Goog actors are given juicy characters to play in Slither (2006), & how often can you say that about a monster flick? The monster FX themselves are the best, with real actors to give them spirit & life, instead of cartoony CGI or lifelessly robotic puppets & animatronics.
Horrific as the transformations are, Slither is even so packed with humor -- of the type Jeff Goldblum delivered in David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly (1986), not mere slapstick that undermines characterization.
A meteor brings a hideous parasite to earth, & the jokes begin. Grant Grant (Michael Rooker, for horror fans best known for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, 1986) is an aging horndog with a child bride, Starla (Elizabeth Banks). He bought her an education (as daddies should do for their daughters), so that now that she's a school teacher & beginning to become an individual.
Having been rejected one night for sex, Grant sets out for a bar & hooks up with Brenda (Brenda James), a pretty young barfly. They go out in the woods to do the nasty, but then Grant remembers he's in love with Starla & really should be a more faithful sugardaddy.
While in the woods he finds the meteor with the slime trail leading away from it. He gets "darted' by the parasite which enters his tummy & makes a beeline through the body toward the brain.
Alien-Grant develops a hankering for lots & lots & lots of meat. He begins to build himself a nest of leaves in the basement, & is collecting meat from all over the neighborhood to store in the basement, roadkill, slain dogs & cats, people.
His transformation is truly bizarre & gross. The alien sentience has inherited Grant's feelings for Starla, so it is struggling not to do something harmful to Starla. He goes for Brenda instead, for what amounts to one of the creepiest of alien rapes.
Impregnated Brenda is carried to a secluded barn, where she quickly hunkers down & nests, growing & growing & growing into a humongous sluggy green termite queen. This is radically sicko.
Grant goes feral, killing animals throughout the region, from pets to cattle, storing some of it away for his own hunger, but bringing a lot of it to Brenda who has swiftly turned into that monster-girl in the folksong that goes: "More meat, more meat, more meat you'll bring to me/ Go kill your hounds King Henry & give the meat to me/ And when he's slain his good grey hounds it made his heart full sore/ She's eaten them up both skin & bone, left nothing but hide & hair." Too bad they didn't use that on the soundtrack.
Police chief Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) has had a lifelong crush on Starla but for whatever reason she needed a daddy instead. Chief Pardy is soon on the trail of a seriously bizarre mystery, & rightly fears for Starla's safety. Grant's clearly gone loony-tunes despite that the alien inside him has been trying to "slow down" the transformation process in order to continue to relate to Starla as a husband, something he really can't do any longer.
When Pardy & Deputy Wally (Don Thompson) find Brenda in the barn, she's on the verge of exploding into a fountain killer slug babies. She's just a head poking out of a swollen balloon-womb body packed with young that are devouring her from the inside, while she begs for more meat, & worries about her looks.
When the young burst forth, they set off to conquer the world, David Cronenberg's "pecker-parasite in the bathtub" scene from Shivers (1976) gets replayed as much in homage as rip-off. In point of fact, hardcore horror fans will spot a number of classic horror references throughout, as this is a film pitched to the choir, & I for one am grateful.
All transformed people become part of the hive-mind connected to the original Grant-Parasite, who can no longer hold back his final transformation.
The Romance of Grant & Starla has its epitome, again both sad & funny, with Starla delivering her "marriage is a sacred vow" speech to the ugliest-ass chuthuloid critter that ever was. Because the alien loves Starla in its demented immortal never-knew-love-before manner, all the parasitized people of the town also love Starla.
His persisting love adds a bizarre level of originality far exceeding Kong's love for Fay Wray. Pardy meanwhile is struggling to save Starla & stop the rapidly spreading infestation, all the while striving not to be seen by anyone at all, because Grant can see through everyone's eyes.
The comedy quotient remains high to the very end, despite that it's also quite horrific. Mayor Jack MacReady (Gregg Henry) is a total hoot in need of anger management. When he runs out of Mr. Pibb it's just so sad. And I somehow doubt it was paid-for product placement though if it was, hooray for the Coca Cola company for their moment of derrangement. If that stuff still tasted like Prune Cola instead of cherries I'd go buy some just to support their product being in such a grubby funny yucky cool film.
The dvd is packed with extras some of them great fun rather than idle filler, & a good commentary track with director James Gunn & actor Nathan Fillion, best known for his starring role in the sci-fi channel series Firefly.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl