Speaking of stuff that creeps around gardens you can accidentally squash, let’s talk about Slugs for a spell, shall we? The late Juan Piquer Simón’s hilariously awful, intensely gory horror flick is one you’ll love or hate intensely in part thanks to some pretty wretched acting that actually clashes with the rather awesome icky practical effects work by Carlo De Marchis.
Just like the director’s notoriously nasty Pieces, you’re getting a film that’s not going to let you out of its grip even though the absurdities pile up to the point where your brain starts spinning inside your skull. Then again, Pieces was (and is) totally nuts for a few more reasons I’ll leave the braver of you out there to discover at your leisure. But yes, let’s talk about Slugs for a spell, shall we?
Let’s see now. Small town, upstate New York. Residents dying in odd, icky situations. Local health inspector figures out very oversized radiation contaminated slugs are the culprits, but no one believes him. The body count piles up, but things get resolved and you’ll probably want to rub salt in your eyes by the end of it all. Yeah, this is a pretty bad film overall. But it’s got some show-stopper special effects to make up for the lousy acting, often weird music and shamelessly bad dubbing.
You have to admire Simon’s attention to detail for the miniature work and making most of the effects work so well on a modest budget. But the casting is pretty abominable save for the poor guy (Emilio Linder) who goes out in truly gory fashion in the middle of a restaurant. The again, he’s only reacting more than acting, but it’s a pretty convincing job when all is said and done. Naturally, effects only carry a film like this part of the way and here’s a case where the plot runs out of steam and you’re left with effects to cover up the dead weight and crap dialog. Eh, it is what it is, I guess.
While the film itself is far from “great”, Arrow went on and packed a load of fun features onto the disc that do a great job of letting you know why it’s got that cult status among its fans:
Brand new restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Uncompressed PCM Stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by writer and filmmaker Chris Alexander
Here’s Slugs In Your Eye – an interview with actor Emilio Linder
They Slime, They Ooze, They Kill: The Effects of Slugs – an interview with special effects artist Carlo De Marchis
Invasion USA – an interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo
The Lyons Den – an interview and locations tour with production manager Larry Ann Evans
1988 Goya Awards promo reel
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter
Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by writer Michael Gingold
I love the Larry Ann Evans interview where she more or less thumbs her nose at those that hate on the film because it got made and into theaters and later onto home video where it’s garnered a loyal following. That and people still finding rubber slugs around the town on occasion may make some of you reading this want to go creep around a garden or three up thataway for some memorabilia hunting. Personally, I didn’t like the film much, but it made me laugh enough to the point that I forgave some of its more inept moments. Sometimes pure absurdity makes up for a movie’s failings in other areas.
Anyway, at the end of the day, Slugs is the Slugs of slug-based horror films and let’s just leave it at that. Approach with caution and a pocketful of table salt or hell, just enjoy what you can out of it. I won’t judge you (much).
Score: B- (80%, mostly for the effects and bonus features)
Review copy provided by the publisher