• Slugs

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: September 27th, 2016.
    Director: Juan Piquer Simon
    Cast: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Phillip MacHale, Alicia Morrow, Santiago Alvarez
    Year: 1988
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    The Movie:

    Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) is the Health Inspector in the small upstate New York town of Ashton. It’s not typically a very exciting job but when he accompanies the obnoxious Sheriff Reese (John Battaglia) on a job to evict the town drunk, Ron Bell (Stan Schwartz), things start to get weird. They find Ron dead, eaten by… something. Around the same time Don Palmer (Philip MacHale), the head of the town’s sanitation department, starts getting called on to deal with equally odd happenings – dead animals, strange smells, things in the sewers.

    The next day, Mike’s high school teacher wife, Kim (Kim Terry) – referred to as ‘the wicked bitch of the west’ by her students - is puttering about in her garden when she notices a large slug. Mike pokes it with his finger and it bites him! They start to put two and two together but not in time to save horny, whiskey drinking Bobby (Kris Mann) and his foxy lady friend Donna (Kari Rose) as the roll out of bed and onto a basement floor covered in the slimy little bastards. From there, an old man working in his wife’s greenhouse falls prey, and before you know it, there’s a veritable slug invasion! Don starts digging around and notes that the slug attacks seem to be following the sewer lines and that those sewer lines all seem to connect back to what used to be an old toxic waste dump – will irradiated slugs take over the town? Not if the goofy British scientist (Santiago Álvarez) from Kim’s school has anything to say about it! Meanwhile, the sinister mayor is trying to cram a real estate deal through that will see construction start on the contaminated area as soon as possible!

    Shot on location in and around Wayne County, New York and in Spain, Slugs (which is based on the novel of the same name by Shaun Hutson) is kind of hard to take seriously but it’s nothing if not entertaining. It seems like you could probably get away from the slugs by walking briskly or throwing salt at them or something but no one in the movie ever really tries that option (salt is mentioned at one point but there’s no follow through). Instead, the slugs manage to send people spiraling into various violent, gory death scenes, the most infamous one being when Bobby and Donna boff their brains out and then (drunkenly?) fall into a pile of slugs that somehow appeared nearby without anyone realizing it. The fact that the guy who plays Bobby, Kris Mann, looks like Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine makes the whole thing even more bizarre. Logic would seem to be an afterthought here.

    But hey, if killer slugs are your game, step right up. The movie does a pretty great job of piling on the slime and upping the ick factor enough to make for whatever goofiness is inherent in the plot. The acting is nothing to wright home about, but the pacing is good. Scares are minimal but the fun factor is high.


    Slugs comes to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc from Arrow Video in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks great. Detail is strong throughout, those slime trails really glisten, while black levels are good throughout. Skin tones are nice and natural and color reproduction will occasionally knock your socks off with some impressive, vibrant hues. Texture and depth stomp the old Anchor Bay DVD into the dust, while the image stays very clean, showing nothing more than the occasional white speck in terms of print damage. Grain appears throughout but never to the point where it distracts and the transfer appears to be free of any obvious compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction.

    Audio is presented in English language LPCM Mono with optional subtitles presented in English only. Sound quality is also very strong. Dialogue is easy to understand and the film’s instrumental soundtrack has good presence and depth to it, allowing each instrument used to shine through nicely. Sound effects have some good punch behind them, though are a little flat in a few spots. The levels stay properly balanced from start to finish and there are no problems at all with any hiss or distortion.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary from Shaun Hutson, the man who wrote the novel that the movie was based on, moderated by Michael Felsher. This is a pretty interesting talk about how he came to write this novel as well as a lesser known follow up, his thoughts on the only movie ever made from one of his books, where the movie differs fron his novel and where it abides by it, and more. The disc also includes a second commentary, this one writer/filmmaker Chris Alexander who puts the movie in some cultural context and offers up some observations about what works and what doesn’t in the film. It’s interesting in that he sometimes points out things you might not have picked up on the first time around but it doesn’t go super in-depth or anything and tends to be fairly surface-level.

    From there, we move on to the feaaturettes starting with Here’s Slugs In Your Eye which is an interview with actor Emilio Linder that runs just under eight minutes in length. He talks about moving to Spain from his native Argentina, his work in a band, how he got into acting, and then of course, what it was like working with Simon on this particular film. In the eleven minute They Slime, They Ooze, They Kill: The Effects of Slugs we’re treated to an interview with special effects artist Carlo De Marchis who shares some interesting stories from different projects that he worked on in the Spanish film scene including Slugs, of course, but also some of the work he did on Conan The Barbarian when it was shooting there. He also has some amusing advice to anyone interested in trying to direct slugs and similar creatures should they choose to get into the effects business! In Invasion USA we get a twelve minute long interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo who talks of working with Simon on various TV commercials before getting into feature work with him before talking about what was shot in Spain and what was shot in the United States. The fourth and final featurette is the twenty-one minute long piece entitled The Lyons Den, wherein we sit down with production manager Larry Ann Evans to talk about the locations used in the film in Lyons, New York before being taken on a tour of some of those locations as they exist today.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are an original theatrical trailer, animated menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Slugs is goofy, gory, trashy fun and Arrow Video has done a pretty damn good job bringing the movie to Blu-ray. The extras are plentiful and comprehensive and the presentation is top notch.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!