No, not the 1973 Slither, a seriously weird and delightful film starring James Caan and Sally Kellerman. This is yet another of several “horror comedies” we have seen lately. I have no idea why the 1973 film was called that, it’s one of the mysteries. It is clear why this one was so titled. It’s the slimiest movie I’ve seen since Beethoven. (And I’m just remembering that it was Ridley Scott, H. R. Giger, and the production designer for Alien who inflicted almost forty years of slime on us. Every horror film uses slime these days.)
It starts off very much like The Blob did, in 1958. A small meteorite crashes out in the boondocks. A man and woman approach it and then do what I firmly believe will actually be the first thing done when humanity comes in contact with aliens: He pokes it with a stick. This turns out to be just as bad an idea in 2006 as it was in 1958. This time the alien doesn’t eat him, though. It penetrates him and takes over his mind, yet doesn’t erase him. He still feels like himself, still loves his wife. But he’s starting to melt down physically. And we go on from there, to increasing levels of slime and rubber special effects, eventually killing everyone in town except our three central characters.
It stars Michael Rooker as the stick-poker, and Elizabeth Banks as his wife. But what makes it all work comedically is Nathan Fillion as the long-suffering chief of police in the little redneck town of Wheelsy, South Carolina (actually, Vancouver, B.C.). A good ninety percent of the population is trailer trash, and you won’t miss most of them when they are dismembered or consumed. I knew I’d seen this guy somewhere, and I was right. He was the ship captain in Firefly. He is one of those characters who has a quip ready no matter how dire the situation, and is given all the funny lines.
This was a flop when it came out, in spite of good reviews. It has since become a cult film. We thought it was okay.