Slime in TV and Film

There are many instances of gunge and slime occurring in mainstream media, particularly in Film and Television, and indeed there are good web pages detailing the use, a particularly good example being the wikipedia page:Wikipedia Gunge. On this page I will cover some of the particularly notable examples, where reliable information is available;

Movie Slime/ Monster Slime
Apart from the bulk quantities of slime that is used in movies usually being manufactured from methyl cellulose (1,5) there are a number of other substances used. The most obvious being the use of KY Jelly in the alien films (5). The one however of most interest is Ultra Slime. Ultra Slime was manufactured by a company called Ultra Materials, however it appears they are no longer trading and so the mantle of providing stringy slime appears to have fallen to a couple of other companies. The companies that produce this understandably don't publish the formulations, however from studying of a material safety data sheet (10), and by experimentation (3), I would postulate that the key ingredient is polyox which is blended with methylcellulose.


Men in Black

The use of slime was notable in the  Men in Black films, but to date I haven't found much to point out what was actually used. I'd therefore surmise it it is most likely to be methylcellulose.

Ghostbusters I & II

See my seperate pages for lots of info on the Ghostbusters films; Ghostbusters

Alien Trilogy

Slime appears a number of times in the trilogy. The bulk being Methtylcellulose (5,11), although other types were certainly used, including KY Jelly.


Run the Risk

If my memory serves me correctly this used Xanthan gum (Stated on SMART on Childrens BBC around the time).

Noel’s House Party and Saturday Roadshow

Noels House Party  Noels House Party  Noels House Party

An early version of the infamous gunge Tank on the House Party

In the UK, for much of the 1990’s Noel Edmunds was a staple of the Saturday early evening TV schedule. His shows, at their peak, reached audiences of many millions, and consequently many of the games and features that made up the show got heavily embedded in the nations psyche. In amongst the games such as ‘Wait ‘til I get you home’ it was Mr Blobby with his infamous Christmas number one and the Gunge Tank that particularly caught the nation’s imagination.

The gunge tank started life in a fairly simple form on the Saturday Roadshow in 1998, with a fairly basic welded aluminium construction, with acrylic or polycarbonate sides and doors. The gunge was released by pulling a chain, connected to a lever over the tank, which in turn lifted a hinged plate which allowed the gunge to run through a matrix of holes of about 6-8mm diameter. This tank has lived on, now being owned by Gunjee and regularly used in nightclubs around the country Gunjee

The way the tank was used through the shows run varied, often involving telephone votes pitching two members of the public, such as teachers and dinner ladies against each other. At other times the emphasis was on celebrities, including as part of the ‘Gotchas’, a prank section.

The first House Party tank was of a similar construction to the roadshow, but was much more heavily decorated, and released remotely, although the release method is unclear. The tank is built on a revolve to allow it to appear and disappear during the show.

The use of foam was introduced at this stage to fill up from the base of the tank, at the same time as the gunge. This effect lasts approximately 10 seconds. In some episodes a black box can be seen behind the tank as the revolve rotates, this purportedly held a vacuum cleaner set to blow, feeding air to a set of three perforated tubes submerged in foam fluid in covered areas at the base of the tank.

Later series of the show introduced a tank which included moving the ‘victim’ through the tank. They started off outside facing the audience, rotated and entered the tank, passed a pair of carwash type brushes, went under the gunge, and then emerged from the tank and rotated back to face the audience. The foam was wasn’t used for this variant.

The BBC visual effects department supplied the tank and made the gunge, based on Natrasol (hydroxyethylcellulose) and helizarin dyes, giving a very vivid range of colours (7,16)

Get Your Own Back

gunk dunk logo  Get Your Own Back gunk dunk  Get your own back  

The slime in the gunk dunk used throughout the runs of the Get Your Own Back (1991-2003) was Xanthan Gum based and provided by the BBC visual effects department. In later years Keltrol RD grade was certainley used. This is an agglomerated readily dispersible grade (RD).(12,13).
Colouring was a food colouring. Details were shown on an episode of 'Ask Mr Barker' in the late '90s. Can currently be found on Youtube;
Ask Mr Barker (14)

get your own back gunge  GYOB Colour Color
Get your own back ingredients- Xanthan and Food Colours


Nickelodeon Green Slime

Nickelodeon Green Slime

Nick use slime in a wide variety of their programmes, and have likely used a range of substances. Currently their supplier for such things as  is Blair Adhesives, who pre-mix the slime. The recipe is kept a close secret, but I would postulate that it is based on methylcellulose as this is what has been definitely used in other slimes they have supplied (such as ghostbusters (2)). Nick have been careful about protecting the colouring of their ‘green slime’, but also claim that it is a natural colour (possibly E140, chlorophyll/ chlorophyllin)

 I suspect that for critical uses, such as the recent idents Nickelodeon Idents, some post processing is carried out to make the colours more vibrant- this is suggested by the difference in colours seen on the ident and the making of film Making of Nickelodeon Idents
Directors Idents Making Of

Nickelodeon Slime Tanks
Tank of Nickelodeon Green Slime Prior to Kids Choice Awards

 Nick Slime as Shot  Nick Slime as Broadcast
Screenshots of Nickelodeon Green Slime as Shot & as Broadcast

Historically many other recipes have been used. There are plenty of these floating round the web- but it is difficult to determine if any of these are actually genuine, however the recent book Slimed! reveals some of these, from some of the original production teams (including Roger Price) of shows such as Double Dare and YCDTOTV as(15):

You Can't do That on Television
Quaker Cream of wheat, green food colouring, Johnson's baby shampoo and water (vegetable oil on occasion)

Double Dare GAK
Apple Sauce, food colouring and milk powder for opacity

There is a lot of good background information on the Nicklelodeon studios on this website, run by an ex employee;
Nickelodeon Studios

Kids Choice Awards

The Kids Choice Awards have in recent years been featuring more elaborate methods of slime delivery; the 2015 awards have seen a slime car wash, and drone delivery as well as the more traditional tanks and fountains. JEM FX- Jem FX  in Valencia California are the provider of these effects. A video has been posted on the Nickelodeon Youtube channel in which a load more details can be seen Slime Factory .

KCA Slime
The Slime

Slime Hose  Slime Hose
Slime Hose  
Slime Hose  

Slime Drone
Slime Drone

Slime Cannon  Slime Cannon
Slime Cannon
The Slime Cannon

Video links are to those posted on Youtube and viewable from the UK- you may need to look at alternative videos in other territories. The search term "Nickelodeon Behind the Slime" should find the correct video.

(3) Personal experimentation

(4) Rosie O'donnell show interview with Sigourney Weaver, Nov 26th, 1997
(5) Alien The Special Effects, Don Shay & Bill Norton, Cinefex ISBN 1-85286-695-0
(6) Cinefex 70, Don Shay, June 1997
(7) BBC VFX: The Story of the BBC Visual Effects Department, Mat Irvine and Mike Tucker, ISBN 978-1-84513-556-0
(10) Super Goop MSDS, Roger George Rentals
(11) Rosie O'donnell show interview with Sigourney Weaver, Nov 26th, 1997
(15) Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age, Matthew Klickstein, ISBN 978-0-14-219685-4
(16) BBC red nose day website 1999

Video links are to those posted on Youtube and viewable from the UK- you may need to look at alternative links in other territories. 

Gunge Index
(c) M.Pantrey 2012-15