'Slugs (Special Edition)' [Blu-ray]
(Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Phillip MacHale, Alicia Morrow, Santiago Alvarez, et al / Blu ray / R / (1988) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: The townsfolk of a rural community are dying in strange and gruesome circumstances. Following the trail of horrifically mutilated cadavers, resident health inspector Mike Brady is on the case to piece together the mystery. He soon comes to a terrifying conclusion giant slugs are breeding in the sewers beneath the town, and they re making a meal of the locals!
Blu-ray Verdict: Well, for a movie that was actually BANNED in the Australian state of Queensland until the early-'90s when the Queensland Censorship Board was disbanded, to my mind (and my eyes now having watched this delicious Blu-ray version of it), 'Slugs' ain't all that shocking (and definitely not shocking enough to be banned in the first place, that's for damn sure!)
Regardless, it's still a monster film's homage with lots of man-eaters slugs and loads of blood, including revolting, repulsive scenes involving, yep, you guessed it, slugs! This chiller from the late 80's comes packed with a middling budget amount of filmed thrills, chills, some good action, decent gore, questionable "horror", and some rather lighthearted and it has to be said at times, quite funny moments.
'Slugs' is a hybrid of monster movies from the 50's and modern American productions that have come through the B-movie styles. Basically, people are dying mysteriously, and terrifyingly and nobody has a clue as to what the general cause for the deaths. Only a Health Inspector named Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) finds a possible origin, but his theory of murderous slugs is laughed at by the authorities; of course.
But when his wife Kim (Kim Terry) is attacked he discovers that spilled toxic waste is being helpfully cleaned up by the slug population and is indeed causing the countless deaths. Only when the slugs are mutating into blood-thirsty man eaters and the body count begins to rise do the police move into action. Indeed, a "slug expert" from England begins snooping around and after some peculiar finds, also tends to agree with Mike.
Based on a novel with the same name by Shaun Hutson, 'Slugs' brings us en masse of close ups of this breed of killer gastropods that acquire an appetite for human flesh. Not always scary, most times laughable, that can also apply to the actors that play their parts here. For the most part they are actually ok, sure, but they are nothing to be remembered by. For my money, 'Slugs' has almost the same characteristic as 'Fright Night', but nowhere as entertaining.
As for the script melding with the acting, blending with the "CGI" of the late 80's time, there are times where the acting is weird and doesn't sound normal, and for the most part there are also two parts to most all the death scenes. One part is good, and the other, improbable! The improbable part is that many times during death scenes victims will struggle and won't be able to resist the power of the slug. People get dragged away, while others get pulled down; are the slugs really that strong? I doubt it. These slugs are supposed to be supernatural so they have to have some other mutation besides teeth.
The good part to the death scenes is that there is plenty of blood. No doubt will gore hounds get their fill. And although the scenes are predictable, it's still good to watch. What surprised me the most was the volume of slugs that were used for the movie. And it's not like they were prop slugs either. This was live footage of hoards of slugs! Some of these scenes were inside houses too; could you image the mess that had to be cleaned up afterward? I'm sure people are fine with cleaning up fake blood, but real slug ooze? Not so sure.
In closing, 'Slugs' is one of the very few films that director Juan Piquer Simon did with a little effort. The dialog is weird, but the sheer magnitude of live slugs that were used should grab the viewer's attention quite nicely. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Brand new restoration from original film elements
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Uncompressed PCM Stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by writer and filmmaker Chris Alexander
Here s Slugs In Your Eye an interview with actor Emilio Linder
They Slime, They Ooze, They Kill: The Effects of Slugs an interview with special effects artist Carlo De Marchis
Invasion USA an interview with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo
The Lyons Den an interview and locations tour with production manager Larry Ann Evans
1988 Goya Awards promo reel
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter
Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by writer Michael Gingold