You thought that cockroaches were the only dirty, little bastards that could survive a nuclear strike without a scratch? Well, think twice, ‘cause apparently there’s one more creep out there whose feeble existence not even an atom bomb could end: everybody and his mother’s favorite hobby-alchemist and cult leader Zachary Devon. Okay, strictly speaking, good ol’ Zack’s mortal shell took more than just a scratch when he and his Coven of Flesh commited mass suicide back in the late 50s, but thanks to the strange ritual they performed before their passing to the other side, their ectoplasm remained well-preserved in dozens and dozens of cups of Himalayan Yogurt and bottles of Home-brewed Elixir… and whenever someone takes a mouth or spoonful of that slimey goo, it won’t take long until his body’s turned into a will-less marionette, swinging to the fiendish beat of Zachary Devon’s very own symphony of destruction. For decades, Zack and his followers have been taking control of innocent people’s flesh that way and now, in the radioactive ruins of a bombed-out New York City, four unsuspecting WWIII-survivors are just one step—or should I better say, one sip—away from becoming the next hosts for the Coven members’ restless souls… and once Zack and his gang have taken over, the blood will soon run red and the slime will ooze!
This is, in a nutshell, the backstory of SLIME CITY MASSACRE, the longtime-overdue sequel to Greg Lamberson’s splatter classic SLIME CITY from 1988. Being a die-hard fan of the original, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that there’s hardly been another low budget horror film in the last years which I’ve been so eagerly looking forward to watch ever since I first heard about it. For months I’ve been following just about every step that led to SCM’s completion, from pre-production to principal photography and beyond, on Greg’s blog and YouTube channel and now that I finally got to see the finished movie, all I can say is that my high expectations haven’t been disappointed at all… the whole cast and crew did a simply outstanding job and the result of their hard work is nothing less than one of the best and most ambitious indie horror flicks I’ve seen in ages!
From the stunning and extremely atmospheric location (most of the movie was shot in the ruins of an abandoned train station in Buffalo, NY) and the cool costumes, make-up appliances and props to the almost perfectly cast faces and the film’s authentic, somewhat gritty b-horror look, everything about SLIME CITY MASSACRE looks very awesome and Chris Santucci’s skillful camerawork, Emil Novak’s impressive set designs and, last but not least, Greg Lamberson’s slick and thoughtful direction all contribute to SCM’s overall awesomeness as well. All you need to do is take a look at just about any scene in the movie to realize just how much thought and effort the people behind it have put into this little flick.
The bright and well-written script is another of SCM’s big trumps, as the film’s multilayer story and elaborative character design goes far beyond your usual (and often a little shallow and generic) b-movie writing… not only does Lamberson give his characters enough depth and edginess to take ‘em beyond the level of mere, two-dimensonal stereotypes, but also does he cleverly advance his movie’s plot by ably switching between the present action in the Slime City (a run-down neighbour in post-nuclear NYC that’s occupied by squatters and hobos and is wrapped in an eerie green gloom at night due to the high level of raditation) and b/w flashbacks, which take place in Zachary Devon’s Soup Kitchen in the 1950s and provide helpful background knowledge about the whole possession-through-ectoplasm angle.
The acting in SLIME CITY MASSACRE, then again, is downright amazing, too—and I mean that not only by indie horror standards! The four leads are perfectly cast and show more than just a bit of talent when it comes to acting out their roles.
Debbie Rochon, FANGORIA radio hostess and b-movie queen, gives a great performance as Alice, a tough, foul-mouthed skank whom you definitely don’t wanna mess with and Roddy Piper-lookalike Lee Perkins is equally good in his role of Mason, a profit-greedy sewer rat who’d even sell his grandmother on the black market for a fast and easy buck. Jennifer Bihl, a lovely young actress from Buffalo, and Kaelan Patrick Burke, a horror novelist of Irish origin, totally rock, too, as Alexa and Cory, a couple of deserters who seek refugee among the cold stone walls of Slime City. Honestly, they’re both so good, it’s hard to believe that neither of them has ever been in a feature film before!
But not only the main actors are great, also the supporting actors (like the sleazy-as-hell mayor of Slime City, for example) give very entertaining performances, and so do the many horror icons who wouldn’t miss the chance to be part of this kick-ass slime’n’splatter fest… Lloyd Kaufman (POULTRYGEIST), Roy Frumkes (STREET TRASH), Robert C. Sabin (SLIME CITY), Mary Bogle (GHOUL SCHOOL), Brooke Lewis (MS. VAMPY), Angelina Leigh (NIGHT OF THE PUMPKIN), Tommy Sweeney (NEW YORK VAMPIRE aka UNDYING LOVE) and Dick Biel (SPLATTER UNIVERSITY) all make an appearance in SLIME CITY MASSACRE and nourish the flick with a good dose of familiar faces and cult movie flair.
But all that wouldn’t even be half as much fun if SCM didn’t deliver the goods in another field as well: the special effects. ‘Cause, let’s face it, guys, when we watch a low budget horror film, we wanna see some truely outrageous and over-the-top killings and stuff… and though the acting, direction and writing in SLIME CITY MASSACRE are strong enough to ensure that the film doesn’t solely rely on its elaborate FX shots, the flick’s still full of cool make-up and splatter effects anyway, most of which are done in a very pleasant old school way and only enhanced by a tad of computer magic. Hence, throughout the movie’s 90 minute running time, we get to see how legs are bitten off, heads are shot in, broken bottles are smashed into people’s faces and, believe it or not, we even get to see how a very unhappy fellow gets his head bitten off by a huge vagina with razor sharp teeth, which has formed on Debbie Rochon’s belly after she drank too much of Zack’s forbidden brew. Now, I don’t know about you, but at least my exploitation-lovin’ heart really bumped like crazy when I got to see the sheer craziness that is SCM’s killings.
To top it all off, the film’s editing is swell-as-hell, too, and so are its atmospheric score and its heavy rockin’ opening and end credit songs. From start to finish, SLIME CITY MASSACRE is one helluva good and highly entertaining ride through the darkest alleys and deepest abysses of horror, splatter and exploitation film making, which every fan of the original SLIME CITY and all the other over-the-top cult flicks from the 70s and 80s, such as THE TOXIC AVENGER, NEON MANICS and THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN, as well as STREET TRASH and BASKET CASE (to whom SCM pays homage in the coolest way ever!), simply has to love! If you’re one of those guys who always sheds a tear of nostalgia when he watches a forgotten b-movie classic from the past and thinks to himself, “They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore!”, I strongly recommend you to get your fingers on a copy of SLIME CITY MASSACRE as soon as it’s out or, if you don’t wanna wait that long, catch it on a festival near you in the not-too-distant future ‘cause this movie is without a doubt one of the most awesome blends of old school approaches and contemporary techniques I’ve seen in low budget film making in a long, long time. Slime’s flyin’ again, fellas, and you really gotta be a crazy bastard if you don’t want a good dose of it runnin’ through your veins as well!