I’ve seen a lot of people compare “Slime City” to films like “Basket Case” and “Street Trash,” but there’s just absolutely no fucking way it comes anywhere near being as great as either of those two films. In fact, it’s not really great at all. It’s merely okay. Granted, it has some fun gore and neat scenes, but the stuff that strings it all together is mediocre. The films people often compare this to have all the good parts, but they also have characters you feel invested in, and the stories are beyond bizarre. On the other hand, director/writer Gregory Lamberson’s “Slime City” is a very basic possession tale in a goopy casing. We’ve seen this story done before, and way better.
Basic premise is this: Alex moves into an apartment building. Alex’s neighbors consist of some Nick Cave looking vegetarian poet by the name of Roman and an over-sexed metal groupie named Nicole. Nicole is almost a selling point for Alex since his girlfriend Lori is a total virgin prude. Soon Alex is fraternizing with his co-habitants, and he’s turned onto some odd green goop via Roman, who passes it off as Himalayan yogurt. He also imbibes a green alcoholic elixir from Nicole, which was brewed by some warlock relative. Soon, Alex is leaking plasma and feeling not so well. The only thing that seems to stabilize “the slimening” is visceral, splattery homicide.
Alex, being the college type that he is, quickly puts two and two together, and dogs Nicole into a reveal. The apartment building was in fact the sight of some mass death pact orchestrated by cult leader Zachary. The Himalayan yogurt he’s been addicted to is actually ectoplasm containing the essence of the spirits that died in the building – and this is probably the only thing in the movie I really loved. The more he consumes, the more possessed he becomes. From here, the movie meanders toward its conclusion with a few cool gross-out spots.
First off, Robert C Sabin, who plays Alex, is fucking horribly cast here. I’m not saying he’s untalented, but he’s an unlikable type that should only be playing villainous nerds, or the annoying fag hag that cock blocks his hot female friends, or maybe a homicidal hairdresser. He exudes a smarminess that makes you want to punch the guy in the throat repeatedly. There’s no way that anyone could possibly want to root for this guy, and I certain had a hard time believing he was sexually frustrated from lack of heterosexual action. He’s just a totally unlikable personality. In fact, he’s down right bratty, which is not something you want to see in your male lead.
So-so Mary Huner plays both Lori and Nicole. Not sure why, as it serves absolutely no creative purpose. Whenever she plays Nicole, she dawns a horrible Cher wig that smothers her already limited sex appeal.
And then there’s the location. While the movie was shot in New York City, you just never get the feel that we are IN New York City. In fact, it feels like more Dayton, Ohio.
I think by 1988, writer/director Greg Lamberson had a very clear idea as to what kind of movie he wanted to make, which was a cult film. As a result, the whole thing has a very disingenuous feel to it. I DO think he was very passionate about the film, and the enthusiasm is there, but “Slime City” attempts to fit a mold rather than create one of its own. It aspires toward a cheap aesthetic already defined by a host of other films that were honestly struggling to be free of their budgetary constraints. There’s just little that feels natural about “Slime City,” though I do think the enthusiasm with which it is executed is entirely genuine and rooted in a true appreciation for the kind of films it aspires to be like. I just can’t call this a cult classic as it lacks a real independent spirit that you see in movies like “Street Trash” and “Basket Case.” They not only went for the throat, but they weren’t trying to be anything other than what they were. They were and still are odd ducks in spite of the fact that a lot of people strive to emulate them.
Still, Lamberson is to be commended for a showing a lot of heart. Unfortunately, it takes more than passion to make something entirely worthwhile. This is a very nice tribute, but heart and soul are not necessarily the same thing.
Lamberson returned in 2010 with a sequel titled, “Slime City Massacre.” It looks both interesting and horrible.