You may not be surprised to find out that when I was a young whippersnapper I also loved horror and when I wasn’t gleefully watching trashy VHS (yes I am that old!) copies of any horror’s I could lay my hands on I also read a number of horror books including a few by British author Shaun Hutson.
Far more disturbing than any of the terrible 80’s and 90’s slashers and such I was viewing the true fear that came from Hutson and other authors books I read was all on the page and in my mind and although I never read The Slugs perhaps this association is what stopped me seeing the 1988 adaptation of the 1982 novel of the same name, that and the fact that I found it hard to believe any book or movie could make the tiny ugly salt fearing garden pests scary.
Although not terrifically terrifying Spanish director Juan Piquer Simón, who made a number of movies during the late 70’s to 90’s under a variety of nom de plumes, crafts a hugely entertaining gore fest from Hutson’s novel which details the multiple deaths in a small town all perpetrated by toxic mutated flesh eating slugs.
Jumping straight in with the bloody lake bound murder of a teenager and the gruesome end of a town drunk it comes down to Health Inspector Mike Brady (The Warriors Michael Garfield) to slowly piece together the nasty and seemingly none related deaths and attribute them to killer slugs which have also inconveniently infested his garden biting his finger and attacking his wife, played by Dynasty star Kim Terry.
As Mike tries and fails to convince a series of local officials of the seriousness of this infestation more innocent town’s folk succumb to the slug slayings including a gardener who cuts his own arm off in distress and a business man who eats one of the tiny beasts by accident which causes his head to explode in a packed out restaurant.
Can Mike stop the slow but deadly swarm of meat obsessed mollusk’s before it’s too late? Of course he can and its tons of fun watching him especially as it seems the script doesn’t take itself too seriously with everyone doubting and mocking Mike for his seemingly ridiculous theory, that is until they get the flesh stripped off them in the next scene.
Slugs does try its hardest to make the micro beasts look menacing working on the same principle as the equally fun and foul Squirm where more is most definitely more. Shots of the masses of slimy slithering black monsters are effective and frequent however the kitchen scene with the lively lettuce provokes more of a laugh than a scream.
Full of clichéd characters always found in these small town invasion movies including the aggressive and incompetent Sherriff, money grabbing Mayor, alcoholic sex pot, nice guy who will obviously die, nerdy scientist and a gaggle of teenagers ready to be slugged ion the face and everywhere else the film may be unoriginal but definitely delivers all you would want from a splatter horror from the period.
There are some great set pieces most notably the bedroom scene where two randy teens regret getting naked when their bed is surrounded by slugs leading to a horrible death for both of them shown in all its gory glory.
Slugs is tons of fun and Arrow’s Blu-ray release is squirming with extras making it the exact sort of film the teenage me and his school mates, including Zombie1, would have loved and still do, I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to watch it!