Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our main man Vern who has seen SLITHER and wants to tell you about it. Give him your ear… uh… I mean, give him your eye. Enjoy!
I guess horror movies are like anything else, they go in cycles. We’ve had this whole drought where it seemed like there was nothing but sissy PG-13 studio horror, and lots of horror fans whining. Now the harsher R-rated horror movies are starting to trickle back in, and a whole other set of people get their chance to whine. (It turns out that our society is just now going down the shitter because there’s a movie where mutant cannibals are mean to a baby. Even though it’s a remake of a 30 year old movie about mutant cannibals being mean to a baby.) Anyway, now with SLITHER we get back another old buddy we haven’t seen in so long we almost forgot about him: the funny horror movie.
Horror and comedy are a tough mix. There are different ways to balance it. I like the serious horror but on those rare occasions when they got the perfect balance, it’s a sight to behold. To me AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is the top of the line. It’s very funny but the laughs come from serious horror situations. To me it’s more of a horror movie than a comedy. Perfect. Another good one is RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, but I think they tip it too much with all that punk rock shit. “Does this look like a fuckin COSTUME?” Still great, but too goofy to take seriously. But the opening scene, up until the credits, is a perfect balance. I think EVIL DEAD 2 has it just right too, although most people seem to think it’s more comedy and less horror than I think it is.
I guess the most significant recent attempt at comedy and horror is SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but I gotta be honest. This ain’t gonna win me any friends around here, but I don’t think that one counts. Sure it’s funny and worth watching. But even if the zombies look legit, the characters and what they do and say are sitcom through and through. It works as comedy but not as horror. It’s a tribute or a parody but not the real thing.
This one is the reverse of AMERICAN WEREWOLF: it works as both but it definitely leans alot harder on the laffs. The only good comparison I can think of is TREMORS, but alot more disgusting. The story itself is clearly influenced by THE THING, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and others. Some people said NIGHT OF THE CREEPS but I ain’t gonna lie, I never seen it. So I’ll just make a guess and say no, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS was not an influence in any way. Anyway, it’s basically a mix of existing elements but I thought they were put together in a clever and entertaining way, and also refreshing since you don’t see too many movies like this these days.
It’s gonna be better for you to see it without knowing what exactly is gonna happen, but here’s the gist of it. Michael Rooker (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER [part 1 only]) plays the dude who, in a classic THE BLOB type scenario, gets too curious about the slimy thing that crawled out of a meteor. Next thing you know an outer space worm thing has penetrated his brain and he begins a slow transformation to freaky alien overlord that will continue all the way through to the end of the movie. The biggest twist is that as he turns into a more and more disgusting monster, he remains stuck on his wife (Elizabeth Banks, who played some character only you guys would remember in the SPIDER-MAN trilogy). At first he tries to work it out and just hide his condition from her. Later it’s clear it’s not gonna work but he still pines for her. Maybe the cleverest joke in the movie is when he’s spawned an army of zombies but they all share a brain, so instead of saying “Brains!” like in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD they mostly whine “Starla!”
When I say it’s influenced by THE THING, I don’t mean it has any of the sense of dread that makes that thing so great. But it’s rare to see a movie really follow in that tradition of crazy, over the top special effects mayhem. So this one definitely deserves some credit. I mean I’m talkin tentacles left and right, giant blobs, piles of wiggly slugs, bladders and slime. And it’s a good balance of rubber and computers. You don’t get much of a chance to get bored of the creatures because this alien’s reproduction process spans the whole movie, and manages to involve a constantly mutating Rooker, lots of slugs, zombies, killer animals, and more. Something for everyone.
There’s even a nice part where you get a glimpse of the aliens doing their thing on some strange species on another planet. I always wished they would make an ALIEN movie on the planet where those space jockey dudes live. No humans, just a WALKING WITH DINOSAURS type nature doctumentary. That ain’t gonna happen so maybe I should start wishing for a SLITHER 2 on the planet of the whatever the fuck these things are.
By the way, if you’re wondering what happened to the apartment building and the pervert spying on Sharon Stone with security cameras, you’re thinking of SLIVER. This is similar though.
Where the TREMORS part comes in is the characters, who are goofy and have lots of funny lines and quirks. The hero is the chief of police played by Nathan Fillion (DRACULA 2000, etc.) and I was happy to also see Gregg Henry (Mal from PAYBACK) as the mayor, who constantly calls people “cocksucker.” I wonder if Gregg Henry enjoys exclusively playing prick roles? Or does he just take the jobs he can get? Does he always long to play a nice, polite fellow, instead of weirdos in Brian DePalma movies? Anyway, the story is mostly that crazy shit happens and then they all react to it. My favorite part is when they first spot Rooker running across a field waving a goofy tentacle off the top of his head. I like how the director shoots it from a distance so you can sort of put yourself in the character’s shoes, watching this weird ass shit go down across the field.
The writer slash director is James Gunn, who got his start with TROMEO AND JULIET and throws a couple nods to Troma in here. There oughta be some kind of Most Improved ribbon or lapel pin for this dude. Because first of all, almost nobody goes from Troma to serious mainstream success. I know the guy who directed ROCKY did a movie with Lloyd Kaufman, but that was before Troma so it doesn’t count. Anyway, forget Troma, this is the guy who wrote SCOOBY DOO 1-2, that’s a stigma you gotta work hard to overcome. Okay, so I haven’t seen those movies. But I don’t expect anybody is gonna tell me my assumption is wrong.
So after writing the surprisingly unsucky DAWN OF THE DEAD remake and now directing this one, I think he has earned his stripes, or at least one stripe. Maybe he has earned his two fairly thin stripes. Or one fat one. He earned something, anyway. I’m willing to give the guy a chance. SLITHER is no classic but it’s a fun time at the movies. People who like a fun time at the movies will have a fun time at it, in my opinion. Also there’s a part with a deer monster.
p.s. Merrick, you bag-wearing freak, don’t cut off my links this time. It’s part of the package. People like clicking on links.
p.p.s. Also you gotta keep the postscripts on, that’s how we do things around here bud. With postscripts.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/22904
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
March 31, 2006, 7:46 a.m. CST
Didn’t think you guys were going to post anything about Slither. Can’t wait to catch this film today.
March 31, 2006, 7:49 a.m. CST
review Vern…thnx again… i sooooo wanna see this movie… the bathtub/slugs scene looks like the monkey’s testicles… and that’s a good thing…!!!
March 31, 2006, 7:49 a.m. CST
Dawn of the Dead remake rocked by the way
March 31, 2006, 7:52 a.m. CST
March 31, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST
3rd and 4th… but you get A’s for effort…
March 31, 2006, 7:56 a.m. CST
about those 3 new ‘adult clips’…….
……..check these babies out on this films official web-site. Although the one titled “Between the legs” is a tad misleeding…….
March 31, 2006, 7:58 a.m. CST
Less movie-name-dropping, more review
by Deep Cover
Yes, we’re all happy for you that you watch a lot of movies. So do the rest of us. Next time, discuss the movie you saw instead of patching it together from other references.
March 31, 2006, 8 a.m. CST
didn’t anybody else…
love the fact that Vern named “dracua 2000″ as Nathan Fillion’s credit – then named Gregg Henry’s portrayal as a guy named “mal in Payback”… brilliant and subtle… what… just me…? oh well then…
March 31, 2006, 8 a.m. CST
91% on Rotten Tomatoes!
Slither is the most well reviewed movie of the year!!!
March 31, 2006, 8:01 a.m. CST
merrick got told
March 31, 2006, 8:13 a.m. CST
Great review, Vern, as always.
Night of the Creeps was a pretty good movie in the comic/horror vein with some nice coed t’n'a thrown in.
March 31, 2006, 8:20 a.m. CST
I can’t really watch movies like this…….
I can’t handle horror movies that are based on reality. I mean sure the slugs are supposedly from outerspace, but we have slugs right here on earth. Although they may not grow to the size of the slugs in the movie, and they may not have that mutative property in their DNA, I still am quite aprehensive. Bottom line I’m on a strict budget around my house and I can’t just pop on down to the local grocery store to by a case of Morton salt everytime I find a snail in my shoe. Do you see what I’m gettin’at? All ranting aside the movie does look entertaining and maybe someday I’ll see it but right now I need to go finish that trench around my house cause from what I understand there’s a fish that has sprouted legs near here and I good sir’s will not share my bed with any sprinting trout!
March 31, 2006, 8:56 a.m. CST
Slither kicks ass.
I saw the advanced screening. It was very funny… and there are some terrific effects. Great casting too!
March 31, 2006, 8:56 a.m. CST
Eight Legged Freaks
Was a funny Horror film in exactly the same vein.
Only 5 years ago.
March 31, 2006, 8:57 a.m. CST
Just to round out funny/gross alien references. Anyway count me in I likey.
Although I have always had a slug phobia since Wrath of Khan…
March 31, 2006, 9:37 a.m. CST
Deep Rising and Lake Placid…
by Tom Whitaker
…are two of my favourite pick-me-up flicks. I really hope this joins that list.
March 31, 2006, 9:45 a.m. CST
cept 8 legged freaks sucked.
it wasnt a horror movie–just some spider movie that didnt scare anyone. Judging from those clips I’ve seen, this movie does indeed look as cool as tremors
March 31, 2006, 10:22 a.m. CST
About this Bag Merrick wears…
Is it to cover up the lower half, or upper half of the body? Just the face? Anywho, any chance of this one going to IMAX 3-D? I wanna see that mutated blob of a chick explode into tiny little bits that will fall right into my $18 bucket of popcorn.
March 31, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST
Deep Rising is Great
Loved every minute of it. Kevin J. O’Connor needs more work.
March 31, 2006, 11:35 a.m. CST
You haven’t seen CREEPS yet??
Dude! Rusty Griswold kicking ass! You must fit it into your schedule at some point.
March 31, 2006, 11:42 a.m. CST
Hell yeah he does… Just not in shitty Sommers movies (and obviously Deep Rising is a shitty Sommers movie that somehow ISN’T shitty, so that one does AND doesn’t count). I forgot he was the Bukowski/ Kerouac guy in Peggy Sue Got Married…
March 31, 2006, 11:47 a.m. CST
I wanna see a comedy so I’m going to Basic Instinct 2
Good lord, that looks deliciously bad.
March 31, 2006, 11:55 a.m. CST
Kinda lackluster review for Vern.
by Borgnine JR
Maybe he’s busy writing his Seagalology book.
March 31, 2006, 11:58 a.m. CST
vern must have found a girlfriend.
girls always put out that creative fire in men. i am happy for you, vern, but please dump her so we can have more aggressively funny reviews.
March 31, 2006, 12:12 p.m. CST
i dont give a shit
about links or postscripts, keep that incestuous linkophilia scratch-my-back shit to blogs
March 31, 2006, 1:28 p.m. CST
Sorry fellas, I agree that it’s not one of my best. The screening started at 9 last night west coast time and I knew if I didn’t have the bitch up as soon as humanly possible, you fucks would get on me about reviewing a movie that’s already in theaters. If this constitutes a violation of my striving for excellence vow then I apologize, but it’s hurting me more than it’s hurting you. Anyway, about the “movie name dropping.” Yes, I know you guys have seen all these movies, that is why it’s easier to say “it’s like TREMORS” then to sit here and describe what the humor is like in exacting detail, only to have some wiseass down here say “this shit sounds like a ripoff of TREMORS.” If I hadn’t mention those movies up there, it is 100% guaranteed that at least 7 talkbackers would have listed them here, said the movie was derivative of them and insulted me for not mentioning it. Search your heart and you’ll know this is true because some of you woulda been the same guys writing those talkbacks. Why you gotta always fight somebody why can’t you try loving somebody. And aestheticity, you’re not fooling anybody, we all know you click on links. if not you got alot to learn about the internet. what you do is you click on links, that’s the internet. I will explain in more detail if you want.
March 31, 2006, 2:03 p.m. CST
Hold the fuck UP!
what’s a ‘link’?
March 31, 2006, 2:04 p.m. CST
Off, the subject, Vern…
I think they might be pulling a “Today You Die” on you with the new Seagal movie. Normally, you would have gotten the screener tape for Mercenary for Justice by now, right? I guess that means we’ll have to wait until late April/early March for the review.
March 31, 2006, 2:12 p.m. CST
I like you vern but…..
The way you describe this movie makes it sound similar to Tremors. Am I alone in this or is anyone else getting that vibe?
March 31, 2006, 2:19 p.m. CST
FILLION FOR CAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AVI TAKE NOTICE http://groups.myspace.com/NathanForCap
March 31, 2006, 2:21 p.m. CST
There was a time when…
I wanted to see Sharon Stone naked in Sliver. Nowdays I couldn’t care less to see her in BI2. Elizabeth Banks is cute though. I hope she has a bigger role to play in Spiderman3. Note: Reposted from Lost tb.
March 31, 2006, 3:02 p.m. CST
How come you don’t get the cool ‘black post’ capability? The AICN gang are showing you no respect, you need to bring down the pain.
March 31, 2006, 3:50 p.m. CST
by Deep Cover
“Tremors” is one movie. I see about 12 or 15 titles in your review. I understand you rushed it, but we all can do the “it’s ___ meets ___” pitch when we try to describe a movie premise to someone. How was it shot? The script? The acting? Subtext? Was the popcorn fresh or stale? Who will get kicked off American Idol next? Why is the sky blue, mommy?
March 31, 2006, 4:07 p.m. CST
Vern, you’re the tops!
Screw these hobitches. They know not what they type. You’re cool. Plus, you live in Seattle and so do I, so that means we probably have the same grandmother or something, which makes you doubly cool.
March 31, 2006, 5:38 p.m. CST
good review Vern
by future help
hey Harry…Vern is the man.
you Harry…need to relax with the
childish perv antics and flat yet,
over-hyper reviews and so called
please don’t kick me out though.
i enjoy some of this universe.
oh, could you guys give us new wallpaper for a while.
Kong is way past expired.
March 31, 2006, 5:47 p.m. CST
Not your best – but the stripes thing was top drawer. Saw Slither an hour ago. It reminded me of Tremors.
March 31, 2006, 7:35 p.m. CST
One fat stripe
I think that phrase is going to be seen on every AICN talkback for the next ten years. As in “One fat stripe to Mr Eko for telling Charlie what a bitch he is” or “One fat stripe to Ambush Bug for TOTALLY sticking it to Bendis” Hopefully, at least, people will start using that and not “jump the shark” Also – does anyone know if slugs come out of peoples noses in this? Otherwise I’m not going.
March 31, 2006, 7:42 p.m. CST
HypeEndsHere, “what’s a ‘link’?”
Simple. It’s an experiment… IN TERROR!!
March 31, 2006, 8:19 p.m. CST
sorry Deep Cover
but as a certified master of outlaw review writing, I don’t agree with your criticisms. There are many legitimate criticisms you could do of my weak ass review, but you didn’t find em. I’m too old for that film school formulaic shit… “the acting was _____, the cinematography was ____, however the screenplay was ____ and the editing was crisp.” When you get older and more powerful in your skills and techniques you start writing about what part of the movie really hits you instead of going through a list of pre-designated qualities to look for. Not every movie needs a dissection of the performances. In this case it was the story, the approach to the effects, and yes I did mention the camera placement in one scene, because that’s where it struck me. If you yourself don’t give a shit (as I don’t about the subtext of the movie) you don’t write it. I will teach you more of my ancient wisdom but you’re gonna have to send me five bucks or something first to show that you are serious about learning. p.s. Deep Cover was pretty good. Laurence Fishburne’s performance was topnotch. The editing by whatsisdick was crisp and knowing. The lush cinematography by so and so practically jumps off the screen and then jumps back onto the screen and then sits down for a while and then jumps again. The typing of the screenplay was superbly accurate and followed standard formatting.
March 31, 2006, 10:32 p.m. CST
what the fuck is the internet?
March 31, 2006, 10:34 p.m. CST
night of the creeps
Now I’ve only seen tv spots for “Slither” but I can’t see how “night of the creeps” isn’t an influence. An asteroid like rock lands on earth with slug like creatures inside. The slugs or “creeps” enter into peoples mouths and turn them into the walking dead who terrorize a small town. Then Rusty Grizwald, the hot girl he has a crush on, his crippled best friend, and the loose cannon cop with nothing left to lose are the only ones who can save the town.
One of the best B horror movies ever made.
March 31, 2006, 10:51 p.m. CST
it kind of reminds me of tremors.
April 1, 2006, 1:39 a.m. CST
this does remind me of night of the creeps. a movie that was a fave of mine growing up. although if i’m right aren’t there two endings for creeps. the theatrical one and the one for the televised version. i don’t remember seeing the space ship at the end hovering over the cemetary in the theater.
April 1, 2006, 1:51 a.m. CST
Slug parasites – in the bath?
Can anyone spell “Shivers”? I think Cronenberg should due. Does this film have an ugly guy eating a pickle as well?
April 1, 2006, 2:24 a.m. CST
Lucky number Slither.
April 1, 2006, 8:19 a.m. CST
Oops, you’re right
by Deep Cover
I forgot, the horrible writing and lousy web design is part of the “low-tech charm” of AICN. My apologies – may all your reviews have more references than a Quentin Tarantino film festival. P.S. – “Deep Cover” was the last film that Fishburne was billed as “Larry”, not “Laurence”. ‘Cause it’s 187 on an undercover cop…
April 1, 2006, 10:46 a.m. CST
Look bud, I don’t want to be arguing with you, but you don’t tell a samurai that his swordsmanship could use some work. Send me a critic, I’ll write the motherfucker up a damn wall and he won’t be able to come back down again because he’s too scared. I’m just beyond your simple formula. You’ll understand this in about twenty-five years or when you send me the five bucks, whichever comes first. You make a good point about Fishburne though so as an honorable individual I must acknowledge that. p.s. Did Gene Shalit send you? that motherfucker’s been trying to start beef with me for a while
April 1, 2006, 4:31 p.m. CST
Saw “Slither”last night…
by Darth Mulder
It was funny.I can’t say it was scary.But then again,I can’t remember the last time I was actually scared at a movie.The effects were very good and all of the actors and actresses were very good.I had a good time seeing this and,in my opinion,that’s what really counts when I go to a movie.
April 1, 2006, 4:58 p.m. CST
Dude… why no love for Shivers
I get how it takes from Night of the Creeps… but slug in the tub has got Shivers all over it. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen it Vern. I don’t believe you. Peace.
April 1, 2006, 7:11 p.m. CST
Ok, captainswing beat me to it.
Not trying to give ya a hard time Vern. Peace.
April 1, 2006, 9:45 p.m. CST
Vern is a talent, a worthy contributor
by E. Buzz Miller
and any green-soaked caterpillar torturing bastard who disagrees should learn to just love on occasion. Am I the only one who got the reference? I’ve been reading Verns work for a long time and it’s damn impressive how he can be surprisingly sly and clever without falling into the trap of sounding like a smart-ass. He has a talent that sadly wasn’t realized when it should have and is only now emerging. I think most people who read his work just dont understand what he is about. Check out his site, read his evolution as a writer and it becomes obvious (he started out as a nobody on usenet fer cryin out load!) He should have been doing this his whole life rather than discovering the talent he always had so late. Vern is smarter than most of the people here think and it’s tragic his abilities went unrealized for so long.
Call me a plant or personal friend promoting him but I’ve never met him nor had any meaningful contact (unless one would count an email response as such) and have jack shit interest in his bizarro politics. He’s a nut job regarding politics in my opinion. I love his reviews though.
April 2, 2006, 1:34 p.m. CST
To be honest I don’t even remember what Shivers was about. I remember Rabid was about somebody being rabid but Shivers could be anything. It probaly has something to do with people who get really cold, I don’t know. I’ll have to watch it again. And thanks for the kind words E. Buzz, I especially respect that you could think I’m “a nut job regarding politics” and still say such nice things about my writing, that really means alot to me.
April 2, 2006, 2:45 p.m. CST
What’s with Shaun of the Dead not getting any respect?
What a fucking great flick. And I think, while not outrightly scary, had some good jump/tension filled moments. I think it’s a lot easier to take Shaun seriously than say Evil Dead.
April 2, 2006, 4:32 p.m. CST
hey anybody know…
the name of that song in the closing credits?
April 2, 2006, 9:16 p.m. CST
Mayor MacReady in Slither…
Same last name as Kurt Russells character in The Thing.
April 2, 2006, 10:48 p.m. CST
Just so everyone knows-
by E. Buzz Miller
I was half-kidding by following up my praise with an exagerrated comment like calling Vern a nut. I disagree with him in some ways but he is still a talented writer who is surprisingly good at what he does.
April 2, 2006, 11:06 p.m. CST
It’s all good Vern. But if you are even the slightest bit serious about not remembering Shivers, then by all mean revisit it. The more the film swims in my head, the more I want to drag friends over to my house and show them how great a nearly forgotten gem it is. And keeping in mind that it came out before both Dawn of the Dead and Alien totally earns it due respect in the face of the now dated slug effects. Peace.
April 3, 2006, 9:14 a.m. CST
The wifey and I saw Slither on Saturday (early afternoon, nobody around!) – lot of fun, great cast(Gregg Henry and Michael Rooker are great!), good script (some outstanding bits [Holds up beanie squid, "what's this?" "Oh I thought we could use that as a police sketch"]). The horror elements are played pretty straight up, even a few extended moments of “scare” without any comedy change-up (the house/bathroom scene). Slimey, parasitic things that get inside you is always a good story (always gives me the heebies) – obviously some things in common with ‘Night of the Creeps’ and ‘Shivers’ but enough interesting new take on the material to distinguish itself (*spoiler-ish* -> nice quick visual exposition on the origin, history of the “squid”). So few recent horror movies have been very scary, but at least this one, while it probably won’t cause any lost sleep, at least was very +entertaining+
April 3, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST
You are the man. But, dude, you’ve never seen NIGHT OF THE CREEPS? CREEPS is one of my all-time horror/comedy favorites. It’s right up there with RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, HOUSE, EVIL DEAD 2 and RE-ANIMATOR/FROM BEYOND (I lump all the Stuart Gordon Lovecraft 80s flicks together). If you like any of these other titles, do yourself a favor and track yourself down a copy of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. You won’t be disapointed. It’s like John Hughes
got a twisted hair up his ass. Sure. It’s dated. But that’s because it’s an 80s flick. The dialogue is corny. The effects are weak. Everybody overracts. But, hey, that’s what makes 80s films so great. I haven’t seen SLITHER yet, but if it’s have as effective as CREEPS, I can’t wait. I really hope it’s more like CREEPS or SOCIETY and less like EIGHT-LEGGED FREAKS and CREEPSHOW. Both those last two films I like. But I can do without the pulpy, comic book aspect. I’d prefer the 80s cheese all the way.
April 3, 2006, 4:15 p.m. CST
Forgot about DEAD ALIVE and BAD TASTE. But I think that’s because neither really made over here to the states until the 90s. I mostly aiming for 80s horror/comedy stuff. You could go back to the 70s and find stuff like AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (although that’s probably too silly to be called a horror flick / it’s still a monster flick) or come into the 90s and beyond with stuff like CABIN FEVER and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
April 3, 2006, 5:54 p.m. CST
Hey, Deep Cover,
You keep focusing on the template-plug-and-chug review that you *wish* Vern had written, and you ignore the unique review that Vern actually *did* write. The way you critiqued Vern’s review is the mistaken, annoying way that a beginner movie reviewer would review a movie. In short, you can’t just talk it, man! You have to live it! You need to send Vern his five dollars. You’d better send ten.
April 3, 2006, 11:14 p.m. CST
Halloween68 while you’re listing every 80′s horror…
comedy… You left out Closet Monster. Classic. Peace.
April 4, 2006, 11 a.m. CST
This TB is about to drop dead but to return to my above post they give Kevin Smith ‘Black post’ capabilities. Just saying and all… ;-)