by Guy N. Smith
Safety here. Death there. No warning.
This review’s going to be written in the first person because it’s got to be crystal clear, all the way through, that these are my own opinions on this extreme version of camp horror and that there must be many people out there who enjoy this type of thing (God help us all).
An small excavation begins with a professor, his niece and a young assistant, with the intent of discovering King John’s long lost treasure. After digging for a few hours in an area a local man has warned them to stay away from they uncover the remains of a humanoid, foul-smelling, scale covered creature that appears to be breathing but slumbering. They retire for the evening with the intent of returning and studying the creature the next day. But the thing awakes at night and begins terrorizing the town, killing its inhabitants.
The professor is hell-bent on examining the creature further so they stay in town hoping to catch it while it’s sleeping, but the beast defies capture and kills anyone it comes into contact with, plodding along and seemingly impervious to gunfire from the townfolks. Eventually the army is called in to help.
Camp can work fine sometimes in film. I’ve seen a bunch of them myself that exploit attractive bodies and have them running across the screen naked all movie long and that can be fun. The promiscuous couple being the first to die in horror is an established standard. But I’ve got to say, in books, or in this book in particular, it just doesn’t seem to work at all.
The terrible dialogue is there, ridiculous science, horrifyingly bad leaps of logic and the rampant sex, of course. There’s a scene here where the attractive niece, who’s fallen madly in love with her uncle’s assistant since meeting him two days earlier, is nearly raped by a stranger when she’s alone. She escapes across the mudflats, pursued by her would-be rapist, who’s then gored and eviscerated by the Slime Beast. Two hours later she’s a-humpin-and-a-porkin her love interest, convinced she wants his baby.
“Give it to me properly, Gavin, like every woman wants her man!”
It may be laughable and fun in film from time to time, in large part due to accompanying eye candy, but I just don’t get it in novels. I’m not gonna hate, but can’t see myself ever picking this one up again.
So we’ve established ‘camp’ is not for me, at least on this level. Is it for you?
“He’s always been a queer cuss but lately he seems to have really gone round the bend. Whatever the reason you can bet that it’s something to do with the Slime Beast!”