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It's amazing; the things you can survive when you are broke. For the working-poor, the taboos around things such as bad housing, diet or safety are fluid guidelines as opposed to steadfast rules, and can be placed on a sliding scale. Despite it being a medical miracle, I spent two years when I was younger substantiated on black coffee, Top Raman and Camel cigarettes alone. When your pockets are empty, your body adapts. It makes due. Poor people take uninsured risks every day and don't even think twice. It is just part of life. You don't see real poor people problems much in entertainment. Maybe the big wigs in Hollywood think it wouldn't be exciting enough. I mean it's deadly, but is lead poisoning really sexy? Despite several tv shows supposedly about the subject, the broke person's relationship with housing sees little media representation. The process in which you try to find a place that fits your budget, will accept you and won't lead to your death isn't the kind of image they would want on TV, at least at this point. But there are some flicks that get it. Just a handful of examples out there that the proletariat can feel on a deeper, black mold infested level. For a great but properly nauseating case, we have Slime City(1988). It knows the dangers of being broke and gives us a slime soaked fable for the true cost of a bargain.
We meet a young couple, Alex (Craig Sabin) and Lori (Mary Huner) while on the hunt for an affordable apartment for Alex. He settles on a run down building with a reasonable rate, and soon they are moving his shit in, with the help of his friend. Originally it appears the complex is mostly inhabited by the elderly, but soon we meet the poet Roman (Dennis Embry) and the dark and sexy hooker Nicole (Mary Huner again), both seemingly off people from the get-go. There is a side plot where a student couple is going through a rough patch involving a lack of sex and, I suspect, Alex’s whiney ass attitude, as well as some minor slice of student life moments. That is, until the wannabe Nick Cave-looking poet next door pressures him into a dinner of so-called “Himalayan Yogurt”, (a brightly colored slop) and something just as colorful to wash it down with. Alex eats his bright green serving, starts tripping balls and fucks the oddly hot (and familiar) prostitute neighbor. The Next morning he wakes up hungover and covered in orange slime, so he decides to take a walk to clear his head. His condition only worsens, and he dips into an alley to melt alone but unfortunately just ends up killing a homeless dude for talking shit. Luckily, as it turns out, snuffing out hobos temporarily cures melty-orange-slime-face-syndrome, but the shit only gets more glutinous from there, Including more goop in various colors, relationship problems and human possession from the beyond.
It is a sticky mess of quotable cliche dialogue, melty special effects and what seems like the set up for a quirky 90s BBC show. Outside of Dr. Jekyll style goo-murder tendencies, our main character's plight mirrors sitcom hijinks. It portrays the trials of being a starving-student, dopey larger friends and sexual frustrations, in the plucky tone of low rent early 90s television. The atmosphere can be nearly cheerful, in between the goofy imposing music and glop slinging. Its Choice of colors and odd logic give it a cartoon effect. Think Nickelodeon in the ghetto, but only in the weird days of things like Weinerville and You Can't Do That on Television. Despite a few lulls in the silly plot, it's mostly engaging and all ends in a beautiful slippery but tragic finale.
There is a lot going on, it quickly transfers between sci-fi, horror, and fantasy elements as it moves along. It's an extremely low budget flick but pulls out all the stops for its gore. Blood, pus and other sludge greases the action, every few scenes, to keep it entertaining.
Because of its penchant for melting human flesh and bright colored unknown substances, it instantly draws comparisons to Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage (1988) and Jim Muro’s Street Trash(1987), though Gregory Lamberson separates himself with a surprisingly kinder tone, doing it all with far fewer resources. It's less polished than most of Henenlotter’s efforts and doesn't hit the artistic notes. While the direction can be cold, it packs some violent, messy fun and plays with some interesting ideas. Lamberson continued the theme over 20 years later with a sequel, Slime City Massacre (2010).
The majority of the acting is rivaled by school plays and dinner theater, but this does little to sour the film’s flavor. Most of the actors seem to be playing variations of themselves and are utilized in a consistent manner. The big exclusion to this rule is Mary Huner, who takes on two roles in the film. While her acting is still very much amateur, she ends up being the best part and pulls off the two roles in an entertaining way. It took me a few watches to realize it was her playing both women, and it makes me wonder if that duel casting choice was a cryptic message about Alex's infidelity or just done out of necessity and ability.
Slime City is a grimy b-movie classic that knows The Struggle and invokes 90’s Double Dare flashbacks. For fans of goop and gore, it will be a worthwhile flick to catch, if for the final scene at least. It may also be something you relate to, if of course you have ever been broke as fuck, in a rocky relationship and forced to eat something gross at some point. But who hasn't spent a few years slumming it up, fucking hookers and killing people, while rocking a really bad complexion?
 1h 21min | 1988
 Director: Gregory Lamberson
Writer: Gregory Lamberson


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