I grew up in a little town called Capreol – about twenty miles north of Sudbury. I am talking high north boondocks – just a little town built up around a bend in the Vermillion River.
I loved that little town.
Capreol was a junction for the CNR and the CPR. This is the town where the two railroad lines shook hands and said howdy. My grandfather, Hanlan Vernon, worked as superintendent of the shops – where they worked and repaired the big locomotives.
I could spin this whole blog entry into a long running free form of nostalgia – but what I really wanted to talk about was the Audion Theatre.
The theatre was built in 1923 by Henry Plexman. It was built with people in mind – complete with what they referred to as “The Crying Room” – a separate room at the back of the theatre from which parents with babies could watch the movies without disturbing any of the rest of the audience with the sound of their crying babies. Plexman’s daughter, Jean Bilsborough, worked in the ticket booth and at the snack bar. Back then it was called the Imperial Theatre – and it ran Roy Rogers and Johnny Weismuller and the Bowery Boys movies regularly.
In 1943 Plexman put the theatre up for sale. His daughter Jean and her husband Harry Bilsborough bought the theatre and renamed it the Audion Theatre.
Like I said, I grew up focussed on that theatre. There was a new double bill every week and I always waited breathlessly for the new program to come out. It would be run off on colored paper on a ditto machine and would show every movie that was coming out that month. I would save up my paper route money and what I could collect from the empty pop bottles I would scavenge and bring for a deposit to Mazzuca’s IGA – our local grocery store.
Back then I was watching John Wayne and Kirk Douglas go up against the War Wagon. I watched Mike Henry as Tarzan – (in a suit?) butt-kicking the Barcuna the Jaguar Man. I watched Peter Cushing stake his life on killing Dracula in about six or eight different Dracula movies.
And in 1968 I saw THE GREEN SLIME.
I was ten years old when I saw this movie. I remember being scared and a little confused. I wasn’t always sure what was going on in the movie – but when those creepy one-eyed June-bug-critters started climbing all over the space station and the lasers started blasting I knew exactly where I was – in the middle of a space monster movie!
I saw it again last night. I had DVR’d it from the Turner Movie Channel – (and I by god, love, the Turner Channel).
Did it hold up.
Well, not exactly.
I really dug the cool Thunderbirds-style special effects. All of those rockets ships and space stations and the occasional wire – it is way wicked cool in a geeky uber-ten-year-old kind of fashion. I have a great appreciation for this old school SFX approach. It feels so much like something that somebody jury-rigged in a basement over a long summer of time on their hands. There is none of that slick Hollywood CGI that has almost spoiled things for the old school cheese fanatics such as myself.
The dialogue sucked harder than the great black hole that all of the little black holes in the universe are thinking about when they are fiddling themselves on certain Saturday nights.
The acting was nonexistent.
The love interest was there – and I think if that lady doctor with the please-put-me-out-of-my-misery accent ever got out of the way long enough those two dudes – whose hair never mussed no matter how many space helmets they dragged on or off of their carefully-gelled hairdos – could have gotten off to a quiet corner of the space station – (shit, does a round space station even have any corners???) – and danced kinky mambo moves over a psuedo Jimmy Hendrixs soundtrack.
And speaking of music – that tune has stuck in my head ever since I saw the movie way back in 1969 – when I watched it at the Audion Theatre.
According to Wikipedia – (you can stand now and sing the Wikipedia anthem, if you have to) – the script was written by a couple of dudes named Charles Sinclair and Bill Finger – whose sole claim to fame appear the creation and scripting of the original Adam West BATMAN television series – and I believe it whole-heartedly.
There were a few shots that made me wonder if maybe the dude who made ARMAGEDDON with Bruce Willis might not have been thinking about the beginning of this movie when he sat down to script it out – and there were a few shots that made me wonder if the dude who wrote ALIEN might not have been thinking of THE GREEN SLIME when he wrote his wonderful script – so if nothing else we should be quietly grateful that this little American-acted Japanese-filmed movie was ever made – in order to inspire those two dudes who made ARMAGEDDON and ALIEN.
(and I know there are a lot of you out there snickering at my reference to ARMAGEDDON – but if you didn’t care for that movie you can cheerfully go and enema-cize yourselves with a mixture of squashed chili peppers, prickle thorn, itching powder and liquid flea-bites – because I still dig watching Bruce Willis blowing the sweet cheerful shit out of an asteroid the size of Texas)
I enjoyed watching it – and might actually watch it again sometime if I ever happen to stumble across it – perhaps blind drunk and experiencing a fever of one-oh-three degrees – if nothing else but for those cool little rubber-suited one-eyed tentacle monsters that grew up out of the green slime.
I love me a rubber-suited monster.
Lastly, I want to mention that according to IMDB – (and you can all rise and sink the IMDB theme song, if you have to) – the rubber-suit monsters were actually manned by little Japanese orphans that they found out in the streets of Tokyo. They stuffed them into the rubber suits backwards and let them wander around the set. There is reported to be at least two or three children still alive today – wandering the back streets of Tokyo – still trapped in those rubber-suit space boogie outfits. They’ve grown a bit – which makes it a little hard to understand just what it is they are mumbling in those rubber monster suits.
And last to lastly – I really want to learn how to boogy like a space man.
Yours in storytelling,