“Slime City,” Greg Lamberson’s comedy horror film with guts, now streaming on AMC’s Shudder

By on December 15, 2017

Night Flight recently partnered up with Shudder — the AMC Network’s horror streaming channel — and they’ve asked us to curate a guest row of content, and so we turned to our resident expert on ’80s cult horror, our social media editor KJ, who selected four films from their cult horror library.

We had asked members of Night Flight’s community to select the fifth movie you’ll find in our row of five cult horror titles, and the winner is David Cronenberg’s 1977 cult fave Rabid, which we recently wrote about in this previous blog post.

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The poll is now closed, and thanks for voting! By the way, we’re still offering 25% OFF on an annual subscription (regularly just $29.99 for the whole year) to Night Flight Plus (promo code: SHUDDER), and a free month of Shudder (promo code: NIGHTFLIGHT)!

Read more about Slime City, Greg Lamberson‘s low-budget 1988 horror-comedy, below.

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Greg Lamberson in 2014, holding the original VHS release

Slime City is the debut film (shot on 16mm!) by award-winning author and independent cult filmmaker Greg Lamberson.

He’s previously said he based some of its characters on the “pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, homeless people and cultists” he’d first met in New York City after moving there in 1982, when he was eighteen.

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Lamberson took film production classes at the School of Visual Arts, and for awhile lived in the upper floor SVA dorm rooms of the Sloane House YMCA, located at 34th Street and 9th in Manhattan (it’s now high-end condominiums).

A huge horror film buff, Lamberson has singled out Stephen King’s novella Apt Pupil and Peter Straub’s Floating Dragon – as well as movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Evil Dead and the original Wicker Man — among some of the titles that have influenced his own work.

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At SVA, Lamberson directed a handful of Super-8 short films — including Bad Worms, the genesis for Slime City — but stopped attending classes sometime around the summer of ’84, when he was 21, and focused on writing the screenplay for Slime City.

At the time, he was living in Astoria, Queens (his roommate was his future co-producer and cinematographer Peter Clark).

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Slime City‘s splatter-film plot — loaded with lots of gory and gruesome SFX — follows a promising artist and video store clerk named Alex (Robert Sabin) who rents suspiciously affordable Brooklyn apartment from a pair of seemingly harmless little old ladies.

Alex hopes his “good girl” girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner) will begin spending the night at his new place so they can finally start having sex.

However, it turns out the entire apartment building is haunted by the restless spirits of an deranged occultist cult-leader named Zachary, who — along with his fanatical followers — committed mass suicide in the basement years before, and all of the tenants are reincarnated disciples of the Satan-worshiping alchemist.

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Alex is soon seduced by one of the two younger tenants, a mysterious sex-mad goth-chick named Nicole (also played by Mary Huner), who tells Alex that her door (and legs) are always open to him. (Alex’s pal Jerry — T.J. Merrick — calls him “slime” for wanting a little side action from the goth girl).

Another young neighbor, a gloomy garbage-picking punker poet named Roman (Dennis Embry), invites him over for dinner, where he serves up a gross green “Himalayan Yogurt” which Alex washes down with a vapory green elixir.

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Poor Alex awakens to find he’s been transmogrified into a melting, slime-covered murder-prone monster with an appetite for human blood (he attacks mostly hobos and hookers).

Alex learns a little too late that the plan is for his body to become the vessel for Zachary’s triumphant return, and killing innocent victims is the only way he can maintain a normal human physique.

In the end, it seems only the pure Lori can battle the putrid powers of darkness and save Alex’s soul after he undergoes his ghoulish transformation.

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Lamberson says that he’d often have to quit his assistant manager jobs at various NYC movie theatres in order to work on his movies, and when he ran out of money, the first work he could find later was managing video stores (that’s how he ended up working at Kim’s Underground Video & Music store on Bleecker Street).

In 1984, he also worked as a production manager on I Was a Teenage Zombie, which premiered at the Waverly Twin theater and ran as a midnight movie for the next six weekends.

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Writing in his book Cheap Scares!: Low Budget Horror Filmmakers Share Their Secrets, Lamberson says that he co-produced Slime City with Peter Clark and Marc Makowski, on a modest $35,000 budget.

He adds that Frank Henenlotter, the director of Basket Case and Frankenhooker, was a customer at the Times Square video store where he and Peter worked, and introduced them to his producer, Edgar Ievans, who along with an attorney finally helped get their Slime City project off the ground.

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By the time he’d secured the financing in ’86, Lamberson had moved to an apartment in Bay Ridge, a neighborhood in the southwest corner of Brooklyn, which is where he filmed all of Slime City‘s interior scenes.

The exterior scenes were shot on the streets outside the Clark’s Astoria apartment, and in the hallways of Makowski’s Bronx apartment building, and his production designer, Bonnie Brinkley, was also able to plaster up the walls of an apartment in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, for the goth chick character Nicole’s cave-like apartment.

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Slime City didn’t have its theatrical premiere until it was screened 1988 — when Lamberson was 23 — at the Waverly Twin theatre, where Basket Case had screened as a midnight movie for two years.

It then moved over to the Bleecker Street Cinemas for five weekend midnight movie shows before it was first released on VHS in 1989.

Watch Slime City on AMC’s Shudder and make sure you check out Night Flight’s curated row on Shudder this month, which will include Cronenberg’s cult classic Rabid and five more Night Flight selects.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.