Director – Juan Piquer Simón
Cast – Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip MacHale, Alicia Moro, Santiago Álvarez, Concha Cuetos, John Battaglia, Emilio Linder, Kris Mann, Kari Rose, Manuel de Blas
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Slugs is a film I remember passing by numerous times at a now defunct rental shop I used to frequent as a child, but sadly I never gave this one a chance and kept renting Squirm instead. Going into this piece I expected cheese and some laughable antics, and while I was given both of those enjoyable elements of 80s horror I did not expect to actually see some damn good horror, but Slugs provided the goods in awesome fashion and made for a film I should have checked out years ago.
When the townsfolk of a rural community begin dying mysterious gory deaths the authorities are baffled in their feeble attempts to find the culprit. When health worker Mike Brady suggests that it is possible that mutated flesh-eating slugs are at fault for the killings he is ridiculed, however the town will soon learn that Mike is right and will fall victim to the vicious slugs without Mike’s help.
Sound cheesy enough for you? Cheese hounds will adore this film due to the fact that it involves mutated slugs that chomp away at those unfortunate enough to cross their path, and despite this seeming like a far-fetched way to provide good horror the film’s three writers made it happen in this adaptation of Shaun Hutson’s novel. It does not take long before the slug action kicks in, giving us numerous gory sequences that I did not expect to see in such a low-budget piece, and this gore was accentuated with ridiculous scenes where gallons of blood would literally erupt from the victim in hilarious fashion. It was these scenes that saved the film and made it such an enjoyable flick for me, and also one that you should not take seriously – as if I really needed to tell you that.
Director (and co-writer) Juan Piquer Simon, who gave us the awesome 1982 film Pieces, did a great job with this piece, making the most of a low-budget and directing the funds to where they needed to be: the kill sequences. It was Mr. Simon that made the ridiculous kill sequences I just mentioned so darn fun to watch thanks to his positive execution and usage of over-the-top gore. We get the usual acting performances associated with low-budget 80s horror flicks, and much like the insane antics going on they only added to the fun felt by this experience. Simon’s atmosphere is great, coming via positive sets and locations that enabled the hoards of small slugs to actually appear quite creepy at times, a sign that good direction can solve almost any problem. There really is not much more that I can say about this flick. It is what it is, and what it is is low-budget horror done right.
Overall, Slugs is a fun late-80s film that blends all of the usual fun elements associated with the celebrated decade. The cheese is plentiful thanks to the insane story and great gore-inducing direction from Juan Piquer Simon, making for an underrated and under-appreciated horror film that I suggest you check yourself I you dig yourself some horror cheese.