Slither (2006)

Slither (2006)

The Umbrella release of Slither with amazing slipcase by Simon Sherry

Film: James Gunn is certainly one in a million. Most people know him from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, but his career before that was SO much more fun, and honestly, creative.

There’s an amazing two pack of films that I suggest to anyone who doesn’t know his work, and that’s his superhero film Super, starring Rainn Wilson, and this film, Slither.

Slither tells of the small town of Wheelsy, and after an argument with his wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks), Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) finds himself in the woods, potentially about to commit adultery after being reunited with a school friend, Brenda (Brenda James), but unfortunately, Grant ends up having a dart shot into his abdomen by something that appears to be not-of-this-earth.

Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks as Grant and Starla, respectively

Grant collapses and we see, via X-ray, the dart burrow it’s way up into his head.

The next day, Grant is a changed man: he is quieter, and is desperate to collect as much meat as he possibly can, and Starla has noticed the change. Grant revisits Brenda, and with two newly grown tentacles, impregnates her with, what we find out later, to be thousands of leech-like brain slugs.

Whilst all this is happening, Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion), a childhood sweetheart of Starla’s, is investigating Brenda’s disappearance, and obviously, all this quickly collides as the slugs invade the town, and burrow into the mouths of everyone they comes across… will he and Starla survive?

This film is extraordinary in that the fun is a gory, gross out horror movie, that still has elements of laugh-out-loud comedy. The story is solid, and doesn’t overexplain where the ‘thing’ came from initially, except for in some interesting hive-mind flashbacks.

A brain slug tries to take over Emily (Matreya Fedor)

You can really see Gunn’s early career at Troma influencing this film, except for the budget. The humour is sophomoric (thankfully) and the gore is sudden, disgusting and surprising. There is a body bisection that still, after many if watches of this film, delights me to no end.

The cast is also fantastic. Fillion is charming and likeable and Banks is just adorable as well. Special mentions have to go to the appearances of Lloyd Kaufman as the town drunk, Jenna Fischer, a TV crush of mine from the Office, as the police receptionist (who also starred with Gunn in the film LolliLove) and Gunn himself as the most awkward of school teachers.

Gunn’s slick writing and directorial style is present here as well. The script is full of old school jokes, some of which may not sit well with a 2022 audience, but fit for the location and time period, and the direction has some really interesting angles which really makes the film fun to watch. The effects don’t sit as well as they did, but that’s to be expected and if you are able to overlook some of those bits of CGI due to age… this movie is almost 20 years old remember, so even though the practical effects are great, some of the CGI isn’t so perfect, but it’s all still very effective.

This film is a beautiful throwback to films like Henenlotter’s Brain Damage or Stephen Herek’s Critters and could be watched alongside them and not seem at all out of place, even though this film was made 20 years later.

I think I really like this film because of its 80s/ drive-in influences, and was more than happy to revisit it! This Bluray from Umbrella Entertainment is from their ‘Beyond Genres’ imprint and has a pretty awesome slipcase by Simon Sherry.

Score: ****

The menu for the Bluray release of Slither

Extras: A bunch of fun extras on this disc that were on the original DVD back in the day.

Audio commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion is interesting and charming and full of lots of reminiscing about the films of the 80s and the making of this film.

The Slick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither: Making of Featurette is a quick ten minute look at the origins and making of the film.

Who is Bill Pardy? starts as an amusing set of outtakes of Fillion, saying ‘I’m Bill Pardy whenever he screws up, but then turns into an amusing roast of Fillion by the cast and crew.

Slither Visual Effects Progressions looks at the different plates the CGI went through from the initial filming to the resulting effect.

Bringing Slither’s Creatures to Life:FX Featurette goes through all of the practical effects used in the movie, ad is quite fascinating!

Slithery Set Tour with Nathan Fillion is a brief bit with the ever charming Fillion filming some behind the scenes stuff with his particular brand of comedy.

The Gorehound Grill: Brewin’ the Blood is basically a recipe for the blood used in the film.

The King Of Cult: Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary is a little bit of home video made by Lloyd Kaufman, the King of Troma, and the man who directed Gunn’s script Tromeo and Juliet, who was invited by Gunn to have a cameo in the film.

Deleted Scenes and Extended Scenes as usual are an interesting watch but ultimately not necessary.

Gag Reel is one back from the old days when gag reels were actually funny and not staged like the modern day Marvel ones.

Score: *****

WISIA: I will easily watch this film at anytime!

Nathan Fillion takes aim!

This film was reviewed with the Umbrella Entertainment Bluray release.

Slumber (2017)

One from the to watch pile…

Slumber (2017)

Film: My acquisition of this film came completely by accident. JB Hifi, an Australian electronics retailer, were doing a ‘buy 2 get 1 free’ thing and I’m a dummy who gets suckered into those sales and blind buys movies I’ve never heard of, starring people whose careers should have been over long ago.

This film, Slumber, also had a name on the cover which drew me to it: Maggie Q. I remembered her from Mission Impossible 3 and then Die Hard 4.0, as she is both talented and beautiful. After a quick look at IMDB I also discovered that one of the Doctors from Doctor

Who, Sylvester McCoy also Stars As does Lt Gorman, William Hope, from Aliens… this was pedigree I couldn’t pass up for a budget price.

Our story tells of Alice (Q) a sleep disorder specialist whose brother died when she was 6 years old, by throwing himself out the window after seemingly talking to a threatening imaginary friend.

Her latest patients, the Morgan family, have recently suffered with the loss of a child, and since have all suffered from various sleep disorders. The mother, Sarah (Kristen Bush), father Charlie (Sam Troughton) and daughter, Emily (Honor Kneafsey), all have various occupants es of sleep walking, whereas their son, Daniel (Lucas Bond), suffers from Parasomnia, where he is awake, but can’t move…and believes that something trying to hurt him.

After the meeting, Alice herself starts sleepwalking and having dreams about her deceased brother, but after the whole family have a night at the sleep clinic , it all seems to fall apart.

The cleaner, Cam (Vincent Adriano) sees what happens and warns Alice to stay away from the family as he believes they are haunted in the way that his grandfather, Amado (McCoy) once was… of course she ignores this advice, and things start to get worse…

Slumber feels like a mix of Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and 4, (in actual fact, the synopsis on the back of the cover sounds like a highbrow description of a new Freddy Krueger movie) with a bunch of j-horror and post millennial ghost story thrown in for good measure. The good thing about this film is though, it actually works, even though the premise is quick a schlocky and well-travelled one, what makes that even better is that the film has a moderately short run time at 80 odd minutes, so it doesn’t try to oversell its story.

Of course, with a well worn path, there are a few tropes in this film that are not new, but they can be forgiven. Also, the toothless tiger, wet blanket character of Alice’s husband seems to be there just as set-dressing, and with no real purpose except so that Alice’s daughter has a stable family home. I honestly don’t know why this character even exists outside that purpose.

There’s some great performances and the direction is really nice, and there is one or two pants-filling jump-scares that will give the old alimentary canal a good cleaning out too.

Score: ***1/2

Format: Slumber was reviewed on the Australian Region 4 DVD, which runs for approximately 80 minutes and is presented in a fine 2.40:1 image with a matching 5.1 Dolby Digital audio.

Score: ****

Extras: Absolutely no extras unfortunately, as I think when you boldly proclaim ‘based on true events’ an explanation should be mandatory.

Score: 0

WISIA: I will definitely give this another go!

Evils of the Night (1985)

One from the to watch pile…
Evils of the Night (1985)


Film: Don’t you just love it when a friend suggests a movie you’ve never heard of to you? Then when you get your hands on it you see the awesome cover shown above, replete with amazing Tales of the Crypt styled artwork featuring a subtle rip-off of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon (by subtle I mean ‘glaring’) and find on the back it’s directed by Mardi Rustam, the producer of Eaten Alive, AND it stars Batman’s Julie Newmar, Gillian’s Island’s Tina Louise, Eaten Alive’s Neville Brand and b-movie legends Aldo Ray and Jon Carradine. (I have to also point out that that awesome cover was done by Tom Tierney who was America’s foremost Paper Doll artist!)


This sounds like it’s going to be a treat! That is, a terrible, awful tainted treat, like a rotted finger found by a cannibal behind the lounge.

Our story in this film is of a bunch of aliens (played by Carradine, Louise and Newmar) who have travelled to earth and quickly… very quickly… established a process where a couple of local crooks (Neville Brand and Aldo Ray) kidnap nubile young women and beefcake-ish young men and deliver them for processing as the aliens require human blood to survive!

Amazing! How did their species survive before they discovered interplanetary travel… maybe some concepts don’t open themselves up to critical scientific evaluation.

Of course, amongst their latest group of victims there are a few tenacious teens who may actually be able to survive the slaughter! 

Now as you may be able to tell from the synopsis, it’s a pretty daft story that has its roots in, well, every 50s American scifi film. In this film they have at least used the plot device of an older alien showing new ones how to perform their roles as leaders of expeditions as a way to convey the story to we, the viewer.

Mostly, the acting is deplorable, but thankfully the cast are good looking enough to keep your interest for a bit longer than a film this bad would probably deserve. The film is edited such that there are several nude/ sex scenes where the main cast aren’t involved so their demises don’t effect the outcome of the plot, but dropped 80s porn legend Amber Lynn in their is a bonus. The acting highlights would have to be Aldo Ray and Neville Brand as quite possibly the best hillbilly killers this side of the hills from The Hills Have Eyes.


This film has one real problem though above how bad the acting is and how generic the storyline is: the pacing. There are some scenes that just go on for far too long. The key to a movie that has tension is knowing when to tighten and release it, and this film doesn’t, so for the most part is becomes an unsatisfactory freakshow of hasbeens and neverwases.

It’s a strange film that’s as dumb as a box of hammers with a bizarre identity crisis: 80s soft core comedy porn a la Porky’s but with 50s or 60s scifi plot and ‘spaceman’ outfits. It’s ‘Plan 10 from Outer Space’ made real! I’m sure Ed Wood would have loved it!

Oh, by the way, the Milennium Falcon DOESN’T make an appearance in this film, even though the cover may suggest it! 

Score: **1/2

]

Format: This movie was reviewed in the Gorgon Video DVD which runs for approximately 85 minutes, and is presented in a clear but unspectacular 1.78:1 image with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio which is fine, but nothing special. There is an occasional artefact on the screen but it’s not detrimental to the viewing.

Score: ***

Extras: There are three extras on this disc: 

The first one is the ‘television’ cut of the film which lasts a whole 8 minutes longer than the regular version, but unfortunately isn’t very clear as it was taken from a video tape master. This version removes all the sex scenes and Amber Lynn isn’t even here at all! Criminal!

There are a bunch of outtakes here but unfortunately there is no audio. The look of embarrassment on the old greats is clear and present though.

We also have a trailer for the film.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I probably won’t watch this again, but I am glad to have seen it and loved the surprise appearance of Amber Lynn!

Celebrate ALIENS with Fright Rags

On the 22nd June, horror and sci-fi T shirt specialists Fright Rags are delivering us some fantastic ALIENS 30th anniversary product to celebrate our collective love for those chest-bursting bastards.

26019-Aliens-Box-Set_grande

6 different T shirt designs will be produced, including this limited to 500 box set above which comes with the version 1 T shirt, a ‘Bug-Stomper’ sticker and a set of 4 8×10 lobby cards.

01465-Aliens-V6_large

Also, there will be a baseball T available, and what I’m most excited about is ALIENS socks!!!

16058-Aliens-Socks_large

I’ll finally be able to retire my current favorite socks from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

I haven’t shown all the designs here because you should go to Fright Rags and check it out for yourself before it’s game over, man… GAME OVER!!!!

 

(all images Copyright (c) Fright Rags)