Slime City/Slime City Massacre
Released by: Camp Motion Pictures
Released on: December 13th, 2016.
Director: Greg Lamberson
Cast: Debbie Rochon, Craig Sabin, Jennifer Bihl Kealan, Patrick Burke, Mary Bogle
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Greg Lamberson’s micro-budget yuck fest Slime City comes to Blu-ray along with its sequel on this new double feature release from Camp Motion Pictures.
The first film tells the tale of a man named Alex (Craig Sabin). He spends his days working at a video store but in his spare time he paints, hoping one day to make it as an artist. When he’s not painting or working at the store, he’s hanging out with his girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner). When the film begins, Alex rents an apartment from a pair of seemingly harmless old ladies. The place has got enough space and the price is right – he moves right in.
Before long, he and his pal Jerry (T.J. Merrick) meet one of his neighbors, a minx named Nicole (Huner again) who tells Alex that her door is always open. Later that night, as he’s trying to sleep, he hears her screwing her latest conquest, but the moans of pleasure soon turn to screams of terror – and Nicole has a weird habit of taking the garbage out very late at night. Before long. The next day Alex is invited over for dinner by his other neighbor, Roman (Dennis Embry), a goofy goth guy and would be poet. He feeds him green colored Himalayan Yogurt and plies him with a strange green liquor that comes from the building’s basement. He says it was made by the owner’s father - Zachary Devon - an alchemist and cult leader. After ingesting the booze, Alex starts to change. His body gets slimy, almost like it’s melting, and he finds himself with an urge to kill!
When Alex kills, he returns to normal, but he’s hooked on the yogurt and any time he eats it, he can’t help but chop someone up to get that monkey off his back! Lori and Jerry notice something is wrong with the guy and the cops start poking around – will Alex ever return to ‘normal’ or is he doomed to a life of slimy murder?!?
Slime City is a blast. Yeah it drags a little bit when it focuses on Alex and Laurie’s relationship but aside from, this low budget cheapie has a lot to offer. First and foremost, Lamberson chose from great locations for the film. Shot in Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx we not only get a scene set inside a video store (always a plus!) and a dive bar but some great footage shot in the rundown apartment building that makes for the main set. This film is filled to the brim with the kind of gritty New York City atmosphere that you can’t buy or replicate by shooting elsewhere. The movie also has a fantastic synth score. Some might complain that this dates it, but so does everything else about the movie – the fashions, the hair styles and what not – there’s nothing wrong with a picture looking like a product of its time. The acting is fairly decent here too. Sabin starts off as kind of wishy-washy, he’s very non-threatening and not in the least bit scary but once he gets ‘on the slime’ all bets are off and his meek and mild young man turns into a crazed mutated killing machine.
The real star of the show, however, is the effects work. This is a pretty gross movie, all sorts of slime comes out of all sorts of body holes, people basically turn into giant gooey messes. There’s a fair bit of carnage throughout the movie – a hooker has her throat slashed, a guy has his face based into the floor, a character kicks at Alex only to have his chest open up into a sort of toothy vagina that bites his leg off… and then there’s the big finish. It’s here that Lamberson and his team out do everything that came before in the film when Alex and Lori square off in his kitchen. It gets so over the top that it’s completely ridiculous, but that’s why you’ve got to love it.
You could draw comparisons to films like Street Trash, The Toxic Avenger and maybe some of Frank Henenlotter’s early stuff but Slime City is definitely its own beast. It might share a similar atmosphere and twisted sense of gory humor, but there’s enough going on in the film to make it unique and to make it stand out. This one is an absolute blast!
Slime City Massacre:
Made twelve years after the original, Slime City Massacre takes place after New York City has been decimated by a bomb. Survivors Alexa (Jennifer Bihl) and Cory (Kealan Patrick Burke) team up with Alice (Debbie Rochon) and Mason (Lee Perkins) and before you know it, they’ve made a happy home inside a massive old derelict building.
There is, however, the matter of food. They need something to eat. It’s not like they can wander down the street to the local grocery store, they’re going to have to forage. So Cory and Mason head out into the wasteland to find what they can find, and lo and behold, soon enough they’ve come across a massive stash of Zachary’s old slime and hooch! The guys take the stuff back to their camp and figure they’re all set, for a while at least. Once they start eating it, however, things start to get really slimy really quickly.
This is a very different film from the first one – the action still takes place in New York City but it wasn’t shot there, it was shot in the old abandoned building station in upstate in Buffalo, so the vibe is different right from the start. Having said that, the abandoned building is a pretty fantastic spot to set a post-apocalyptic tale of gooey, gory insanity and Lamberson and company milk it for all its worth. Shot digitally instead of on grainy 16mm film stock the visuals are much cleaner here, but that’s how low budget filmmaking is done these days so they get a pass for that.
Most of the effects work is still done practically. There are a few moments where some low-fi CGI works its way into the picture and you can’t help but notice that, but that’s forgivable. It’s clear that Lamberson and his crew put a lot of thought into this one, however. This sequel manages to follow up the events in the first movie while also expanding on the backstory by way of some clever flashbacks that show us how Zachary Devon and his cult went about doing what they did. The movie also manages to bring back a couple of the characters (with the same actors reprising their roles) from the first film which is a nice touch.
The performances are pretty solid. Debbie Rochan is always fun to watch and she’s good in her part here – and as fetching as ever. Bihl, Burke and Perkins, all relative newcomers, hold their own as well by delivering perfectly believable work in front of the camera. It’s also fun to see Lloyd Kaufman and Roy Frumkes (who was Lamberson’s teacher) pop up here. If this isn’t quite as much fun as the original it’s a solid ‘modern day’ follow up to the original and definitely worth checking out.
Both films are presented on a 50GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition in 1.78.1 widescreen. The original film was shot on 16mm so it looks pretty gritty here. There’s minor print damage throughout, which specks and small scratches mostly, but the colors are nicely reproduced and there’s definitely better detail here than there was on the old DVD release. The second film was shot on digital video so it’s pristine. Colors again look really good, black levels are pretty solid as well. Skin tones look nice and natural and there’s fairly good detail here too. There are some mild compression artifacts noticeable during the darker scenes in the film and some minor crush but overall, things look pretty good here.
Both films receive Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, there are no alternate language options or subtitles provided nor are there any lossless audio options provided. Audio quality is on par with the video quality for the first one, in that it seems like a pretty accurate representation of the low budget source. Expect the occasional pop and some minor hiss here and the levels jump a bit now and then but it’s all part of the movie’s gritty charm. The second movie, being newer and made with more modern gear, sounds cleaner and more robust.
Extras for the first movie start off with an all-new 2016 commentary track featuring Lamberson flying solo. He starts off by talking about how the movie was shot almost thirty years before this track was recorded, before then going on to talk about shooting the opening scene in Long Island City/Astoria in Queens. He talks about how he got into making films after going to the school of visual arts, how fellow classmate Peter Clark worked on the picture with him and how he got to know the cast members that he used in the picture. There’s a lot of great stories here as he talks about the New York City of the day in which the film was made, where the interiors and exteriors were shot, why the film’s leading lady plays a dual role, the nostalgia of the video store scene, why certain camera angles were chosen, how certain scenes in this picture tie into the sequel, budgetary restrictions, how the framing of the film was changed at his own behest before it was put out on DVD, how the film has gone on to have various 16mm prints shown at retrospective screenings over the years, the lack of nudity in the picture, and of course the effects that make the film’s big finish the big finish that it is.
Carried over from the 2004 DVD release (and 2009 re-release) is an older commentary (recorded in 2002) featuring Lamberson again, joined by Robert Sabin. They cover all the bases you’d expect – bringing this in on a low budget fresh out of film school, using all the resources he had available to him at the time for locations and effects and props, casting the picture, his thoughts on the film and more.
Also carried over from the older DVD are a few featurettes starting with a ten minute featurette called Making Slime. This is a pretty great look back at the making of the picture in which Lamberson narrates overtop of a whole lot of behind the scenes footage and photographs. Sure it covers some of the same ground as the commentary tracks but getting the chance to see the material included here? That’s pure gold. In the forty-minute Slime Heads featurette we get an interview with Sabin and Huner that covers, in great detail, how they wound up in this movie, their thoughts on the film, their experiences on set and quite a bit more. Sabin has more to say than Huner does but they’ve both got their fair share of stories to tell.
Rounding out the extras for the first movie are a couple of trailers for the feature, a Return To Slime City promo, menus and chapter selection.
As far as the extras for the sequel are concerned, again we get a new commentary with Lamberson who schools us on how and why he came to make this sequel so long after the original picture was created. Lamberson is joined here by Debbie Rochon and Jennifer Bihl. This is a fairly scene specific talk, noting early on how Craig Sabin returned from the original film to play a different character, how the various cast members came on board to participate in the picture, how the film was shot with a very small crew – essentially three people – and how they came to shoot at the abandoned building in Buffalo and how Lamberson wrote the entire script based entirely around the location. Lamberson also points out interesting nods to the original picture that only those who have seen that film will get, some of the effects work featured in the movie, references to sci-fi and eighties movies and more. The actresses talk about having to shoot some of the film’s racier scenes while covered in slime in cold Buffalo weather, working with the different co-stars in the film and more. There’s a lot of ground covered here, it’s a pretty thorough look back at all the trials and tribulations that were involved in getting this movie made.
The Slime City Masscre Behind-The-Scenes featurette is a quick three minute piece that shows off what it was like on set, how part of the set was flooded, how the actors received direction, how some of the scenes were blocked and more. The Interview with Composer Mars piece is just that, an interview with the man who made the music for the movie. Over the span of seven minutes Mars gives us a quick history of his relationship with Lamberson, how they decided to work together on the film and how he pitched him on the idea of a ‘dirty orchestra’ and what all of that entails. He then goes on to talk about using various instruments to get the right sound for the music, setting up a studio to work in, and how he tried to use specific music and sounds to accentuate specific parts of the movie. The ninety minute Slime City Survivors featurette is essentially an hour and a half of production diaries. As this plays out we see the movie being shot, we get a feel for the locations, we hear from the different cast and crew members about their roles in the production and we see some of the effects work being put together.
Rounding out the extras are some deleted scenes from Slime City Massacre, a blooper reel, a trailer for the movie and a bonus trailer for the director’s most recent feature Killer Rack. Animated menus and chapter selection are provided for both features.
The Final Word:
Slime City and Slime City Massacre are both a lot of fun. The first is a freakishly great example of low budget filmmaking, wild creativity and envelope pushing effects while the second a more pensive but still ridiculously over the top follow up. Camp Motion Pictures has done a good job bringing these movies to Blu-ray. Lossless audio would have been nice, of course, but the transfers are decent and there are a lot of extras on here.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!