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Official poster for Slither
Directed by James Gunn
Produced by Paul Brooks
Eric Newman
Thomas Bliss
Written by James Gunn
Starring Nathan Fillion
Elizabeth Banks
Michael Rooker
Gregg Henry
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Gregory Middleton
Editing by John Axelrad
Studio Universal Pictures
Gold Circle Films
Strike Entertainment
TVA Films
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) March 31, 2006
Running time 95 minutes
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Gross revenue $12,834,936[1]

Slither is a 2006 comedy horror film produced by Gold Circle Films and Strike Entertainment, released by Universal, written and directed by James Gunn, and starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier and Jenna Fischer, and was produced by Paul Brooks and Eric Newman. Slither was James Gunn's directorial debut, and was influenced by B movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Shivers.[2][3]



Rural tycoon Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) is infected by a malevolent extraterrestrial creature that threatens to destroy the human race. Soon, unusual things begin to happen within the normally peaceful town of Wheelsy, South Carolina. Pets go missing, followed by livestock, and finally people, with all of it leading back to Grant. As Grant slowly mutates into a hideous creature, his wife Starla (Elizabeth Banks) begins to notice her husband's behavior and physical changes. Wheelsy's citizens are infected by the alien parasite plague, which is transforming them into zombies. The zombies are being controlled through a hive mind relationship with Grant. A small group of survivors led by the town's sheriff, Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion), try to prevent the parasites from spreading. When the heroes discover the zombies can be traced back to Grant, they realize they need to kill him.


Background and production

Gunn was said to be influenced by the wave of graphically violent horror B movies of the late 1970s and early 1980s, largely created by such directors as John Carpenter, Lloyd Kaufman, David Cronenberg, Stuart Gordon and Fred Dekker; it has close similarities to older staples like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Tremors, Night of the Living Dead, and in particular Night of the Creeps.[2][3] The film's similarities to other films triggered protests from filmgoers, according to journalist Steve Palopoli:

When the trailer for Slither came out, Internet boards about the movie suddenly lit up with protests from a legion of fans of the 1986 film Night of the Creeps. "Alien slugs that turn people into zombies!" they cried. "What a rip-off!" I bring this up not because I think Slither--which is a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of at least a dozen '80s horror films--could really be considered a rip-off of any one of them.[3]

However, Gunn has stated that David Cronenberg's Shivers and The Brood were the two biggest influences on the story in Slither along with the manga Uzumaki by Junji Ito.[4][5][6][7][8] Slither also pays homage to the studio Troma Films, where Gunn began his career. Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo as a "Sad Drunk", and one scene includes a clip from the Troma film The Toxic Avenger.


Slither was released on regular DVD and on HD DVD/DVD hybrid disc on October 24, 2006.[9] The HD version is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen encoded at 1080p and Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 surround. In addition to the film, the DVD contains two making-of documentaries, one being solely dedicated to the visual effects. The DVD also contains deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel, visual effects progressions, a set tour with Nathan Fillion, and audio commentary by James Gunn and Nathan Fillion. Also included are featurettes outlining how to make edible blood, and Lloyd Kaufman's documentary discussing his day on set, and the shooting of his one line (which was eventually cut from the film). Finally, there is an added bonus entitled "Who Is Bill Pardy?" which is a joke feature made by Gunn with the sole purpose of roasting Nathan Fillion, and was shown at the film's wrap party.[10]


Box office performance

Slither debuted in the United States and Canada on March 31, 2006 in 1,945 theaters. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $3,880,270 and ranked #8 at the U.S. and Canadian box office.[11] Slither grossed $7,802,450 in its theatrical run in the United States and Canada.[12] Slither also underperformed in France, grossing $236,261 from 150 screens.[13] The film grossed $5,032,486 as of February 6, 2008 in territories outside the United States and Canada for a worldwide gross of $12,834,936.[12] Its box office performance was substantially less than its total budget of $29.5 million, including marketing costs;[11] the production budget taking up about $15 million of the total.[14] Paul Brooks, president of Slither's production company, Gold Circle Films, said the company was "crushingly disappointed" by the gross.[11] Universal Pictures distanced itself from the Slither's poor box office performance, citing their distribution of the film as merely part of a deal with Gold Circle Films.[15] The Hollywood Reporter speculated that Slither's performance "might have killed off the horror-comedy genre for the near future."[11] Producer Paul Brooks offered this explanation about why Slither failed to catch on with movie-goers:

I think that because it was comedy-horror instead of pure horror is where the problem lay. It's the first comedy-horror in a long time, and maybe the marketplace just isn't ready for comedy-horror yet. It's difficult to think of other explanations.[11]

DVD performance

The DVD opened at #8 in sales and #15 in rentals, grossing $3,389,405[16] in sales and $2.08 million[17] in rentals in its opening week. The DVD total rental gross reached $11.1 million[18] and total DVD sales were $4,541,528 as of 2006.[19]

Critical reception

Film review website Rotten Tomatoes, which calculates the consensus of critics across the United States, found that Slither was generally embraced favorably by critics,[20] with a rating of "85% fresh".[21] The movie was also featured in the April 14, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly as #1 on "The Must List"; "Ten Things We Love This Week".[22] Slither picked up the 2006 Fangoria "Chainsaw Award" for the Highest Body Count, and garnered nominations in the categories of Relationship From Hell, Dude You Don't Wanna Mess With, and Looks That Kill.[23] Additionally, the horror magazine Rue Morgue named Slither the “Best Feature Film of the Year,”.[24] Among the critics who did not like the film, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper gave Slither a "two thumbs down" rating on their television show, with Richard Roeper saying he was "all zombied out" after reviewing a wave of zombie-themed movies from the year before.[25] Guest critic Michael Phillips named Slither his DVD pick of the week on the television show Ebert & Roeper. Slither was listed as one of the “Top 25 DVDs of the Year” by Peter Travers in Rolling Stone magazine.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Slither at Box Office Mojo". 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  2. ^ a b Randy Miller III (2006-10-13). "DVD Talk Review: Slither". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  3. ^ a b c Steve Palopoli (2006-04-05). "Film Reviews & Movie Showtimes 'Slither'". Metro Active. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  4. ^ Elaine Lamkin (September 2005). "Slither: Writer/Director James Gunn Gets Sticky". Bloody-Disgusting. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  5. ^ Sheila Roberts. "Exclusive : James Gunn Interview". MoviesOnline. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  6. ^ Brian Myers (2005-07-19). "Slither: Exclusive 1-on-1 Interview with James Gunn!". Bloody-Disgusting. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  7. ^ D_Davis (2006-04-05). "Genrebusters James Gunn - Interview 04/06". Genre Busters. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  8. ^ Palopoli, Steve (April 5-11, 2006). "'Slither' Slugfest" (in English). Metroactive. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  9. ^ "'Slither' Oozes to HD DVD this October". High-Def Digest. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  10. ^ "". 
  11. ^ a b c d e Borys Kit (2006-04-05). "'Slither' leaves gloomy trail". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  12. ^ a b "Slither (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  13. ^ Conor Bresnan (2006-04-24). "Around the World Roundup: 'Ice Age' Spans Four Weeks, Tops $300M". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  14. ^ "Slither (2006)". Box Office Mojo. 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  15. ^ Brandon Gray (2006-04-03). "'Ice Age 2' Hot, 'Basic Instinct 2' Not". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  16. ^ "US DVD Sales Chart for Week Ending Oct 29, 2006". The Numbers. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  17. ^ "USA DVD Rentals: 29 October 2006". IMDb. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  18. ^ USA DVD Rentals: 24 December 2006
  19. ^ DVD sales as of 11/05/2006
  20. ^ ROTTEN TOMATOES: 8th Annual Golden Tomato Awards
  21. ^ Slither - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  22. ^ The Must List: April 14, 2006 | Must List | News + Notes | Entertainment Weekly
  23. ^ Chainsaw Awards - Nominees
  24. ^ "R.I.P. 2006 The Year in Review". RUE MORGUE. Jan/Feb 2007. 
  25. ^ Reviews from the Weekend of April 1–April 2, 2006. Ebert & Roeper, from
  26. ^ Travers, Peter (November 30, 2006). "Best 25 DVDs". ROLLING STONE. 

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