Slither (2006): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

With the outstanding success of James Gunn’s blockbuster films “Guardians of the Galaxy,” it’s the right time to re-visit the roots upon which Gunn established his film career. Gunn is of course a student of Lloyd Kaufman who began his filmmaking career working at Troma, and eventually worked his way up to his first feature film debut in 2006, directing the schlocky and fun “Slither.” Gunn’s 2006 science fiction horror thriller is very much what you would expect from a Troma alumni, as Gunn conjures up cult stars, and builds a premise that’s ridiculous but oddly entertaining. Scream Factory takes it upon themselves to not only deliver a deluxe edition on Blu-Ray (after originally being ported to the now obsolete HD-DVD), but to celebrate everything weird and wild about James Gunn.

This new edition doesn’t just act as a tribute to Gunn’s lunacy and wacky concepts, but to the now very successful blockbuster filmmaker and his penchant for originality and bold concepts. Set in a small Southern town named Wheelsy, Michael Rooker plays Grant, a middle aged car dealer who is infected with a parasite after it crashes in to the woods. With the parasite now consuming his body and taking over Grant’s urges, he begins going around town eating small animals, and soon infects a local housewife. As he gradually morphs in to a tentacled monster, she grows in to a morbidly obese incubator for his thousands of slug like offspring. With Sheriff Bill Pardy, and Grant’s wife Starla investigating the apparent phenomenon, they have to rush against time stop Grant, before the slugs consume the whole town and then the world.

Anyone interested in seeing where Gunn started and how he built a lot of his concepts, “Slither” is an entertaining horror comedy with some gross out fun. Despite the modest budget, Gunn allows for some wonderful and memorably disgusting special effects, both traditional and CGI. There are also a slew of memorable scenes including a slug invasion, a slug horde overtaking a helpless human, and a finale involving human hosts very reminiscent of Brian Yuzna’s “Society.” Gunn also directs a fine cast including Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Banks, and Nathan Fillion, all of whom deliver fine performances as Gunn builds on empathetic and engaging protagonists confronting an unusual and extraordinary situation. “Slither” is a fun, and loony bit of cult cinema and it’s a great glimpse at the madness Gunn would instill in even his mainstream cinematic fare.

The Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover art with the original poster and the new great artwork. There are a pair of audio commentaries with James Gunn, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, and another with Gunn, and star Fillion. There’s a thirty minute interview with writer and director James Gunn, who explains how he ended up making the movie, his inspirations for “Slither” which includes manga and Cronenberg, his positive experience working at Troma, and a ton of other more details about the production of “Slither including casting, dialogue, and surrealism. There’s an eight minute interview with co-star Gregg Henry who praises the cast, and Gunn’s tight script. There are seventeen minutes of deleted and extended scenes with optional commentaries by Gunn.

There’s a five minute montage of visual effects footage, and the process of creating them and injecting them in to the film. There’s a four minute set tour with star Nathan Fillion, who takes a camera around talking to Gunn, Elizabeth Banks and various others on the set. “Who is Bill Pardy?” is a five minute outtake reel with Fillion flubbing lines, and the cast mocking him. “The Sick Minds And Slimy Days Of Slither” is a ten minute standard “Making Of” with interviews and the like. “Brewing the Blood” is a three minute “How To” on creating fake blood. “Bringing Slither’s Creatures To Life” is an eighteen minute segment about love for physical and prosthetic effects, and the process of the creation for the movie. “Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary” is a nine minute diary with Lloyd Kaufman who brings us on the journey from the airport to his trip to the set. Finally, there’s an eight minute gag reel, and the HD original theatrical trailer.