hits the fan.
Simultaneously, we're treated to flashbacks outlining how the evil wizard Zachary got his start hooking freaks on the yogurt. It seems silly to say, but Slime City Massacre really ties everything together, and features a raft of much stronger performances than the original film. Debbie Rochon, in particular, tears into her role with authority. Lamberson even lards the movie with a prescient political sub-text, as the universally hated real estate developer Crump runs roughshod over the citizens of Slime City.
An all around slimy upgrade doesn't obviate the need for more gore, but sadly Slime City Massacre plays it relatively tame. While one character's comical total meltdown surely warms the cockles of one's heart, other bits of ultra-violence either make do with nothing more than blood-splatter, or don't exactly connect, such as a twin eyeball bottling that squanders its sick potential. Lamberson's 21-years-later, slimy follow-up is a major improvement in almost every department, but soft-pedals the gory goods. With both films and extras considered, this Blu-ray is Recommended for forgiving freaks.
Presented in a 1.78:1 ratio, this 1080p rendering of Slime City stretches the notion of what needs to be on Blu-ray. As with previous home-video incarnations of this movie, the watchword is 'wonky'. Film grain runs rampant throughout, as well as instances of speckling, scratches, dirt and what-have-you, never mind the occasional out-of-focus shot. Colors are rich and nasty, and mastering artifacts or problems don't seem to be present, however, and details are about as good as they're going to get, meaning Slime City (a movie which doesn't look all that good) also looks as good as its going to get. Slime City Massacre fares better in its 1.85:1 presentation, again with rich, saturated colors, and much more robust detail fidelity throughout the fore and mid-ground. There is some appropriate film-grain, but the kind of damage evident in the first feature is nowhere to be found.
Both features and all extras come in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Audio, and generally improve with the provenance of their accompanying visual aspects. What I'm trying to say is the old stuff sounds just OK, while the new stuff sounds better. Slime City seems to have been recorded live as filmed in many cases, and if not, looping was done in post with room sound, so is kind of echoey, but all the dialog is clear. The 2006 commentary track suffers from the movie's audio track competing in volume with the commentary track. Slime City Massacre sports a much more robust and professional sonic palette, with a nice bit of dimensionality, good dynamic range, and overall clean presentation.
Slime City ports over extras from the 2006 DVD release, including the 2006 Commentary Track, and BTS/Interview feature(tte)s Making Slime, with 7 minutes of Making-Of fun, and Slime Heads, with Leads Robert Sabin and Mary Huner shooting the breeze for 45 minutes. There is also the Trailer, ninety-second Grindhouse Promo for the Slime City Grindhouse Collection, and a kooky two-minute Return To Slime City promo, which presages Slime City Massacre and burns 33% of its runtime with credits. Lastly is an all-new 2016 Commentary Track which sounds worlds-better than the 2006 track, and finds Lamberson waxing poetically realistic about the movie, while covering much obviously similar ground.
Slime City Massacre brings a Commentary Track with Lamberson, Rochon and others, while seemingly recording everyone at varying volumes. Keep your remote handy. Four minutes of Bloopers are mildly amusing, three minutes of Behind The Scenes Footage offers a mere peek at the filming process, and a seven-minute Interview with Composer MARS looks to have been recorded by MARS in a dark closet, but finds the musician eloquently discussing his thoughts and methodology. There is one Deleted Scene, and a feature-length collection of Slime City Survivors Webisodes that take several minutes each to either outline production processes or interview actors and technicians. Good stuff for the true slime fan. The Trailer and a Killer Rack Trailer round out the package.
Greg Lamberson's Slime City has probably gotten more release versions than it deserves, but it's hard not to love the little 'gore-comedy that could' (even if most of the gore is saved until the final ten minutes). Twenty-plus-years-later, the cult director found Slime City Massacre seeping out of his pores. The follow-up is way more professional than its shaggy predecessor, and more entertaining in every way, save for the fact that it doesn't exactly have the nauseating, low-budget gore viewers crave. Put the two together, with extras old and new, on a shiny Blu-ray disc, and ask yourself if you feel lucky. Or rather, ask yourself if you have any of the previous versions of either movie. If not, this upgrade may be for you. On balance, it's Recommended.