Slugs (1988) is the kind of movie that has absolutely nothing to hide. If, upon putting the film in your DVD player, you find yourself wondering if Slugs will be a good movie or a bad movie, you don't have to wait long to get your answer; in fact, the very first scene and the very first line tell you all you need to know. As the film opens, a young woman chooses this moment:
to say to her boyfriend "So, you weren't kidding when you said we were going fishing, huh?" What, she didn't pick up on any of the other clues? Like when he said "We're going fishing!"? Or when he loaded the fishing gear into the car? Or when he drove to the lake? Maybe when he took the fishing gear out of the car and walked over to the lake? Or when they got in the boat and started rowing? How about when he sat down and cast his line? Yeah, that's when it finally sunk in!
What these opening moments tell you is that the best you can hope for from Slugs is that it's a good-bad movie. Clearly, it will make no sense. So...is it a good-bad movie? Oh yes...I think it is.
The plot is simple, and it's a storyline as old as time itself: toxic waste turns harmless garden slugs into "giant" (they keep calling the slugs "giant", but...they're not) man-eaters. It's up to a variety of bitter civil servants, such as the town Health Inspector and the town Sanitation Supervisor, to save the day.
What goes oh so wrong- and oh so right- in Slugs? Let's see...the acting is atrocious and the dialogue is far worse, although there are some true gems in there:
"You ain't got the authority to declare Happy Birthday! Not in this town!"
"When I get back, how 'bout if we get naked...and get crazy?"
Sometimes I thought that the film was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but the longer it went on, the less likely that seemed. The soundtrack is generally inappropriate and sounds as if it's lifted from a '70s TV show, the direction is just plain odd: there are countless 5-10 second random scenes sprinkled throughout, and the solution to the slug problem will ultimately cause far more damage to the town and its inhabitants than the man-eating slugs ever could. I know these all sound like negatives, but Slugs sports a lethal combination- lethal to my willpower, that is- of ineptness and '80s cheese, including (but not limited to) '80s-style dancing and the most repulsive mullet ever captured on film.
Slugs also bears the dubious honor of being, without a doubt, the grossest animals run amok movie I've ever seen. There's people stepping in pools of slugs, there's exploding eyeballs, there's decomposition, limbs cut off, goo, blood, and all manner of on-screen disgustingness. While the effects do, at times, look really fake, on plenty of occasions I found myself sporting the unpleasant pinched face of an upper-crust British nobleman who's just been approached by a poor person. This movie is barftastic.
What can I really tell you? Slugs is terrible, but also terribly fun. And really, isn't the world divided into two kinds of people? Yes, it is: those who want to see a film called Slugs, and those who don't. If you're on the fence, however, perhaps one or more of these stills will get you to choose a side:
Come on, that last picture is fucking GOLD. Where do your loyalties lie? You're either with me or against me!