Slugs (1988) [Blu-ray]

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2016-10-09 05:30

Slugs (1988)
Studio: Arrow Video
Release date: October 4th, 2016

Reviewed by: Brett Gallman (@brettgallman)

The movie:

Slugs should not be a formative film for anyone, let alone a four or five-year-old kid, yet I somehow found myself weirdly entranced by it at that age. Donít ask me just what in the hell my parents were thinkingójust know that I am grateful that, perhaps, they actually werenít. While it didnít become a staple by any means (I guess my parents werenít that crazy), it no doubt left some kind of impression: for all I know, it was one of the movies that ignited a lifelong fascination with outrageous gore, and it could very well have been instrumental in building up my tolerance for trash cinema. Something about it left an impression, so much so that the image of a skull mask haunted my memory for years until I finally revisited Slugs.

By that point, it had become clear that Slugs is of course not the pinnacle of cinema or anything; hell, itís not even the best film directed by Spanish trash maven Juan Piquer Simon. It is, however, a perfectly entertaining hot mess from this glorious period when the Eurorhorror scene was quickly and furiously running out of fucks to give. Few films are more reflective of this than Slugs, a film that is, yes, about an infestation of killer slugs. And not just any killer slugs, mind you: these are the sort that are able to burrow into peopleís bodies and cause an explosion of blood and guts. Clearly, all pretenses are lost when this is your setup to an exploding head punchline.

Not that thereís anything wrong with any of this, of course. It must be said that whenever the slugs are wreaking havoc, the film is an absolute treat for gorehounds and trash cinema connoisseurs in general. Characters exist for three purposes: fucking, dying gruesomely, or some combination of both. When gooey, rubbery flesh isnít melting away, characters are furiously hacking off their own limbs in a vain attempt to stop the slugsí evisceration. You donít watch a movie titled Slugs for any other reason than to see just what lengths the filmmakers will go to stage outrageous gross-out gags, and Simon delivers. If someone were to declare that Slugs is everything that was wrong with excessive 80s splatter movies, itíd wear that like a badge of honor. Any movie that features a guy being eaten to death by killer slugs while sitting on the shitter tends to know what itís up to.

Of course, anyone familiar with Simonís particular, eccentric brand of nonsense knows Slugs offers more beyond the sleaze and violence. Itís one of those great movies where you wonder if anyone involved ever had any actual interactions with other human beings. Nearly every frame is difficult to identify as anything that could ever happen on this earth: abrasive characters spit out absurd dialogue, particularly whenever hero Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) is attempting to convince the authorities about the townís killer slug infestation. Imagine Jaws 2, only everyone is somehow even more of an asshole, including the Brody himself. Remember how he opened fire on a public beach in that sequel? Small potatoes to what his counterpart does in Slugs, as his ultimate solution (with the aid of the town sheriff, no less) is way more destructive than the goddamn slugs.

The great thing about this movie is that it never bothers to make sense, all the way down to odd set decorations: at one point, a character is clearly eating a hamburger and fries, but, for whatever reason, thereís also a bunch of vegetables on the plate, too. What weirdo would eat such a meal? Only someone trapped inside of the bizarre world of Slugs, a film thatís right in line with the Eurotrash junk from this era in the sense that it will do just about anything to entertain you, even if it means switching modes midstream. One scene may demand the tenor of a scuzzy softcore flick; another might require the bombast of a Cannon movie. Sometimes, you get both in the span of minutes, and it is glorious.

If Slugs hasnít aged particularly well (beyond the obvious reasons, of course), itís only because Iíve seen more completely unhinged, ludicrous efforts in this same vein. Still, you never forget your first, especially one that pushes all of your buttons, which in this case includes staging a Halloween party set-piece (though it goes kind of wasted, unfortunately). I will always have a certain fondness for this dumb movie and its insistence that one must apparently have authority to declare ďhappy birthday.Ē

The disc:

By now, Slugs has been around the home video block a time or two with a couple of DVD releases from Anchor Bay and Image Entertainment. Never, however, have we been able to bask in its glory on high-def until Arrow Video announced its Blu-ray release. Let us all marvel at the perfection of this moment, as Slugs has never been more magnificent (outside of a theatrical exhibition, of course). Certainly, itís come a long way from that fuzzy VHS tape I watched over 25 years ago.

Arrow has also produced more supplements than you might have ever thought possible for Slugs. In an interesting move, novelist Shaun Huston (yes, Slugs was a book before it was a movieóthatís classy as hell) provides an audio commentary, as does horror journalist/superfan Chris Alexander. Four separate interviews with various members of the cast and crew (actor Emilio Linder, effects artist Carlo De Marchis, art director Gonzalo Gonzalo, & production manager Larry Ann Evans) provide a behind-the-scenes look at the filmís production. A Goya Awards promo reel (youíre goddamn right this movie can be billed as ďaward-winningĒ) and a trailer fill out the rest of the on-disc extras, while liner notes from long-time Fangoria contributor Michael Gingold attempt to further convince you of Slugsís worthiness.

If you donít believe me, certainly take the word of one of the genreís elder statesmen. At the very least his endorsement is sure to be more eloquent than mine: at the end of the day, Slugs features enough sleaze, gore, and explosions. That's enough for me.
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