6.15.2009

Field Guide to Invertebrates in Film: Slugs, Muerte Viscosa


Slugs, Muerte Viscosa (1988)
Critter:
Mutant members of the order Pulmonata
Size: Huge, for slugs- about 6 inches long, on average
Modus Operandi: Traveling in slimy packs, the slugs burrow into the victim and eat them
How the Menace Emerges: Sometime in the distant past in this sleepy town, and evil corporation dumped all of their toxic waste into the soil, mutating the native, harmless slugs into vicious killers.
End Goal: Dinner

“You ain’t got the authority to declare Happy Birthday, not in this town.”

I’m a sucker for even the worst eco-horror flick (yes, I’m even fond of The Milipitas Monster). In Slugs, it’s true that the acting is terrible, the dialogue is awkwardly nonsensical and that much of the narrative is just ridiculous. Still, Slugs was a fantastically fun romp through amazing critter and gore effects, topped off with an excellent visual sense and decent cinematography (for a B-critter flick).

The effects are delightfully practical ones in Slugs, with plenty of competent prosthetics and titillating gore. When it counts, real slugs in all of their black, slimy glamour are introduced in large enough numbers to seem ominous. Of course, the scene that stole my heart is the stop motion one seen above. Those little un-sluglike teeth and tongue were just too perfect.

This was directed by the little mentioned J.P. Simon (Pod People, Cthulhu Mansion), whose anglicized name hides his Spanish origins. Apparently, he’s been a sort of Spanish B-movie king since the 80s, and Slugs impressed me enough to seek out more of his B-movie delights.
“Killah slugs, for christsakes! Whaddal it be next? Demented Crickets? Rampaging Mosquitas, Maybe?” Yes please, Mr. Simon.

Nit-picking Science: Another thing that softens me to Slugs is that someone did their homework. Yes, there are predatory slugs and yes, while snails are more commonly the carriers of the icky Schistosoma parasite, slugs can too. Aside from a bit of artistic license, (e.g. slug eggs are usually laid in clumps, not in singles) the science in Slugs is better than it should be.

3 comments:

Dex said...

you should put that pic on a t-shirt.

Stacy said...

Great. Just when I've finally gotten the art of nocturnal slug-picking down, I can no longer venture into the garden to protect my snowpeas.

Amber said...

That's one cute slug!
C'mon Stacy, wouldn't you want to toss it into a terrarium and feed it ham?