by David Christopher Bell
Mmmm. Grab a snack and get ready for some hot viscid action because we’ll be talking about movie sludge today! We’re talking creeping and colorful gunk – the thicker and scarier the better.
Why? You ask? Because behind every adult – every respectable member of working society – is a little kid, morbidly fascinated with the creepy and slimy.
This is why Reality TV thrives like it does.
8. TGRI Mutagenic Ooze in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Mutant Turtle-constructing ooze was made by the fictional Techno Global Research Industries, a company no doubt expanding the limits in which human beings are able to bass drop. Oddly enough – whatever it is they actually do in the film is causing a lot of toxic waste that they appear to be putting in canisters and just… kind of… tossing around. This is how both Splinter and the Turtles come to be.
The stuff seems innocent enough into you take into account that A: It can also be made to make much more sinister stuff (Supershredder comes to mind) and B: It never really goes away. The company is into cleaning it up in the film, but that doesn’t really get resolved enough to assure us that it’s not on the loose. Also – we have no idea what the effects this stuff has besides super-growth. For all we know April O’Neil is going to die of Leukemia just by being around it.
7. The Psychomagnotheric Slime in Ghostbusters 2
Nothing more sinister than a slime that responds to human emotional states, especially when it’s surrounded by anger. It’s enough to make a slime want to reach out and steal a baby or two. While this stuff could potentially be used for good – this is not the case with the big river of pink madness running under the streets of New York City, slowly bubbling up through the sewer grates, causing our precious fur coats to come alive.
I won’t lie to you, the first time I saw this film I couldn’t get through it all. Partially it was because I found it to be too commercial compared the original film, clearly designed to sell toys – and partially because I was five and freaking terrified. Actually it was mostly that second thing.
6. The Extraterrestrial Symbiote in Spider-Man 3
Speaking of movies that are hard to sit through…
If you happen to be a fan of either the Spider-Man comics or Sam Raimi then this movie, while bad, is still enough to at least give you a quick fix. For everyone else, this film is pretty remarkable in terms of shittiness. That being said, Venom was pretty killer… and before Venom we also saw the symbiotic meteor alien it spawned from, which certainly has to be one of the coolest CGI goops in film history.
Not only is it neat to look at as an effect but it also has a great personality to it. It slinks and pounces both sloppily and forebodingly, not unlike a drunk cat. Once it gets on the skin it’s almost desperate in the attack – greedily webbing its tendon-like spreading form until you are unable to resist, and eventually come to enjoy the power it gives you. Then, in a fate worse than death, it turns you into a hipster asshole. Chilling.
5. The Black Oil in The X-Files: Fight The Future
For anyone geeky enough to love The X-Files but too cool to remember all the little intricacies of its ridiculous plot, the Black Oil was an alien virus in the form of a substance not unlike earth’s petroleum. Once it inhabits you it does two things: makes your eyes totally goth-awesome, and takes away your free will. The latter of the two kind of sucks.
In the first movie we see that this virus has now mutated and now has begun to grow full sized monsters in anybody unlucky enough to be infected. This unfortunately coincides with our shadow government inexplicably working with the aliens to develop a way to distribute the virus in bee form, giving us all one more reason to hate the poor little yellow sons of bitches.
If you grew up in the 90s you probably spent the first half of your life having nightmares about this stuff, which is why you’ll be happy to know that on set – it was nothing but molasses and chocolate syrup mixed together.
4. Gelatinous Alien Spore in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
Not the 1956 one, nor the 1993 one… and no, not the new one with James Bond or the shitty knock off made the same year called Invasion of the Pod People. Also not the remake we’ll no doubt be watching five years from now. We’re talking Jeff Goldblum and Spock – that one. You know the one. Donald Sutherland screaming like a freak.
The movie begins with what I believe is the only time we ever see the aliens in their extraterrestrial form for this movie or any other version. Turns out that they look like frog eggs in space, which is pretty scary by itself – but then we see what they do when they first arrive, and that’s some terrifying stuff.
It’s like The Thing, but with plants. The goo spores snake out little tentacles and begin to replicate the first thing it comes into contact with. It’s a really cool effect, especially for the 70s.
This film also happens to be another reason to like sound designer Ben Burtt, who did all of the pod and alien sounds for this film. Burtt is probably best known as the guy behind Darth Vader’s breathing sounds, R2D2s robot bleeps, as well as Wall-E’s voice – all coming from Burtt’s mouth. Also – that buzz by the lightsabers was also his creation. The dude is mack daddy.
3. The Blob
This seems like it should be an easy #1 for this list, but here’s the thing: The Blob isn’t really a vindictive creature, is it? Sure – it kills, but it’s killing to eat. Also it doesn’t seem very smart, but rather just wanders around consuming whatever it can. Now there’s a chance that within all that goop, there is a real bastard – but there’s really no telling. It’s actually what makes this thing so scary in the first place: it has no clear motivation besides hunger.
In the end the poor dumb jackass blob gets put in frozen purgatory at the Arctic, no doubt getting more and more pissed off as it waits for global warming to kick in.
My personal favorite moment from this film is in the Diner’s basement when the Blob has completely covered it and Steve McQueen and pals are just standing there, waiting to die. There’s like a good two or three minutes where everyone inside and outside is just standing there and shrugging like, “Well, time for that blob to kill and eat everything.”
2. Xenomorph Saliva in Alien
Not to be confused with their acidic blood – which is less of a goop and more of a spray. Of course, the drool may be totally harmless in these films, but what it indicates is far worse than anything on this list so far. At any point you’re walking down a long space corridor and look down to notice a puddle of this stuff forming – you best believe it’s the last thing you’ll see. Dripping from their snarling double-mouths, this slime was just the icing these guys needed.
If it makes you feel any better – it was just K-Y Jelly. A whole lot of K-Y Jelly that some poor special effects department production assistant no doubt had to go buy at the supermarket, along with red food dye and plastic tubing.
If the fact that these aliens were covered in lube doesn’t help make them less scary – how about the fact that their scary alien sounds were done by Percy Edwards – an animal voice artist who was also responsible for the dog in Labyrinth and Fizzgig in The Dark Crystal.
1. The Nanomorph Poly-Alloy (Liquid Metal) in Terminator 2
The T-1000 is without a doubt the most evil thing that you could possibly step in. It is not like anything else on this list because it’s far from any natural fluid out there. For the lord’s sake – the thing is liquid metal.
It’s also a total asshole – like complete. It doesn’t just stab you like a normal person, but instead it stabs you through your mouth or eye – what kind of robot does that? What extra purpose does it have for stabbing you in the most uncomfortable places? You’d think it would aim for the center of your head or your heart – instead it chooses to humiliate you as it skewers your flesh. That’s just mean-spirited.
It’s funny how things work out – because one of the main things that made the character such a menacing force is the man behind it, Robert Patrick. He was truly perfect as the role – slick and sinister to the bone. Had the role gone to, say… Billy Idol, we don’t know what would have happened.