Blu-ray Review: Slugs

Slugs are not the most horrific of creatures unless you have an organic garden. The slimy creatures are best known as snails that are too lazy to carry shells. They’re more pests who leave a gooey trail as they creep into a house. But what would happen if they went from annoying to homicidal? Slugs was a Spanish-American horror film that allowed mankind to know the true fear the critters. The movie gets the 1080p resolution after years growing a cult on VHS and cable since 1988.

The quaint New York village seems to be the safest place on earth. This is a world of antiquing and artisan cheese. At the nearby lake, a young couple is enjoying the water. The girl dives in and splashes around without a care. But it all changes fast when she starts flailing around. He thinks she’s faking it, but when she goes under and blood bubbles up, he fears what’s under the water. Back in the town, the menace has arrived. Health Department supervisor Mike Brady (The Warriors‘ Michael Garfield) and Sheriff Reese (John Battaglia) arrive at the home of a local guy only to discover his been eaten up. What got him? Perhaps the same thing eating animals in the area discovered by Don Palmer (Philip MacHale) in the Sanitation Department. What is attacking people and dogs? Bears, rabid dogs, cougars or landsharks are not the suspect. Turns out it’s flesheating slugs. Brady and his wife (Kim Terry) find the pesky critters int their flowerbed. Instead of merely being icky to touch, it bites them. He wants the city to take the killer slugs seriously, but the mayor and others ignore the danger. Brady and Palmer go beyond their jobs in an attempt to save their way of life, but can that be enough against the killer slugs?

This is an amazing nature versus man film since who cold imagine slugs being something to fear. It’s easy to makes a movie that allows us to fear creatures with big teeth, huge claws or muscles that can squeeze us to death. Who lays awake at night fearing slugs creeping around in the dark? Yet Slugs brings the fear. The gruesome special effects add to upping the dangers of the squishy bugs. In one scenes a woman falls onto the bedroom and she’s ripped apart by the slugs. Another scene has a man’s face explodes from the slugs getting inside his flesh. Director Juan Piquer Simón (Pieces) and crew brings an oozing nightmare to life.

The biggest shock of the film is realizing that Philip McHale was a major pitchman in the ’80s. If you grew up in the South, McHale was race car driver The Road Runner in Hardee’s ads for years. It’s good to know that he had a made a legendary film during his career. Even with all the cool bonus features, none of his Hardee’s commercials are included. Here’s a few of the ads in case you grew up in a land without the Big Deluxe.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the nasty nature of the slugs. The audio is Original Uncompressed PCM Stereo. You can hear squishing from the screen. The movie is subtitled.

DVD has all the features of the Blu-ray at a lower resolution.

Commentary Tracks include author Shaun Hutson getting to watch his book turned into a movie. He points out that there are slugs that eat meat so they’re not mutant. Chris Alexander is a superfan who caught it on VHS when it first came out. He gives history of the movie.

Here’s Slugs in Your Eye (7:39) is an interview with Emilio Linder. He had a fun time doing international co-productions including Monster Dogs and Wings of Fame with Peter O’Toole. He never came to America for Slugs since all his scenes were interior. He talks about having to experience death from slugs. He has a massive vinyl record collection behind him. Interview is in Spanish with English subtitles.

They Slime, They Ooze, They Kill (10:46) gets the inside slime from special effects artist Carlo De Marchis. He gives his background on how he ended up in Spain. He shows off snapshots of the exploding house. He explains how they created the killer slugs.

Invasion USA (11:52) sits down with art director Gonzalo Gonzalo. He discusses how his ability to make things look good and work fast made him very successful. He breaks down how he made the slug world. Gives away the secret of how he got people to bleed from slug attacks.

The Lyons Den (21:00) allows the production manager Larry Ann Evans tour the Lyons, NY locations. It’s a wonderful small town when it isn’t covered in man eating slugs. Turns out Lady In White was also filmed there. Both movies came out on Blu-ray this Fall. She goes into how Slugs got an X rating. It didn’t have much of a theatrical life, but did well on cable and home video.

Trailer (1:37) swears this town hasn’t experienced evil until the Slugs arrived.

Arrow Video presents Slugs. Directed by: Juan Piquer Simón. Screenplay by: Juan Piquer Simón, José Antonio Escrivá & Ron Gantman. Starring: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Phillip MacHale, Alicia Morrow, Santiago Alvarez. Running Time: 89 minutes. Rated: R. Released: September 27, 2016.