SLiTHER is a fun sci-fi and horror flick that came out earlier this year, and really should have done better at the box office than it did — even though it might be a bit outré for the mainstream audience, I'll bet a lot of people would have been pleasantly surprised if they'd just given it a shot. Here's hoping for better luck on DVD.
SLiTHER is a mix of 50s sci-fi (think: The Blob, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers), 80s creep-out (think: Videodrome, The Hidden), and something indefinably quirky from the sick but loveable mind of writer/director James Gunn.
It stars Michael Rooker as Grant Grant, a small-town man who runs afoul of big-galaxy aliens becomes their host and vessel for world domination. Along the way, he eats an awful lot of raw meat and inseminates his friends and neighbors with creepy-crawly worm monsters.
Elizabeth Banks is beautiful and sweet, yet kickass when the time comes, as Grant's long-suffering wife, and Nathan Fillion is funny and strong as the all-too-human Chief Bill Pardy. The supporting cast, glittering with memorable performances by Gregg Henry, Brenda James, and Tania Saulnier to name just a few, is also top-notch. Look for cameos from Gunn, his mentor Lloyd Kaufman, and the voice of Rob Zombie.
Read Horror.com's review of the theatrical release of SLiTHER here.
DVD Additional Release Material:
First of all, the menu system is clever, but not so clever you can't figure out how to use it. The idea is a diagram of different cut of "meat" — the meat being the additional release material.
Deleted scenes — The excised scenes are indeed mostly extraneous, but it's fun to see them as standalone bits. Gunn, in his optional commentary, explains why the scenes didn't make it and although he expresses a regret or two, he's realistic about the need for fast pacing in a movie like SLiTHER. Although I know the flick is filled with homages, I liked learning that Mrs. McCammon was named after Robert McCammon, the writer of one of my (and Gunn's) favorite novels of all time, Swan Song. It's also interesting to learn more about working with the animals (a deer, a dog) on set. Finally, the caption option is very much appreciated, so you can still follow the dialogue while listening to Gunn speak.
Slithery set tour with Nathan Fillion — The star leads the way in a whacky, wonderful tour of the set over the course of what looks like a few days. Fillion is genuinely funny, and is not a bad reporter (he uncovers Gunn's "Groucho phobia"! Who knew?). The part with Banks, in which she talks about the "Grant family photos" plastered to the wall, is pretty informative, and you also get to learn a little bit about working with all that raw meat. The mini-doc is only about 4 minutes long, but you learn a lot (and hear a lot, in the way of vulgar and disgusting jokes… my virgin ears will never be the same).
A Making Of: The sick minds and slimy days of SLiTHER — This featurette is more in-depth, and more professional EPK-style, but the candor of the interviewees still shines through (unlike the usual canned responses you get on these things).
Feature commentary with director James Gunn and actor Nathan Fillion — This was my favorite part of the DVD's additional release materials. Even though Gunn and Fillion were not in the same room (or even the same country), they never miss a beat. Fillion, still in his 'set tour' reporter mode, does a great job of asking Gunn some questions to get the commentary flowing and while they both have a good time throughout, they never lose sight of the fact that people will be listening to the commentary and will be wanting some facts with their fun. I learned a lot.
Bringing SLiTHER's creatures to life
I'm Bill Pardy!
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson