How SLITHER Sank Its Teeth into Cult Cinema: A Look Back

SLITHER is a 2006 science fiction horror-comedy film directed by James Gunn. It is often celebrated by fans of the genre for its unique blend of humor and gore, and it has gained a cult following over the years.

SLITHER is set in the small town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, where something sinister and extraterrestrial has taken root. The story revolves around a meteorite that crashes near the town, releasing a parasitic alien organism that infects a local man, Grant Grant (played by Michael Rooker). Grant becomes the host for the alien entity, leading to grotesque transformations and a growing appetite for raw meat.

As the infection spreads, the townspeople find themselves in a gruesome battle for survival, led by the town’s police chief, Bill Pardy (played by Nathan Fillion), and Grant’s wife, Starla (played by Elizabeth Banks). The film explores themes of body horror, invasion, and the impact of unchecked desires.

The characters in SLITHER are over-the-top and memorable. Michael Rooker’s portrayal of Grant Grant’s grotesque transformation is a highlight, as he balances horror and dark humor exceptionally well. Nathan Fillion delivers a charismatic performance as the heroic police chief, and Elizabeth Banks brings depth to her character as the conflicted wife of the infected man.

The film also features a quirky supporting cast, including Gregg Henry as the abrasive Mayor Jack MacReady and Tania Saulnier as the gun-loving teenager Kylie. The characters’ interactions, filled with witty one-liners and absurd situations, contribute to the film’s comedic charm.

SLITHER excels in its practical effects, showcasing the grotesque transformations of the infected townspeople. The makeup and creature design are top-notch, and the film doesn’t shy away from gory and disturbing visuals. It’s reminiscent of classic body horror films like THE THING and THE FLY. The filmmakers’ ability to blend humor with horrifying moments is a testament to the movie’s unique tone.

SLITHER pays homage to various horror and science fiction classics. It takes inspiration from B-movies and creature features of the 1950s and 1980s, creating a loving tribute to the genre. James Gunn, who later went on to direct the successful GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films for Marvel, demonstrates his understanding of storytelling and his love for the horror genre in SLITHER.

Upon its release, SLITHER was met with positive critical reviews for its genre-blending and satirical approach. While it wasn’t a box office hit, it garnered a dedicated fanbase and has become a cult classic over the years. Fans of the film appreciate its humor, practical effects, and the way it embraces its horror roots while offering a fresh take on the genre.

SLITHER marked James Gunn’s directorial debut and set the stage for his future success in the entertainment industry. His ability to infuse humor and heart into even the most unconventional genre films is a hallmark of his work, and SLITHER was an early example of this talent.

SLITHER is a delightful and twisted horror-comedy that has earned its place in the annals of cult cinema. Its balance of humor, grotesque practical effects, and homage to the horror genre make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for fans of both horror and comedy. Whether you’re looking for a good scare or a good laugh, SLITHER has something to offer.

Don’t forget to check out my other Basement Retrospectives for more similar blogs.

~David Albaugh

About Author

Leave a Reply