Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slime City (Greg Lamberson, 1988)

Pus, bits of dead skin, yellow matter custard, beads of sweat, amber-colured fluid, mucus, earwax, unforeseen fecal matter, the human body is constantly challenging the social well-being of its owner. Seemingly inundating it with one corporeal catastrophe after another, your average organic structure manages to cope with these assorted calamities by drowning them in alcohol. While under the influence of this "alcohol," the upright proprietor of the disgusting body in question feels as if it's impervious to the judgmental glances and terse asides being thrown its way as it slithers down the street. Top-notch theory, my rash-laden friend, but what if chunks of yellow and green slime are steadily dripping from your pores? I'm no amateur dermatologist, but I think you'll need more than a couple glasses of wine if you want to successfully mask a mess like that. Well, if that's the case, the only sane option I can think of is to cover your face with bandages and begin murdering derelicts and prostitutes as soon as humanly possible. You see, the bandages will temporarily dampen the hideousness of your appearance (sure, you'll look like Nash the Slash with leprosy, but it's helluva lot better than oozing syrupy sludge all over your virginal girlfriend's shag carpeting), while the murders will appease the deceased Satanist/occult author/fluorescent yogurt maker who's currently using your body to re-enter the world of the living. If, by the way, all this sounds like an excellent idea for a movie, don't bother, because filmmaker Greg Lamberson has already made it, and, I must say, he's made it quite well.

The perfect companion to like-minded films such as Street Trash, Brain Damage, From Beyond, and The Stuff, the wonderfully putrid Slime City is the kind of movie where a razor blade to the face is met with indifference, struggling artists have an extensive collection of kitchen ready cutlery, forgotten boomboxes are worth retrieving (even after the threat of limb removal has been established), and army jackets are used as impromptu picnic blankets. If you have an aversion to lumpy slime, especially when it's being excreted from unorthodox places, then avoid this film at all costs. If, however, you're not averse to seeing globs of mustardy goo spewing with an impure recklessness, you should prepare yourself accordingly, because you're in for a treat.

Taking place in a nondescript corner of New York City, a student in a green army jacket named Alex Carmichael (Robert C. Sabin) is on the lookout for a new apartment. Standing in front of an equally nondescript building, Alex and his denim-adorned girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner) are shown "a lovely apartment" by Ruby (Bunny Levine) and Lizzy (Jane Doniger Reibel), two oldish biddies who got their shit together. If you're wondering if Lori is going to be living with Alex in his brand new apartment, you can forget about it; Lori will not be pressured into making a decision regarding her personal freedom without giving it some much needed thought.

While moving in, his friend Jerry (T.J. Merrick) is helping him carry a mattress up the stairs, Alex runs into his neighbour Nicole (Mary Huner), a sultry drink of water with a thick mane of jet black curly hair (it looked impenetrable from certain angles). "You must be the new tenant," Nicole says to Jerry, assuming, for some reason (what am I saying? she had a fifty-fifty shot) that he was the one moving in. Chiming in before his dopey friend can say a word, Alex corrects her error, and introduces himself. Here's some free advice: Don't pussyfoot around when meeting a woman who wears bondage-friendly armwear. Anyway, when the camera first shows Nicole lurking in her doorway, this sinister-sounding synthesizer flourish can be heard on the film's soundtrack. And if there are two things I love in this world, it's goth babes who like to lurk while wearing convoluted armwear and sinister-sounding synthesizer flourishes.

Unfazed by his encounter with Nicole (the thought her probably black panties pressing tightly against her creamy vulva no doubt still dancing around inside his head), Alex gives Lori "the keys to his kingdom." Unfortunately, Lori isn't quite ready to move in with Alex just yet, and politely rebuffs his offer (she does, however, accept the keys to his place). Shortly after Lori and her supercute haircut have left, Alex meets another neighbour, this time it's Roman (Dennis Embry), an affable poet who had a "I play bass in a Bauhaus tribute band on weekends" vibe about him. Wait a minute, poets aren't usually affable. What gives? It would seem that underneath Roman's friendly demeanor lies an ulterior motive.

More on what that ulterior motive was in a second, let's talk about Alex's first night in his new apartment. The sexually frustrated painter–oh, didn't I mention that he's a sexually frustrated painter? well, he is (on top of painting, not having sex, and going to school, he also works at a video store)–lies in his bed listening to the sound of Nicole moaning with pleasure as a result of whatever that heavy metal dude she brought up to her apartment was doing to her (the whole sequence is seen through Alex's eyes, so we don't exactly see what this guy is actually doing to make her moan like that). At any rate, the last thing we hear is the sound of Nicole's gentlemen caller screaming. Interesting.

Making good on his offer to invite him over so that they may ingest "nourishment" together, Roman introduces Alex to the flavourful world of Himalayan yogurt. While they're eating the paste-like substance, Alex wonders why Roman's is blue. It's simple, blue's his colour, Roman tells him without missing a beat. Fully satisfied with his answer, Alex continues to consume the green goo. After they're done with the "yogurt," Roman offers Alex a glass of mysterious wine, which, like Alex's Himalayan yogurt, is also green.

Staggering home, no doubt feeling the adverse effects of the wine and the yogurt, Alex suddenly realizes that he has misplaced his keys. Luckily, Nicole is waiting in the hall to help him out. Beckoning him to her apartment, Alex approaches her door as if he were in a trance (the jagged chunks of wood the covered all the passage ways inside her apartment created this cool vaginal effect). Once in the apartment, Nicole says, "I turn you on, don't I?" I'm not sure he had much time to answer, because before you know it, Nicole is unmooring her aforementioned tight black panties (I knew they'd be black and I knew they'd be tight) in a highly unique manner (she pulls them out through a slit in the side of her skirt) and preparing to plant herself on top of his probably erect penis.

After finishing a black and white dream that involved sharing some wine with a hooded figure, Alex wakes up to find that his entire body is covered with slime. At first, the gunk oozing from his pores is translucent (in other words, it doesn't stop him from performing errands), but the slime gets worse as the day goes by. Why is this happening to him? Has it got anything to do with the weird wine and wonky yogurt? If Nicole is involved, is it okay if he still has sexual intercourse with her on a semi-regular basis? And how many more people will he have to murder in order to not to perspire slime all the time? While I would love to answer these and many other questions, I'd like to shift the focus of my gaze to more important things, like, for instance, the shape of Mary Huner's knees, Ivy Rosovsky's leopard print leggings, and the prostitute's jelly bracelets.

Oh, Mary Huner's knees in Slime City, oh, how I love thee. Actually, to be perfectly honest, the main reason I noticed her knees was because I couldn't help but make a note in my knee-book that Lori and Nicole had similar knees. Originally, I thought it was just another case of kneeful happenstance (a frequent occurrence in the disjointed world of kneecap appreciation). No, I'm afraid it wasn't until the movie was over that I realized that Lori, the virginal girlfriend, and Nicole, the whorish neighbour, were being played by the same person. My initial knee-jerk reaction was to lavish the majority of the praise on costume designer/choreographer/actress Ivy Rosovsky, who, on top of being my own personal style icon, does an amazing job in this movie (particularly with Nicole's sexy ensembles). However, the more I thought about the film, the more I began to value the subtle intricacies of Mary Huner's performances.

It's true, the giant black wig did make it somewhat easier for Mary Huner to lose herself in the Nicole character (it fully envelops the upper part of her body), but things like overall attitude, vocal temperament, facial ticks, and various other mannerisms were all manufactured by Mary, and by her alone. Managing to keep a straight face while Madame Selina (Marilyn Oran), a fortune teller (one who clearly has a profound distaste for blinking), instructs her to be wary of the "watchdogs of evil," Mary is an utter delight as Lori, the commitment phobic girlfriend of a man who finds himself hooked on green yogurt (it's officially name is actually "ectoplasm").

While I loved Mary as Lori, especially during the epically gruesome showdown in Alex's kitchen, it was her work as Nicole that impressed me the most. Perpetually sheathed in her spider web inspired lingerie, Mary imbues Nicole with a sexual intensity; an intensity that boils over during her Ivy Rosovsky choreographed dance number. Contorting her lithe frame like it were a perverted plaything, Mary heaves and thrusts her way into the deviant hall of fame. Quirky fun-fact: It was during Nicole's erotic dance of mental illness that I discovered that she and Lori shared the same knee type (type-o-titillating).

If only they could have gotten Mary Huner to play the prostitute Alex brings up to his apartment as well. I mean, no offense to Eva Lee (who plays the prostitute in question), but her delivery of the line, "you crazy, bastard!" after being slashed in the face with a straight razor, while hilarious, was downright awful.

Just curious, how many times have I mentioned Slime City costume designer/choreographer/actress Ivy Rosovsky so far in this entry, including the time I just mentioned her? Really? Four times, you say? Well, let's make it five. I mean, check out Ivy Rosovsky in those leopard print leggings, her sense of style is simply to die for.

Whether they're covered in a pair of sparkly fishnet pantyhose or smeared with her own blood as a result of being stabbed with a fork, Mary Huner's killer yet subtly sublime stems are pushed to the limit of their sexiness in Slime City, a film that not only sports vaginal doorways, but vaginal stomachs as well (Alex's cunt-tummy eats the arm of a mugger in an alleyway) to fill a large chafing-dish. This gam anxiety is best observed during the film's wonderfully disgusting finale, where Lori's legs, and, not to mention, her winsome feet, come lower extremity-to-lower extremity with torrents of yellow arterial spray and clumps of sausagey entrails.

After typing the word "cunt-tummy," it dawned on me that Slime City is more than just a movie, it's a way of life. Films where lines like, "the slime must be appeased" are taken seriously are my lettuce and gravy. Made for practically no money, yet containing bundles of refried creativity, this leaky endeavour does a better job of exposing the horrors of yogurt addiction than most of the overpriced, directed by committee pieces of cinematic garbage floating out there in the festering cesspool that is Hollywood.

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  1. I LOVED this review, and can't wait to share it with Mary and Ivy! Thank you, I've never read one like it before. :)

  2. Cunt-tummy is yummy to my bummy.

    I should've figured you would get to Slime City. Have you seen Necropolis (1987)? It's either up your alley or up your ass.

  3. glamberson: Even though I just found out about the movie a couple of weeks ago, Slime City will always have a special place in my mucus-clogged heart.

    Oh, and high five Mary for me and tell Ivy she has awesome taste in clothes. :)

    Thomas Duke: Holly shit, that's a lot of "ummy" for one sentence.

    Despite the fact my alley, and my ass, is littered with garbage right now, I will gladly make room for Necropolis. I mean, six-nippled witches who breast feed demons? Sold!

  4. Nice write-up! The title and cover are pretty weird too.

  5. Great review. This movie looks ridiculously splattery and erotic. I need to watch it.

  6. My wife and I just watched this for the first time last night. our minds are now blown (even more blown) that both characters were played by the same actress! Great review of a great movie.