It's why I watched Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven, an American version of Kurosawa Akira's (surname first) Seven Samurai classic... which itself was inspired by American westerns.
Preceding it that night was The Blob, an American monster movie classic that I had never seen on TV before. It also starred Steve McQueen. It was actually quite a good flick! Perhaps realizing that showing too much of the monster, owning to the cost of special effects in the 1950s, or the lack of sophistication in such effects, The Blob didn't show the creature very much.
If only such restraint had been shown in the movies following the Steve McQueen bundle on TCM, specifically The Green Slime, a 1968 monster movie.
Since I had not even heard of this movie until I saw it listed, speaks volumes... but what the heck... in for a penny, in for a pound.
The Green Slime started off quite well... decent enough science... and a plot that was eventually stolen by the sci-fi disaster flick Armageddon. In Armageddon, a group of deep-core drillers is sent to space by NASA to load explosives deep into an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.
In The Green Slime, some space jockeys ride a rocket out from a space station set that looked like it was borrowed from the British marionette TV show The Thunderbirds a few years previous, to an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. They job is to plant some explosives by digging into its surface in the hope that it blows up before striking Earth.
The plot for The Green Slime differs when the astronauts encounter a green slime that gets all over their equipment, and they inadvertently carry it back with them to the return rocket and thus to the space station. To the movie's credit, the astronauts all underwent a decontamination procedure, but said procedure did not kill the alien slime.
The slime grew, and then morphed into a really crappy-looking alien... which is when the movie falls flat on its face.
If they had only worked with a green slime monster rather than an alien that grows from the slime, it would have been a better movie... though even then I'm unsure.
So what has this to do with Japan? I've mention Steve McQueen, The Magnificent Seven and the Seven Samurai and Kurosawa... but none are directly related to The Green Slime.
The Green Slime (ガンマー第3号 宇宙大作戦, Ganmā Daisan Gō: Uchū Daisakusen was directed by Fukasaku Kinji (surname first), and produced by Walter Manley and Ivan Reiner. It was written by William Finger, Tom Rowe and Charles Sinclair based on a story by Reiner.
Wait a minute... William Finger... Bill Finger... the guy who co-created Batman??!!?? with artist Bob Kane. Yes... the very same. Sigh.
The Green Slime was filmed in Japan using the Japanese director Fukasaku, along with a Japanese film crew, but with a non-Japanese cast.
It starred Robert Horton, Richard Jaeckel (the training sarge from The Dirty Dozen), Italian actress and former Bond Girl Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball), who despite her beautiful red hair and curvaceous fleshy parts, was quite wooden in The Green Slime.
American Robert Dunham was also in The Green Slime playing Captain Martin... he lived in Japan during the 1960s, and in the 1964 flick Dogora, he played Mark Jackson. He also played Antonio, Emperor of Seatopia in 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon. He sometimes was billed as Dan Yuma or Danny Yuma.
The rest of the cast were mostly semi-professional or amateur actors - meaning, if you were a White dude living in Japan in the 1960s, you could have been part of this... mess.
Here... I'm taking this from Wikipedia:
The Green Slime was a co-production between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Toei Film Company. MGM provided the funding and script while Toei provided the film crew and location to shoot the film.
The original storyline for The Green Slime originated in Italy, where MGM also had dealings. Years before The Green Slime went into production, MGM had contracted Italian filmmaker Antonio Margheriti to direct what was originally intended to be a series of four television movies about the adventures of a space station called Gamma One. Margheriti's films in the series consisted of Wild, Wild Planet, War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Snow Devils, all created over a period of three months and released in 1965. MGM was impressed with Margheriti's films and released the four films theatrically. Gamma One producers Manley and Reiner were eager to take advantage of these films and made The Green Slime as an unofficial fifth entry in the film series. The only connection the film had to Margheriti's films is the space station, retitled Gamma Three, which had a similar design as the one in Margheriti's films.
Wow... four movies made in three months...
Anyhow... a truly horrible movie was The Green Slime.
Of true historic note however, is that The Green Slime was the very first movie speared in the pilot episode of the film-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1988.