James Gunn went from writing and producing the horrific Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed to writing and directing tongue-in-cheek monster movie Slither. This story of a small town overrun by alien parasite worm thingies was Gunn's "unashamed tribute" to the 80s horrors that he loved as a kid. Film critics appreciated its cheeky post-modernist vibe as did a niche audience of horror buffs.
Slugging It Out
Gunn had to tread a fine line between comedy and the scary stuff, which he talks about in a commentary for twelve deleted and extended scenes. Michael Rooker (Grant) suffered most of the cuts, like a sequence where he takes to filing raw meat products in folders (craved by those who have been infected with the alien parasite). The director explains that this made Grant "too goofy" and so "less scary" to test audiences. Other scenes find a salivating Grant kidnapping a small dog and more of Bill (Nathan Fillion) trying to chat up Starla (Elizabeth Banks).
You can see more outtakes in a giggly gag reel and the featurette Who Is Bill Pardy? where Fillion utters the immortal line "I've got a dark gift in my pants." Although Fillion wouldn't like to admit it, the real stars of this show are the alien whatsits who are given the spotlight in a visual effects featurette. For the scene where Kylie (Tania Saulnier) chokes on one of these slug-like parasites, it turns out that this was actually a sausage-like roll of thermal gel commonly used in the "adult novelty industry". Nothing Freudian there then...
A reel of "visual effects progressions" demonstrates where CGI came into play and there's also a short featurette on making fake blood. The recipe uses a corn syrup base, which also goes quite nicely with pancakes. Just make sure you eat desert before settling down to watch the movie.
Gunn talks about wanting to "bring back the over-the-top fun and horror of the 1980s films" in a pretty basic Making Of featurette. It's mostly taken up with the usual waffle about casting and Banks goes overboard with gushing sentiment for her director. She wears a crazy grin and calls him her "true love" and then insists that he is just as much in love with her. Scary lady...
Cult horror director Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger) took a cameo role in the film and shoots an uneventful video diary to commemorate the occasion. There's a full inspection of his dingy trailer before he finally gets to set where Gunn instructs him to "run like a human". Thankfully the director is a little more eloquent when it comes to his commentary for the film. He points out all the references to horror films of yore (including The Toxic Avenger) and bemoans the lack of "creepiness" in the genre today. We also get a disturbing insight into his subconscious when he reveals that an image of a woman with a "flapping worm in her mouth" popped into his head one day and inspired him to write the script.
This platter of bonus features is much easier to digest - keeping things light rather than getting too deeply into the nitty-gritty of filmmaking. If you're a fan of playful 80s horror fare like Gremlins and Critters, this DVD will probably worm its way into your affections.