If you’ve seen Pieces or Pod People by the Spanish director Juan Piquer Simon, then you know what you’re getting into with his monster movie Slugs. We actually decided we wouldn’t eat while watching this one, having seen a clip of one of the death scenes. Not eating while watching Slugs turned out to be a good decision.
In the beginning of the movie, we meet an old drunk guy who’s about to be evicted from his house. The house is a mess, but has good bones. Too bad those bones are lying on the couch, after the slugs eat the soon to be former homeowner. Said bones are found the next morning by the typical horror movie obstructionist sheriff, along with our protagonist, who is some kind of actual engineer as well as a sanitation engineer. The main character figures out that the slugs are eating people and causing other issues like an exploding greenhouse and an exploding head. Of course, no one believes him and there are tons of poorly acted confrontations. Lots of disgusting deaths and super awkward filler conversations later, we discover that the slugs, who live in the town sewer, have been enhanced by nuclear waste. Finally, two other guys believe the main character, and down into the sewers they go, with mixed results.
Characters have broadly but masterfully drawn backstories such as: this one is so drunk she cuts up a slug with her lettuce salad, these two are so horny they have sex in a bedroom where the floor is covered with slugs, this one is “English” even though he’s obviously a Spanish guy being dubbed, this one is such a great businessman he ignores the slugs eating his insides because he’s working.
Slugs is hilariously bad, but also a bit too messed up for my taste at times. There are several scenes of a type I particularly wince at: when someone is basically hurt so badly they’re already dead but they haven’t accepted it yet so they’re still yelling. See also: Pitch Black when the monsters fly off with a screaming torso. And obviously the first scene in Jaws. And the bear trap scene in Southern Comfort. And the party scene in Society. The list goes on.
This is especially bothersome when a character is being killed in public in front of a crowd of people. It’s like I imagine them being embarrassed while also dying, probably because I have such bad social anxiety. “Pardon my death scene; I insist you let me clean up the blood before I fall motionless to the floor. I hope I don’t pee in my pants, and that the sight of my horrible death hasn’t caused you undue stress.” So basically I won’t watch Slugs again, because I’m neurotic. Why are all my posts about bad manners this week?
I can’t explain why I like horror movies but don’t like to watch characters suffer. I can’t really enjoy zombies eating people, even when they deserve it like that guy in Day of the Dead. It’s a conundrum. This is probably why I like ghost stories best, and body horror least.
But I will admit that quality-wise, Slugs makes slightly more sense than Pieces, and is less of a chore to get through than Pod People. If I could watch Slugs edited for TV with just the “acting,” I’d be all over it. The best I can say is that the bombastic music, which someone kindly compiled on YouTube and which I am linking below, is the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in a long time. The end credits music basically sounds like someone should be singing “Slugs! Slugs! Slugs Slugs!” We spent the whole end credits and a good 15 minutes after the movie ended making up lyrics about the movie and singing them, and that was the best part of this movie viewing experience.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, my husband and I occasionally like to look online to see who can find the most ridiculous fan fiction, and a while back I found erotic fan fiction about Slugs. So that exists, somewhere.
Are there any tropes in horror movies that bug you?