The Constitution of the United States of America, Inc. (where we live) states that approximately every time you turn around, the 147 major motion picture companies can and will put out three or four horror movies each, and you will feel compelled to watch several of them to prove that you are an adult and can be reasonably frightened without wetting your pants.
More “thrillers” have been made than any other kind of movie, including unfunny comedies starring “Saturday Night Live” alumni. Watching one, then, is always convenient, unless you live in Lake Elsinore, in which case you must drive to Temecula (or, as it is sometimes called, Trafficula). But otherwise, horror movies are always available to fill the need you may feel to impress someone by watching a film featuring several million man-eating things that don’t normally eat men, without throwing up or breaking down and crying.
Of course, horror movie-watching is more convenient when they are broadcast directly to our homes on television, although it would be even more convenient if they could be broadcast directly to our brains so we wouldn’t have to watch them. This is what my family and I did on a recent Friday night just for fun. We took time from our busy Family Schedule (which, this night, consisted of sitting around, belching, and naming said belches after celebrities), and watched a movie on some cable channel. The movie was called “Slugs.”
“Slugs” was filmed in Spain, but it wasn’t a Spanish film: it was shot with American actors on location in Spain. You’d think, then, that the actors’ lips would match the words, but the sound was approximately 1/8 inch second after the picture, and the whole thing reminded me of the “Flintstones.”The basic plot (and I use that term loosely) was that all these slugs had gotten a hold of some nuclear waste, nuclear waste being fairly common in Spain, because that’s what they use to get rid of all the bulls after the annual Running of the Bulls (what else are they going to do with them?). The nuclear waste made these slugs behave irrationally and not at all slug-like; that is, they went around eating people the way you might eat a chicken if you hadn’t been fed in a month or two.
There was, of course, one guy who knew exactly what was going on, as well as your standard sheriff who wouldn’t believe him. (“A pile of human bones with only a few shreds of flesh left and little trails of slime all over the place? Sounds like heart failure to me.”) The man eventually convinced a few of his city official friends to help him get rid of these mutant slugs, and they did so by going down to the sewers (where all mutant animals hang out) and pouring salt all over them. This caused such an adverse reaction that the sewer system exploded and people couldn’t take showers without little slug parts coming out of the shower head. This was rather awkward in Spain, because the closest translation they have for “slug” is “Geraldo.”
This is just one example of the horror “genre” (French, meaning “genre”). There are many others, the most recent being “Arachnophobia.” I have not seen this movie yet because I have a not-so-rare fear of going to Rancho called “Temechnophobia.” I’m in therapy, but I guess you could have figured that by now.
Temecula is a larger, more industrious city to the south of Lake Elsinore. Up until 1994, Temecula was also the site of the nearest movie theater, as well as the nearest Denny's. Both items can now be found in Lake Elsinore, but do the kids appreciate them? No they do not.
In publication, a couple things were taken out. First, my editor refused to let me say that my family sat around belching and naming the belches after celebrities, even though it's true. Also, inexplicably, the parenthetical phrase in the last paragraph "(French, meaning 'genre')" was taken out, as was the thing about "Temechnophobia."
At the time, I thought making fun of a dumb movie in a column was incredibly funny and innovative. I was not aware of the TV show "Mystery Science Theater 3000," which, historically, had premiered on the Comedy Channel (later called Comedy Central) just a few months before this column ran. The good folks at "MST" have made fun of over 150 movies, and I've seen them all. I realize now that they do a better job of it than I do, and that I really wasn't being all that creative when I made fun of "Slugs."
Furthermore, I've seen movies since then that were far worse than "Slugs." "Batman and Robin," for example. And let's not forget the worst theatrical road pie ever produced, "The Storm Testament".