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THE SLIME BEAST
By GUY N. SMITH (New English Library; 1975)

This potboiler is often cited as one of Guy N. Smith’s “best” books. It’s certainly one of the trashiest and most exploitive of his early novels (which include such loveable trash-fests as NIGHT OF THE CRABS and THE SUCKING PIT), being a short and concentrated stream of unadulterated pulp, packed with generous amounts of sex and gore--in short, a must read!

     Smith’s novels tend to be described as “campy,” a term I’d dispute. For me what makes them, and THE SLIME BEAST in particular, so irresistible is the sincerity of their construction, and also the non-ironic utilization of quintessentially B-movie verbiage like “This beast is highly dangerous. Whatever the outcome of our research it has got to be destroyed. It’s a menace to mankind!

     THE SLIME BEAST centers on Professor Lowson, an archeologist afoot in a desolate marshland known as The Wash, together with the study museum curator Gavin and Lowson’s 20-year-old niece Liz. They’re in search of the priceless King John’s treasure, which is said to be interred somewhere in The Wash. What they find instead is the titular beast, a scaly, slime-oozing extraterrestrial that likes nothing more than to rip people apart and devour their innards. Upon digging the thing up Lowson and Gavin promptly puke all over it, “showering the monstrosity with spew,” and then run off.

     The Professor becomes determined to capture the beast and take it back to civilization, while back at camp Gavin and Liz waste no time playing hide the thimble. In the meantime the Wash’s locals grow suspicious, believing a sea monster guards King John’s treasure, and that said monster is now on a rampage thanks to the professor and his companions--and what a rampage it is, with heads crushed, entrails ripped out and a guy’s penis forcibly amputated. The military is called in to contain the beast, but bullets turn out to have no effect on the critter. Only Gavin and Liz, it seems, have any real clue how to stop the Slime Beast.

     No, this novel will never be mistaken for WAR AND PEACE. But for what it is it works just fine, and at a quick 113 pages won’t take you more than an hour or two to read .

     

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