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[Remember This?] When Nobody Went To See ‘Slither’?!

As I was fighting to stay awake through Silent Hill: Revelation last night, I was wondering where the fun was. Why was I being served this as entertainment? And then I remembered… it’s partially my fault.

I mean, every community has its upsides and downsides. Do you want to know what the downside to being a horror fan is? We bitch and moan about how we’re never given anything original, fresh or inventive. That’s not true. We’re typically given a few great wide releases each year. Do you want to know why we’re not given more than that? Because we don’t go. Not until it’s too late, anyway. Sure, there are lots of variables. Perhaps a film doesn’t have the best or most extensive P&A campaign. Or it’s opening on a crowded weekend. Or the economy’s bad (even though the entire success of the Paranormal Activity franchise occurred after the bottom fell out). Whatever the excuse may be at the moment, it’s almost a constant. Remember how John Carpenter’s The Thing tanked in 1982? We’ve been dodging gifts for decades. And in this day and age, we can be savvier than that.

Case in point? James Gunn’s Slither. Most of you have probably seen it by now, but I bet hardly any of you saw it in a theater. It opened to a $3.88 million weekend in early 2006. Its domestic gross topped out at $7.8 million. In a world where some of the worst – and most boring – horror films can make $30 or $40 million on an opening weekend, one of the best horror comedies of the decade made only a fraction of that during its entire run. Don’t worry, I’m not pointing the finger just at you. I wasn’t there either (I lamely caught up with it on DVD in December of that year).

Head inside for more…

Slither has almost everything you could ask for. It’s gross. It’s funny. The characters go beyond being merely likable and relatable and into legitimately compelling territory. Sure, Elizabeth Banks extolling the virtues of marriage to a monstrous Michael Rooker is funny, but it’s also played so straight that it’s almost wrenching. The narrative is perfectly paced, the tone perfectly pitched (incredibly hard for this sort of thing) and it has a wide variety of creatures (including the ever-popular zombie) at its disposal. More than anything else, it’s fun.

And it’s now a classic, albeit one that most of us will never get to see on the big screen. Almost every wide-release horror film that year performed better including The Omen remake, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Grudge 2, Pulse and the f*cking Black Christmas remake.* Are you more likely to watch any of those this Halloween than the misadventures of Grant Grant?

We give ourselves tons of excuses for our oversights when we should be owning up to the fact that we can do better. We can demand better. We can have the self control to skip sh*tty movies and wait for good ones. In the case of Slither, if you haven’t seen it you can fix that problem right now. It’s available to rent right here for a fair price. And if you’ve got Netlfix Instant, it’s on there as well.

*To be fair, Hostel, The Descent and Pan’s Labyrinth (the latter of which had some awards momentum) did well in 2006 and those are actually good movies. Still, why do you think we so often miss the good stuff in theaters?



  • teenyzombie

    im a sick person, i had the promotional mini poster from Slither hanging in my bathroom for two

  • sdg1105

    I was lucky enough to catch it on the big screen. It was one of my favorite films to see on the big screen.

  • DeadEndMike

    I enjoyed Slither and am happy that I saw in on the big screen. To address your question my opinion of why horror fans dont go and support new horror films a lot of the time is because a lot of us would rather sit and home and re-watch our favorites than to branch out into something new. I cant explain this phenomenon. I love my classics and have my favorites but I am in the theater on every new horror release. I have also been disappointed by a lot of new horror. Maybe staying away from the theater is the fear of disappointment.

    • EvilHead1981

      I think staying away from the theater because of being disappointed is my initial reason for avoiding new horror. Just because a movie’s new doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. Slither was a good movie, but how many of those “new” movies that say they are going to do good(and the people behind them rally about how you should support them because it will lead to more original movies), only to realize the movie was a steaming pile of shit and if horror was to continue on in THAT direction, the world might just be a lot better place killing it right there. I’ve seen a LOT of horrible original movies(maybe just as much as horrible reboots), so it shouldn’t be rallying behind something “original” just for the sake of it. It should be rallying behind good movies in general. Supporting bad movies, be them bad remakes/reboots or bad original movies gets us nowhere.

  • MrDisgusting

    I saw it twice in theaters! I win! 😉

  • mav07

    I think my appetite to see ANY movie in the theater died when the prices sky-rocketed from 5 bucks a ticket to 15 over the short span of like 10 years. I am VERY picky when it comes to seeing movies in the theater now-a-days. I honestly don’t plan on seeing another horror in the theater until probably January or whenever “Chainsaw” comes out.

    • EvanDickson

      @mav07 I know high ticket prices are a drag, but people still seem to be going to the bad ones.

      did you see Cabin In The Woods? Just curious.

      • mav07

        Ha, yeah I actually saw a free screening of it in MN when you were touring with Goddard. I loved it. Loved it even more that it was free.

        • EvanDickson

          @mav07 why didn’t you say hi?

          • mav07

            I should have, would have liked to meet Drew also but he bolted outta there. Maybe at the next screening

        • A-Devils-Reject

          Where at in Minnesota are you from? $5 matinees where I live.

          • mav07

            15 minutes south of the cities. Last matinee I went to i think it was still 9 bucks

          • Chris-Grap

            If you’re near Mall of America Trick ‘r Treat is playing at 7:25P on Halloween for $5. Talk about not being able to see something on the big screen. At least Slither got a proper release!

    • A-Devils-Reject

      Damn, well if you’re ever north of the cities, Monticello is $7 a movie, $5 for matinee. Used to be 8.50 and 6.50 but for some reason dropped big time over the last year.

  • Remember-Slithis

    I saw it in Theaters too!Took a few buddies they both loved it too.I feel the same way about “Cabin In The Woods”.It did OK but I thought for it’s original twist that people would be lining up to see it!I blame Ticket Prices,Bootlegs,3D’s new found popularity by distributors and Shitty made remakes.

  • I absolutely love this movie, I wanted to see it when it was out, but couldn’t ever find a ride. Nonetheless, it is a favorite.

  • diapers

    I saw it in the theater. However, I have forgotten both premise and plot, as I have expunged those particular brain cells. Will re-watch within the week, darn tootin’.

  • djblack1313

    i too saw it in theaters and i really liked it!

  • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

    I was bummed that I missed this one in theaters. The reason, I think, that so many shitty horror movies make so much in theaters, and so many great horror movies do not, is because not everyone is a horror fan. Perhaps with Slither, a lot of horror fans DID go see it, but it didn’t carry the sleek, mainstream appeal of something like The Grudge 2, or the “THIS SHIT’S GONNA BE SO FUCKING INTENSE!!!!!!” marketing campaign of Hostel. The movie didn’t really have any big stars (Elizabeth Banks wasn’t as famous then as she is now and there aren’t a whole lot of non-genre fans who would go see something just for Rooker being in it), and seems to have been made for just horror fans. I think this probably happens a lot, actually: all the hardcore horror fans will go see a movie in theaters, but there simply aren’t enough of us to make an impact at the box office, especially when the casual moviegoer has big-budget summer action flicks, or epic fantasy movies, or rom-coms starring Gerard Butler, or pg-13 horror movies with actors they recognize, and couldn’t be bothered to go see a movie with no explosions, no actors that they’ve heard of, and what looks from the ads to be about bathtub worms and tentacled mutants. I love the movie, and I really wish that more original, awesome movies like it would come out in theaters, but the sad truth is that the horror community is hopelessly outnumbered by people who would rather see something “safe” than something original.

  • viking1983

    did you just say hostel was a good film? it is fucking awful, slither was entertaining but not cinema worthy, more a straight to dvd flick, there is very few horror films that are great enough to make cinema now and the crap that does make it is usually rehashed sequels that are boring like the saw and paranormal activity series

  • flesheater24

    I wrk at the theater when i saw it HATED IT. but then again the trailer suggested something different then what we got. I gotta see it again for sure been wanting too.

  • Blood-Sicles

    Dude I was there opening night. Loved it

  • Zombie-Killa

    I was lucky enough to see it in theaters a while back. Loved it, and Slither provides some of the most unreal gross-out moments you’ll ever see!

  • WalkingDeadGuy

    I think a big part of the success of some remakes is the familiarity aspect. Horrible remakes like ‘Halloween’, NOES’ and ‘Black Christmas’ speak to us because we grew up watching them. With ticket prices being so high nowadays, people may want a sure bet that they’ll enjoy themselves, and watching something that’s in the same family as what they loved as kids may be a big part of its financial success. With that being said, we all should know better, the track record for most remakes is less than perfect.

    I make sure I read reviews from people I trust, remake, sequel, or original. I remember keeping my eyes peeled for a showing of ‘Let the right one in’ when I read about how amazing it was. Same with ‘Wolf Creek’, ‘High Tension’ and ‘The Descent’. In the case of ‘Slither’, I liked it, but I do not regret not seeing it in theaters; just not my cup of tea.

  • Trioxin83

    Seeing this and also Cabin in the Woods in a theater was great!!! We need more movies like this to be in theaters, it’s just pure fun that you don’t get with a lot of other movies.

  • Aaron Emery

    I also saw this in the theater, I actually had skipped school that day during my senior year, I fell in love with it instantly. Slither is such a fun movie, it’s still one of my go to flicks on a bad day. As far as being out grossed by the other releases that year, Hostel was really hyped up prior to its release, and The Omen (although terrible) was more accessible to mainstream audiences, and Black Xmas I have to say (shamefully) I kinda have a lot of love for that movie, it’s obviously nothing like the original but it’s a lot of fun.

  • niuq

    …you guys, c’mon. Slither was really only ‘pretty good’ at best. Nathan Fillion and Rooker are always great. But let’s be honest… It wasn’t SO original. The writing and direction was certainly good. The story however was pretty much a lift of or spinoff / update of ‘Night of the Creeps’. I won’t deny Slither was a ‘pretty good’ flick, and I did see it in theatres btw. But it’s box office take was probably an accurate representation of the film itself. I can imagine its found an audience (clearly) and has done better on home video and it makes sense that’s where it’s thrived. An excellent horror film will typically be reflected by an excellent box office (that doesn’t always hold true, obviously). Also, is it possible that horror comedy is an even harder sell? I personally would prefer a straight up horror film. An audience looking to see a comedy probably wants Adam Sandler (I, loathe). Just a thought.

    • Skull-And-Crossbones

      just my 2 cents here but when it comes to horror comedies i don’t think the point is to be extremely original nor do i feel that it has to be. as long as it has it’s horror elements blend well with it’s comedy then i think it achieved it’s goal. and, of course, it has to be funny. it’s not supposed to be taken seriously so they can kind of have more flexibility when it comes to originality. i LOVED the movie by the way. it had some of the greatest one liners i’ve heard in a horror comedy in a long time. but in my opion those were eventually topped by ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    back to the original topic here. i think Slither did poorly in theaters because it’s more of movie for the die hard horror fans who truly know the meaning of “bad/stupid on purpose”. i think the casual, or even less than casual fan would look at that and be like “giant parasitic alien snails that make people eat tons of meat, kill other people, and become really deformed!?? that’s ridiculous!”. also, with movies like The Grudge 2 and Pulse – the paranormal sub genre boomed after the rise in popularity with shows like ‘Ghost Hunters’, ‘Ghost Adventures’, ‘Paranormal State’, etc.

  • divisionbell

    I loved this movie. How brilliant was the flash of the home planet when the slug tried to get the young girl?? If this had come to a theater near me I would have seen it.

    But you’re right. Most of the time something original comes out and no one sees it.

  • BabyJaneHudson

    In specific reference to Slither, when I finally did watch it it wasn’t at all what I had expected. I think that the marketing didn’t do a great job at showing the comedy in the film, which for me was its greatest strength, even if, as @niuq says, its similar to Night of the Creeps. In general though, I think that it is often very difficult to find GOOD horror at the theater, and as a result I’m often hesitant to trust a film is going to be worth the money until I’ve heard the reviews. That being said, I think that this is a great discussion to be having @EvanDickson. I feel like in the past year or so we’ve seen a swing towards better quality horror than there has been in several years and we do have a responsibility to nurture and support the kinds of movies that we love to watch.

  • Michael_M

    Don’t even remember the movie. But now that you’ve piqued my interest, I’m not sure how to watch it. It’s not available on the Playstation network or iTunes, at least not here in Canada. Most local video stores have closed, assuming they would carry a small title like this. Sure, I’ve got plenty of other options, but a successful horror comedy is a rare treat. Often wonder whether all the suffering and violence of horror is a good thing. I enjoy the genre immensely but a break every now and then is welcome.

  • GhostsOfRoute23

    You gotta be careful with what you’re saying. Just because a movie isn’t a sequel or reboot doesn’t mean we should support it. A bad movie is a bad movie- original or not. We should be supporting anything that’s great and not base that on rather or not its a sequel/reboot or a new movie entirely. That being said I’m not one for horror comedies. Most are 97% comedy with a little Gore thrown in to constitute the horror part. I Avoid em like the plague. I have yet to see one that blends both elements well that is actually funny. Hatchet was awesome though.

  • Trixxxster

    It was hard to want to go see this when the trailers made it look like some warmed-over Night of the Creeps rip-off. I only just recently watched it on TV one lazy Sunday afternoon and really regretted not watching it sooner. Bad marketing I guess. . . though I did see Cabin in the Woods in theaters and was very glad I did.

  • james silcox

    I never heard of it before now but after hearing about it I’ll have to get it now! Since I’ve became a horror fan I try to support any horror movie that comes to town.

  • Lionel-Cosgrove

    I saw it in the theater and dragged two of my non-horror fan friends. I win!

  • j.c

    I been asking myself the same question for years. Good movies do seem to underperform lately, even when they dont have much in way of competition on opening weekend. Saw Slither on opening weekend and liked it alot and Im also reminded that movies like Devil’s Rejects, Grindhouse and Land of the Dead all under performed at the box office. Seems in this day in age when you can just click on a review to see if a film sounds like it might be in your wheelhouse, we should be able to get a few ofd these to a decent opening at least. Saw Sinister with the wife last night and we both liked it too.

  • Deadite4Life

    I saw it in theaters, but I may or may not have paid for it. My friend who worked at the theaters during that time would usually give me free tickets, so I would be surprised if I spent anything on it.

    Now, I live in Taiwan and horror movies almost never make it to the big theaters here.

    I guess I’m part of the problem.

  • Grime

    Slither is fucking terrible. I wish lame-ass fanboys would get off Nathon Fillion’s dick because he sucks too.

    • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

      Right? Obviously the only reason people would wanna watch this is because of Fillion (who totes sucks, that’s why people shouldn’t like him), fuck all that “it looks good so I want to see it” bullshit. Fuckin lame-ass lyin fuckin people with their opinions and shit, what fags…

      • djblack1313

        m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL it sounds like YOU want to ride Nathan’s cock. you and your partner Grime deserve each other. “what st8’s”.

    • djblack1313

      Grime, nice ignorant blanket statement. grow up.

  • unholy1

    I actually do try to make it a point to see every horror movie released in my area, usually end up missing movies that are limited released. I was one of the people that went and saw Slither and liked it. I usually hate when they mix comedy with horror because it ruins the whole mood of the movie for me. There has been a few movies tho that I have missed and I regret not seeing them on the big screen like Zombieland for an example, and there was movies I have missed in theaters and was glad I didn’t go like say One Missed Call. Thanks to Uwe Boll now I actually pay attention to who is directing movies. After seeing a few of his movies in theaters I was like there is no way in hell I am going support anymore movies of his. Its bad enough that movies adapted from video games are terrible and is now prolly partially his fault as he has quite a few made.

  • zog71

    Honestly, I never saw this in the theater is because where I live, not all movies make it to our screens. I live in a small town where in order for me to see a movie I have to travel about 45 miles in either direction. The places I go have around 40 to 45 thousand people and hold a couple of theaters a piece, but most play more popular films I will say. Those like “Slither” really never make here, but I did see it on DVD and actually have it in my collection. I found it funny as hell and have seen it several times.

  • dth

    I actually saw this at the drive-in on opening night after the good buzz surrounding the film and how it would be the next horror classic. I was also eager to see James Gunn’s next flick after he penned the Dawn of the Dead remake, which is one of my favorites. I was VERY disappointed with this film, and I actually HATED it with a passion. It was slow in the beginning, the comedy never landed, I was disappointed by the gore, there seemed to be a lack of carnage and the movie was just all around stupid. And most people that I’ve talked to about this movie(albeit, not of the horror “community”) hated it also. Basically, I disagree 100% with every thing this article states that this movie did well. I know the film has its fans, but I’m very glad it flopped. I praise original horror any day, but not when it’s just awful.

  • I visit Bloody Disgusting often SO that I won’t miss gems like Slither. I come here to get the horror lover’s perspective on the limited release/underground/fringe cinema horror that we all enjoy. That said, it disappoints me when I see films on the “upcoming release” segment of the site, and then they aren’t immediately reviewed upon opening- or worse, are never reviewed at all… What ever happened to Killer Joe?! How about The Barrens?! Both looked like they had potential, especially Killer Joe- Sometimes I take my chances when I see a film that I think could be great, but let’s face it, the theaters aren’t cheap anymore. Keep us up to date on these films!

    Also- there was a clip posted for a film called Dust Up a few weeks ago. Not a horror film per se, but tremendous violence and gore. Since then I have not been able to find any mention of said film. What gives!?

  • Also I thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning was awesome.

  • Joey_Redballs

    I, and about 1,500 other lucky people had an opportunity to see Slither followed by a Q&A with the entire cast & director, before it hit theaters, and for FREE! It was at the 2006 Chicago Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. Universal was bus-ing people from the hotel convention center, to the theater, for FREE! However, few people went. Why? This free, star-studded premiere, was taking place at the same exact time as George Romero signing autographs. At the time, as far as I know, George had never been to the Chicago area to sign autographs. We all paid a significant amount of money for an autograph ticket. Creation Entertainment put together the whole convention; those greedy bastards oversold autograph tickets for George Romero. George was signing beyond the convention’s close time. That’s when people begged us to abandon the autograph line, to go see the world premiere of Slither instead of getting our Romero autograph; no one budged. When I got to George, my bladder was ready to burst; I know he had to feel the same since he had no break for about 4-5hrs. The con employees and all but 1 con volunteer had abandoned ship. The line behind me still stretched the length of the room. There were rumors that some people were getting back in line for unpaid seconds. I flagged down that lone con volunteer and got George a bathroom break. I figured it was the least I could do for a man that made movies that changed my life. To this day, I don’t know if George even returned to signing more autographs, or if he used the opportunity to abandon ship. But I couldn’t blame him if he did. Creation Entertainment really made it a FUBAR experience for everyone involved. And had they sold a reasonable number of autograph tickets, then I could have hopped on a bus and saw the premiere of Slither. Instead, I don’t think they even filled the theater for free world premiere, that was being handed on a silver platter to the core demographic. I have no doubt that universal got wind of this, and probably cut back on marketing for a movie they couldn’t give away for free. Again, I blame Creation Entertainment.

  • Mayday

    Not only did I see Slither its opening weekend (and loved it), but I saw every other movie mentioned in the article, except for Pan’s Labyrinth, in theaters as well. So don’t blame me, I fully support horror in theaters.:D.

  • Klepto4

    I didn’t see it in cinemas, now that’s some f*cked up sh*t there lol. It’s spot on, the comedy is a modern day ghostbusters, each comedy timing note is pitch perfect. Yeah it had a straight to vid feel too it(lowish budget), but it works and is probably better for it. I’ve got the DVD and it’s one of the very few that I may well upgrade to Blu-ray. This is film that stands along side the best of it’s genre ‘Comedy Horror’ and deserves a shiny new/all singing, all dancing special edition, steel book Blu-ray

  • Bjames401

    This was a good movie. But we all know great horror movies are str8 to DVD. It is very hard to trust horror in the cinemas. Like everyone said price of tickets are crazy. So now every horror movie set is for teens. PG-13 films should just be considered thrillers instead of horror. Every release seem very lame and do live up to being the worst. I wish a lot of underground guys got the shot to roll out a big budget film. That would help fill cinemas.

  • Mr.Mirage

    Considering the low turnout, and from what I see here, apparently we the most die hard of fans did go see it… the question, then, IMHO is more “What made you want to see it?” For my daughter, total horror freak, it was the inclusion of Captain Tight Pants (Nathan Fillion). Granted, I like him as well, but seeing Micheal Rooker was my initial grab… and seeing the trailer punchline (“I don’t feel so good.”) sold it for the both of us.

    Finding out the director not only learned at the Kaufman School Of Filmmaking, but gave a shout-out sealed the deal.

    It looked insane, funny and gross in the trailer. Why WOULDN’T I see it?

  • Miikesmama

    That’s what I thought, suddenly EVERYONE saw the film in the theaters. Right…

  • KidKobun

    Yeah, I missed Slither while it was in theaters, but I picked up the HD DVD when those were still relevant, and I watch it every now and then on my 360 HD DVD player. 😉
    Also, what the heck:
    Why is there a copy of Slither on Blu-ray going for $109?

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