The Horror Honeys: SLITHER: For Better or Worse... Much, Much Worse.

SLITHER: For Better or Worse... Much, Much Worse.

A Monster Honey Review by Jennica

Slither (2006)

"To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse..." But what if the marriage becomes far worse than could be imagined? Is it the respectable thing to stand by your man even if he's a squid-like alien eager to inject you with an entire colony of baby aliens? Or do you blast his ass and begin searching for your next future ex-husband? According to Slither (2006) logic, this is a tough call.

The Plot: In the tiny hick town of Wheelsy, a meteor falls to Earth containing slug-like parasitic aliens. When the wealthy Grant... uh... Grant (because there's always someone with the same first name as their last name in these parts) happens upon the meteor in the woods during a night of adultery, one of the slugs penetrates his body. Grant transforms into a carnivorous mutant hellbent on impregnating his wife Starla to repopulate the Earth with more slimy little shits (slugs, not children). When the whole town turns into mutants with a one-track mind, Chief Pardy-- with the help of Mayor MacReady and the teenage local Kylie-- work together to protect Starla from getting injected by her husband's double-phallic member.

Because two heads are better than one.

Slither is a fun science fiction creature feature for any fan of the genre; however, for the true nerd at heart with an eye for detail, the film not only immitates many creature features of the 1950s such as The Blob (1958) and The Thing From Another World (1951), it is also cleverly littered with references to a number of cult classics from the 80s and early 90s.

During the opening credits alone, there is a panning shot of the local businesses in town that can’t be missed with glimpses of R.J. MacReady’s Funeral Home and a banner hanging in the center of town that reads “Henenlotter’s Saddle Lodge Presents Deer Cheer.” For those not up to speed, R.J. MacReady was the name of Kurt Russell’s bearded character in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Frank Henenlotter brought us such sci-fi gems as the Basket Case films (1982 – 1991), Brain Damage (1988), and Frankenhooker (1990). Appealing to the younger sci-fi nerds, there is also a scene in which, if close enough attention is paid, a small child can be spotted rather appropriately reading Goosebumps #8: The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. Stine. While watching Slither, be sure to cover your mouths and keep your eyes peeled because the quick flashes of sci-fi gold will sneak up on you. 

There's something... toxic... about this movie.
Digging deeper into the dark slug-filled hole that is Slither, the film has a recurring theme regarding the sanctity of marriage in relation to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest. The idea that humans are the fittest species simply because they are smart enough to strategize for survival is played out through the marriage of Starla and Grant. 

There is talk in the town that Starla was raised in a dirt poor redneck household and Grant, who was never too easy on the eyes, was her golden ticket to a better life. It is clear from the start that the chemistry between the couple has gone stale, if it ever existed at all. Grant treats Starla as a replaceable piece of property and Starla is forced to "be a good wife" for the sake of maintaining her place on the food chain, or rather in society. Only after Grant begins hosting the parasitic party in his brain does he show any sign of emotion and sentiment toward the woman that he supposedly loves... but even then it's only for his own survival of the fittest which requires making hundreds of squirmy babies. 

Hey, some women make beautiful mothers. Some women.
“Baby, I love you. Just leave me the fuck alone.” Finally, as the remaining residents of Wheelsy stroll down the road side by side and the credits begin to roll, The Yayhoos serenade us with a catchy little country ditty which offers blunt yet sound relationship advice. While Air Supply's "Every Woman in the World" is scattered throughout the entire movie, placing the "good wife" on a pedestal like a trophy, "Baby, I Love You" drives home the message that love is not about ownership, but it is about companionship... and sometimes it's nice to just have some damn peace. Starla is reminded that, despite feeling love and loyalty toward her husband, she never needed protection from the world. 

Between the quick-witted humor, carefully selected music and science fiction homage, and the unapologetic statements regarding surviving marriage and life, James Gunn's genius is definitely showing through this movie. Gunn already proved his devotion as a horror fan with his screenplay for the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and he continued to confirm his fandom with Slither. While he has gone on to larger budget projects at major studios, recently writing and directing the Box Office hit Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), I can only hope that Gunn will one day return to the horror genre... for the greater good.

Jennica's Rating: 5 Exploding Baby Bumps out of 5

If you’re a fan of classic science fiction and enjoy being showered with pop culture references, Slither is available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Has Slither already invaded your eyeballs? Spew your thoughts at me on Twitter: @PrmQueenFrmMars