Field Guide to Invertebrates in Film: Slither

Slither (2006)
Critter: Parthenogenic space slug
Size: It starts out small at about 6 inches, but wait until it aggregates
Modus Operandi: Like many parasites, our space slug has a complicated life cycle. Initially, it enters a male human, burrows into his brain and gives him an ungodly carnivorous urge, multiple icky looking sores and growths, incredible speed and tentacles. He then impregnates a female human with billions of copies of the space slug. She too has an insatiable need for meat to nurture her little ones. When the space slug larvae complete their development, they burst out and seek new host brains.
How the Menace Emerges: An asteroid, of course
End Goal: Food, reproduction, world domination

Since it has been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted a real review, I thought I’d actually toss out a good film for once. Without any hesitation, I say that Slither is one of the best horror flicks to come out of the 2000s. Strangely, much of its charm comes from the fact that it harkens back to a more fun-filled time in horror but with a fresh take. Despite the fact that it’s chock full of nods to the greats that made the 70s and 80s such fun for horror fans (Carpenter, Cronenberg, Henenlotter), Slither outclasses the crappy fanboy pastiche that we’ve come to expect from the likes of Tarantino, Eli Roth and Rob Zombie. Rising out of the world of Troma, James Gunn (Writer of Tromeo & Juliet and Terror Firmer) has crafted a truly fun and truly creepy horror flick, and I hope he gets to do it again sometime soon. The one-liners are instant classics that ease out naturally and catch you off guard. The critter effects are manifested through an excellent blend of practical and digital effects and are thoughtful, convincing, gross and creepy, often at the same time. On top of that, Slither has a great script, with a rarity in horror: well-developed characters played by excellent actors. Although Gregg Henry (Lots of TV) steals the show as the ornery mayor with a sailor’s mouth, all of the actors come across as memorable and nearly naturalistic. Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) is as creepy in his own skin as in the monster prosthetics, yet somehow manages to invoke sympathy, Frankenstein’s monster-style. While not quite matching the caliber of a Henenlotter or Cronenberg, Gunn is a young kid who might be going places rather than one of the greats who has already proved his mettle and just gets better with age. Slither might be as good as it gets on the big screen these days, and that’s not too bad.

Nit-picking Science: Starla, the genus Homo may have split from our ancestors about 2.5 - 2 million years ago, but Homo sapiens didn’t spring up until about 250,000 – 200,000 years ago. Same with the cockroaches: Blattoptera may date to 350 million years ago, but our little roach pals didn’t truly arise until about 150 million years ago.

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