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Writer/director Gregory Lamberson’s 1988 cult hit “Slime City” was one of those forgotten gems that finally reached a much larger audience courtesy of the DVD back in 2006. As a fan of all things 80’s, the flick was an immediate hit with me, and I was quick to loan the disc to friends looking for something cheesy, weird, and, completely gross. The film — a bizarro genre-bender about a dorky New York City schlub who becomes addicted to a mysterious brew he uncovers in the basement of his derelict apartment building — isn’t anything overwhelmingly special, but Lamberson’s go-for-broke attitude and its oddly effective makeup effects charmed me in much the same way that Frank Henenlotter’s “Brain Damage” and J. Michael Muro’s “Street Trash” had when I first discovered them on videocassette. In fact, I still watch all three at least once a year. At least.
Enter “Slime City Massacre”, the long-awaited follow-up to a film that, in my humble opinion, really didn’t need a sequel. However, since the original has a certified cult following and, as such, a built-in fanbase for another installment, Lamberson has decided to return to that wonderful world of diseased drunkards, random acts of violence, and bright, slimy colors. Much to my unexpected surprise, “Slime City Massacre” is just as thoroughly entertaining and wrongly enjoyable, if not more so, as its 80’s-fueled counterpart. Instead of simply rehashing the same old scenario with new actors and crisp digital photography, Lamberson and crew have taken the premise in an entirely new direction. It’s a post-apocalyptic horror piece for those of us who need their dystopian futures infused with a hefty dose of goopy sleaze and Debbie Rochon transforming into orange sherbert.
The story follows the adventures of Alexa (Jennifer Bihl) and Cory (Kealan Patrick Burke), a young couple who have taken refuge in the irradiated remains of New York City, now loving known as “Slime City”. In order to stay off the proverbial radar, the duo take refuge inside a seemingly abandoned building, a fine piece of real estate that just so happens to be the home of professional rapscallions Mason (Lee Perkins) and Alice (Debbie Rochon). Since they obviously have nothing better to do with their free time, the couples become fast friends. And before you know it, Mason casually invites Cory down to a strange cellar sealed with an enormous silver lock that — surprise, surprise — his newfound friend just so happens to have a key for. Once inside, the guys discover a treasure trove of creepy delights: bottles upon bottles of home brewed elixir and Himalayan yogurt in an assortment of neon colors. Not surprisingly, they snatch what they can and make off with the booty.
Like most people faced with this sort of situation, the foursome decide to greedily stuff everything in their eager mouths, consuming both the yogurt and the booze in record time. As the spirits rise and the clothes come off, our heroes begin to notice something strange about their appearance: not only are they covered in day glow slime from head to toe, they’re also covered in mysterious wounds the morning after. Does that stop them from indulging in these otherworldly delights once again? Of course not! What this means, of course, is that you’re going to be up to your eyeballs in all sorts of illogical nonsense by the 45 minute mark, which, in the case of “Slime City Massacre”, is a good thing. I’m not saying that Lamberson is a terrible writer, mind you, but let’s just say that assaulting your senses with cheap special effects and slime-coated sex scenes is really his forte. No offense intended, mind you. I happen to find those traits admirable.
In order to keep you up to speed with what’s going on, “Slime City Massacre” is peppered with black-and-white flashbacks that attempt to explain what, exactly, these peculiar substances are and why it’s causing these otherwise happy-go-lucky individuals to murder and maim the poor, unwashed residents of New York. And while they do add a bit of helpful exposition to the plot, they’re really just throwaway scenes designed to pad out a script that is admittedly light on ideas. Had Lamberson ditched the backstory and spent more time with our heroes in full “Slime City” regalia, I wouldn’t have complained a bit. After all, when I’m forced to choose between plot and Debbie Rochon sporting a nifty full body vagina, you can rest assured that my cinematic finger’s always resting on the mutant genitalia. If you ask me, that’s exactly the sort of thing “X-Men: First Class” was missing. Oh, yes: Mutant vaginas. Now you now why my family doesn’t read my reviews.
Despite a few minor hiccups here and there, “Slime City Massacre” is the perfect motion picture for those of us who still wish people were making independent horror movies like they did in the 80’s. The acting is suitably wonky, the effects are lovingly cheesy, and the pacing, minus the flashbacks, is always snappy. Lamberson seems to understand what made pictures from this decade work, and by the time that final act comes out of the box with guns blazing, you should be quite satisfied with the slime-saturated recipe he’s put together. If nothing else, “Slime City Massacre” is a fitting tribute to an era when this sort of nonsensical trash was readily available at your local neighborhood video store. And when friends ask to borrow my copy of “Slime City”, I’ll send the sequel home with them, as well.
Gregory Lamberson (director) / Gregory Lamberson (screenplay)
CAST: Jennifer Bihl … Alexa
Kealan Patrick Burke … Cory
Debbie Rochon … Alice
Lee Perkins … Mason
Robert C. Sabin … Zachary
Brooke Lewis … Nicole
Mary Bogle … Swan
Roy Frumkes … Ronald Crump