The Slime People

      Comments Off on The Slime People

The old Hollywood studios saw Robert Hutton as a “knock-off” Jimmy Stewart; an actor good for supporting roles and sometimes the lead in a lower budget feature. Chances are you’ve seen Robert Hutton in something since he has appeared in such classic films as The Steel Helmet (1951), Cinderfella (1960), and Trog (1970). Hutton is a part of that strange milieu of actors who seems to appear everyday in one film or another on Turner Classic Movies.

In 1963 Robert Hutton became an auteur of sorts when he directed and starred in The Slime People for Donald J. Hansen Enterprises. The Slime People, an “atomic scare” science-fiction B-Movie, notoriously ran out of funding after nine days of shooting. For a long time The Slime People found a second life as one of those films in the public domain that was released again and again on really cheap VHS tapes. In the nineties The Slime People was a fixture at the front counter display at turnpike truck stops.

On those days when I felt like I had just watched every movie my parents owned when I was a kid I might put on The Slime People. It promised thrills but delivered a dull, weary spectacle of stuntmen in rubber suits chasing the beautiful Susan Hart to the chagrin of pilot Robert Hutton and scientist Les Tremayne. There’s plenty of repetitive exposition and muddy wide shots of creatures “terrorizing” Los Angeles.

The Slime People always reminded me of Superman and the Mole Men (1951) but with a lot less action and no Superman. These old, low budget films about atomic monsters all seem to suffer from a lack of suspenseful pacing since they’ve been so padded just to make the mark to be considered a feature. If one doesn’t have a deep affection for one of the stars in a movie like The Slime People it’s probably a lost cause. At times The Slime People is unintentionally funny but not to the extent of something like Invasion Of The Saucer Men (1957).

Once you’ve seen a dozen poverty-row monster movies from the fifties and sixties you really start to appreciate filmmakers like Edgar G. Ulmer and William Castle. The subversive artistry of the former and the gimmicky showmanship of the latter really did salvage some otherwise awful little movies. Those types of big Hollywood personalities don’t factor into The Slime People though. It’s just a bad movie that will only appeal to a very small niche audience.