Anyone who reads anything I’ve written is well aware I’m all about nostalgia. Movies I love (and maybe even hate) always bring me back to specific periods of my life, whether they are ones I want to remember or not. Many times I remember who I was on a date with or what thoughts were running through my head that day. Growing up, I spent a lot of nights staying up late and alone. It wasn’t that I was always left alone, but preferred to be alone as I often had a hard time finding something in common with others. These late nights involved watching the kinds of movies meant for insomniacs who might need a pick me up. I discovered some of my favorites this way, but sometimes scenes would become a blur and, as an adult, mix up the titles if I hadn’t revisited the title since then. I received a screener for SLUGS not really expecting much as I had not heard of it aside from my friend Josh who is totally in love with it. I trust his taste and slid the Arrow Blu-ray disc into my player hoping for a B-level creature feature with old school special effects.
The movie opens with an attractive young couple meeting their rather quick doom when they decide to go for a quick swim. It’s instantly cheesy with some intentionally (I hope) funny dialogue and I knew I was in. The plot is simple and may be hard to differentiate from several other films, but those others fail to acknowledge their own outrageousness and self depreciating humor. A toxic waste dump incident creates a mutated strain of slugs who feed on human flesh. A local health inspector quickly realizes what’s going on, but of course no one believes him and the death toll rises throughout town.
Now, why did I mention my love of nostalgia before? I often found stacks of VHS tapes laying around relatives’ homes as a kid and would watch anything with suggestive titles. As I watched SLUGS, I started expecting certain gore gags to happen. I started to wonder why I was recognizing certain scenes and cues. I realized I had seen the movie (at least the second half) way too young and must have caught it late at night. I got super excited and started texting my friend Josh “I’ve totally seen this!” It’s rare that this happens to me and only created a new love for the film as it completely holds up today. Fans of hilarious and absurd horror flicks like PIECES will get a kick out of this.
Arrow spent a pretty dollar in putting together this release which includes a couple commentaries and some insight into the making of SLUGS. IN “They Slime, They Ooze, They Kill,” special effects artist Carlo de Marchis gives an informative interview on how some of the best gags were created for the screen. What makes this fascinating is that SLUGS was made during the days prior to CGI, challenging the crew to utilize practical effects which in the end helped elevate some of the movie’s craziest moments. Conducted in Madrid, Spain, Carlo manages to compare his experiences working with the slugs here with the cats during his time on ALIENS and it’s interesting to see how one artist can work on a diverse group of projects in such a short period of time. Also filmed in Madrid is “Invasion USA,” an interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo where he goes into the trickery of making the slugs appear more menacing on camera (one scene involved them using pig’s skin to stand in place of a girl’s back). Arrow’s release of SLUGS comes highly recommended for both fans new and old.