5 Reasons ‘Slither’ Is One Of The Greatest Horror Comedies Of All Time!!!

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I’ve made no secret about my love for James Gunn’s Slither, from my Remember This to the near constant references I drop in at least 1/3rd of the articles I write for this site, it’s pretty clear that I’m a die hard fan.

Simply put, Slither is a near perfect horror comedy that everyone should see. It’s not just the way it perfectly straddles its competing tones that makes it unique – it also has an undeniable warmth, you care for the characters and it’s a world that you constantly want to revisit.

As I was saying earlier this week, it’s always a joy to focus on something you love rather than tear something apart. So with that in mind, head below for 5 Reasons Slither Is One Of The Greatest Horror Comedies Of All Time!!!

THE SETTING

The entire town of Wheelsy, South Carolina (as portrayed by various parts of Canada) feels authentic and lived in. From the bum with the cleft palate to the tragicomedy of a woman pouring her heart into “The Crying Game” in front of an empty karaoke club. The smoking preacher. The annual Deer Cheer dance. It’s a town where everyone knows each other, not just their neighbor’s names but what makes them tick. From the crossing guard who intuits what Bill Pardy wants and desires to the short-hand between practically every character, we get the sense that this is a real community. Wheelsy is reminiscent of a lot of the small towns from 80′s Amblin films like Gremlins and is equally fleshed out.

JUGGLING PROTAGONISTS

The trials and tribulations of Bill Pardy and Starla Grant are alternated well throughout the first act, and right about the point where they team up to find Grant Grant the film introduces a new protagonist in Tania Saulnier’s Kylie Strutemyer. She doesn’t make a real entrance until about 37 minutes into the film, but there’s an entire set piece given over to her struggle to escape from her farm house. The whole affair is set-up like a slasher kill – drop a character in and kill them off – but proves to be much more . First, there’s the epically victorious bathtub battle with the slug, then the death of her family and their subsequent zombification. After she finally gets away from the house the film manages to streamline her into the primary narrative and we get three heroes to root for.

A SYMPATHETIC ANTAGONIST

I’ve written a lot about how touching (and hilarious) Starla’s attempts to stay true to the rapidly mutating Grant Grant are, but I’m not sure I’ve mentioned just how much I appreciate Grant Grant himself. While he’s kind of a d*ck in the beginning, he’s pretty far from being an outright villain. Rejected and horny he heads out for a night on the town, only to turn down an easy tryst because he knows Starla gets worried when he stays out too late.

Remarkably, he gets even more sympathetic once he’s taken over by the alien life form. Since the consciousness that now inhabits Grant Grant’s body has never experienced love before, it’s almost tragic to watch him get a taste of it through Grant’s memories (and ongoing experiences like make-up sex with Starla) and then wrestle with his own competing directives after the fact. On the one hand, he must kill and consume as much “meat” as possible until the planet is wiped out and what [seems like] a hive-mind is achieved. On the other, he doesn’t want to let go of the newfound tenderness his marriage has provided him.

CREATURE DESIGN AND BIOLOGY

Yes, we’d seen some similar stuff with slugs in Night Of The Creeps, but I’d argue that the logic of the creatures is more thought-out in Slither. Not only do we know their objectives, we become familiar with their weaknesses, abilities and life-cycles in a richer way. And the manner in which everything ties back into Grant Grant’s consciousness gives Slither the ability to unleash a wide array of monsters on Wheelsy while maintaining the sense of urgency behind the hunt for its primary antagonist.

THE PACING

Slither manages to feel like its racing along for the majority of its 90+ minute runtime, but it does so without sacrificing character or detail. In fact, the film takes plenty of breaks from the action and gives the viewer an opportunity to breath, and its judiciousness in this balance is commendable. Without all of these detours and asides, I’d revisit Wheelsy far less often.

  • doomas10

    Underrated horror comedy! The make up effects are so gross and over the top that makes it a brilliant film to watch. It’s like braindead with aliens (and less gore). I loved it – proudly sitting in my collection!

    • goose101

      Best Horror/Comedy still to this day

  • Mayday

    One of my all-time fave horror/comedies. But you forgot 2 reasons it’s great: 1. Nathan Fillion 2. Elizabeth Banks.

    • EvanDickson

      @Mayday well that goes without saying, the cast as great. I just wanted to concentrate on some stuff that people might have overlooked.

  • Darkness69

    “it’s always a joy to focus on something you love rather than tear something apart” – I second that, Evan, and that’s why I forgive you for The Crow. This is the movie I love as much as you love Slither, if not more, and I watch it every few months. I’d rather discuss the good stuff with a fellow horror fan and I definitely agree about Slither.

    • doomas10

      The crow for the win – without this film I am not the same!

      • Darkness69

        I feel the same way – there are really no words to describe it!

  • horrorking95

    Slither is great fun, but I’m not sure if I’d rank it as one of the best horror comedies ever. I think Severance is a really underrated comedy!

    There are some great lines though like, “Why would something want you to eat it!” and “that is some fucked up shit!” HAHA!

    • djblack1313

      horrorking95, SEVERANCE is so awesome! another very underrated movie!

    • diapers

      Ditto on Severance. Was beginning to think no one else had seen it.

    • Milk

      They are both good :D

  • djblack1313

    i love this movie. i saw it in theaters, bought the DVD and have watched it several times since then. it’s just really really aweosme! i loved Tania Saulnier in one of SUPERNATURAL’s best eps ever (the scarecrow ep!) and i was very happy she was in this. also it was cool to see THE OFFICE’s Jenna Fischer (Pam) as Shelby. and of course the superb Fillion & Banks (who had incredible chemistry).

    there’s so much to love about this movie.

    • Darkness69

      My antennas go off whenever someone mentions Supernatural!!! Too bad it’s not covered by BD, right?

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    i love this movie. i keep waiting for a blu-ray release. the one liners in this movie are hilarious. i think gregg henry was the perfect person to play the mayor. he was hilarious!

  • SkullBunnie

    Something must be wrong with me . I have tried and tried to like this movie (dont get me wrong I dont hate it) but i just get bored…am I missing something?

    • xAshleyMariex

      Your not the only one, I thought it was really boring.

    • diapers

      Did you watch it sober?

  • Chris from Rockport Review

    Here is my review from my blog rockportfilm.com

    In the spirit of the cheesy monster movies of years past “Slither” is quite the enjoyable film. It’s as funny as it is disgusting and bizarre. Directed by James Gunn, who previously worked at famed B-movie studio Troma, brings the same attitude and felling to “Slither” although with a much bigger budget.

    Taking place in Wheelsey, South Carolina this movie has a deep southern feel to it. Starring Elizabeth Banks as Starla a young southern belle married to the much older Grant, whose last name is also Grant, played by the intense Michael Rooker. The town sheriff Bill Pardy is played by genre icon Nathan Fillion. Many other movies come to mind while watching this like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Night of the Creeps” and many more.

    We open with a meteorite crashing down in a wooded area of Wheelsey behind Bill and his partners squad car as they whittle away an extremely slow and boring night. We see Starla and Grant have an argument and he heads off to the bar and picks up a local chick name Brenda. There is also has another woman in the bar singing karaoke to “The Crying Game” which is pretty funny. Grant and Brenda wander into the woods where he stumbles upon a giant slug like creature that upon investigation shoots him with a sort of worm dart that takes control of his brain. This also begins about his slow and gruesome transformation. He now has an insatiable hunger for raw meat. The next night while Starla waits for Grant at the big Deer Cheer dance she reconnects with Bill whose had a crush on her for years. Grant is a no show at the dance and Bill gives her a ride home as they talk and bond

    Probably the funniest character, although not initially, is the douche bag mayor Jack MacReady (MacReady was also the name of Kurt Russell’s character in “The Thing”). He is an arrogant jerk who gets all of the best one liners and his reactions to all of the mayhem are priceless. Grant “impregnates” Brenda with his alien appendages who is then stuck into a barn and turns into a giant and I mean giant blob, who eventually explodes releasing tons of slithering slugs that go in through you mouth a turn you into a brain dead zombie. Many of the locals get zombified and its up to our heroes Bill, Starla and a teenage girl named Kylie, whose family was also turned, to save the day. Grant is now a giant Jaba the Hut like creature with tentacles. The final showdown is nothing too special but the movie as a whole is pretty crazy fun to watch. “Slither is currently available on Netflix watch instantly. The DVD version also has a commentary if your into that sort of thing.

  • Canucklehead

    I love this movie but former Prime Minister Jean Cretien really let himself go if that 3rd pic is any indication.

  • Evan3

    @Evan3

    REDEMPTION! Is it strange for you to feel so beloved after your last big feature? JK of course (though a part of my heart shall always remain distant from you for throwing even the slightest aspirsion at The Omen).

    Anyways, I absolutely love this film. I would say that either this, The Descent, or the Ring was the best horror film of the 2000s. I am so happy that it introduced me to Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks. Easily one of the best creature features in decades. Thanks for highlighting it once again.

  • viking1983

    watched this again a few nights back after reading this article, apart from the great practical effects and cgi moments in this film, the film itself hasn’t aged well

  • kileysmith0

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  • VeryMacabre

    One of? Slither is the best Horror Comedy.