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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reel Bad Cinema: Slithis (1978) review


SPAWN OF THE SLITHIS 1978 aka SLITHIS

Alan Blanchard (Wayne Conners), Judy Motulsky (Jeff Conners), J.C. Claire (Dr. John), a bunch of people playing wino's, weirdo's and Hy Pyke as a bug eyed policeman

Directed by Stephen Traxler

"Scientists named this organic mud....Slithis!"


A creature born from science and toxic waste out of the mud and Slithis (?) encrusted canals around Venice, California goes on a killing spree. Meanwhile, the police believe they are looking for members of a sacrificial death cult(?) A motley group of individuals decide to band together to stop the creature before it kills again.


This anemic, citified, low rent version of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) is bereft of good acting and special effects, but occasionally uses those deficiencies in its favor. Actually, comparing this to Jack Arnold's classic tale of a monster from a lagoon is a serious crime. LISTLESS (1978) falls more into the OCTAMAN (1971) school of schlock movies. There are a lot of oddball elements here mostly down to the selection of quirky characters and ridiculous dialog. Oddly enough, the film has a (very) modest cult following most likely due to people seeing it on late night TV. In fact...

LOOK!!! Check out the shiny disco ball in this guys room! Not much has happened at this point in the movie unless you're a fan of Slithis-ly atrocious acting

LOOK!!! Click the pic and you'll see William Shatner put in a cameo from the STAR TREK original series episode, 'The Enterprise Incident' where Spock kills a maniac Captain Kirk only to bring him back as a Romulan! It's okay, though, as it's all a big ploy to get a hold of a Romulan secret weapon. Did I mention SLITHIS has so little going for it? I gotta talk about SOMETHING.

Come on, guys! Let's go kill ourselves a Slithis!!!

I first saw SHIFTLESS (1978) late at night/early morning on the CBS Late Night Movie where they used to show movies better than SLITHIS like ORCA (1977), THE GREAT ALLIGATOR (1979) and CURSE OF THE BLACK WIDOW (1977). I didn't like SLITHIS much then, but having only seen it once, I decided to invest in Code Red's recent DVD release of the movie to see if I'd like it any better now. One thing I can say is that if I didn't like a movie AS A KID, it's highly unlikely the experience will improve as an adult. This fully applies to WITLESS (1978). However, slight enjoyment is derived from the sheer level of mediocrity present. This is above average bad here. The acting is the pits, the dialog retarded and the film occasionally lapses into Slithi-tiously slow motion for no apparent reason.

If the movie wasn't already slith-tastic enough, we get a gratuitous turtle race for no apparent reason.

The Eyes have it! I don't know what the hell he's talking about, either

The opening of the movie features two kids throwing a frisbee. One of them discovers a couple mutilated dogs. For whatever reason, we get to see the fat kid run over to check out the dead dogs in slow motion. Some of the monster attacks take place in slow motion, too. I'm not talking PAINFULLY slow slow motion as in THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, just normal but needless slow motion just the same. The musical score, if you can call it that, is frequently bonkers, too. Speaking of bonkers, Hy Pyke hands down wins the "What the hell was that all about?" award for his loony role as a police Lieutenant with bulging eyeballs, unkempt hair (what little he has) and a cartoonishly, Slith-erly over the top demeanor.



The monster costume is pretty decent for what looks like a $1.95 production. The actor playing the Slithis gets overly excited during the last ten minutes or so while attacking a car and also during the end when the monster wreaks havoc aboard a boat. During the other infrequent monster attacks, Slithis moves slow as molasses. Don't let the PG rating fool you, though, as trash viewers will get a glimpse of some boobage during one creature assault and this bit, too, is presented in slow motion. There's blood and gore flying around and what looks like some guts hanging out of one victim during the handicapped, no disqualification, falls count anywhere battle royal at the end. You also get a bunch of shots in 'Slithi-Vision'!!! in what looks like a 2 liter bottle cut in half and placed over the camera lens.


According to the static delivery of the scientist in the movie, Slithis takes on the form of whatever organism it ingests, something that would be a plot point taken far more Slithi-seriously in John Carpenter's THE THING several years later. Traxler's poverty row creature feature also resonates the ecological themes of many monster movies from the fabulous 50's and that's about the only crowd I would recommend this to aside from those feeling nostalgic for checking out Venice, California of the late 70's.

"Sure we're scared...damn scared...why not? Most of us aint got no place to hide, anyway and the cops aint gonna bust their butts tryin' to protect us."

"I sleep sometimes in the john down by the beach...them stalls aint got no locks on 'em you know?"


Unless you're a connoisseur of awful movies, SLITHIS offers next to nothing for anyone else aside from those wishing to see every other man in rubber suit, sewer dwelling, aquatic cheapies such as SCARED TO DEATH (1981) and DEMON OF PARADISE (1987). If you do happen to purchase this movie and don't like it, be careful how you dispose of it. It might take the form of a slithis, rise from your trash and tear you apart in slow motion.

This review is representative of the Code Red DVD


7 comments:

The Film Connoisseur said...

I do remember that slow motion in Thriller, it was so painfully slow! But Im pretty sure on Slithis they used slow mo so they could hide how ridiculous the monster looks as it walks at normal speed.

This looks like a bore! I like Cheese, but if its boring cheese I try to skip it!

venoms5 said...

It's the kind of movie, Fran, that seeps in much better when you've other cheese lovers around you wallowing in the awfulness of the movie. I'm not upset I bought it, but it's not for everybody. It's definitely got more than a few good laughs in it, though. That big fight at the end is one of them when one of the guys swings on that beam and drop kicks the monster. I got a pic of it, I should have used one of them!

The Film Connoisseur said...

You know what man, I love watching movies like that with my friends, we just start doing our own MSTK episode and its hilarious, I recenlty did this with Hawk The Slayer...my god what a bad movie! But great to make fun of! I will be reviewing that one soon as well.

venoms5 said...

I passed over that one in the video store dozens of times but never rented it. I should check it out sometime since Palance is in it. It was originally supposed to have been a Roger Corman New World production.

iZombie said...

Greetings HBA Member,
With the recent attention to the Horror Blogger Alliance and updates, I thought would be good to build a database for [over 350] the group.

For More Info: http://horrorbloggeralliance.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-am-getting-our-affairs-in-order.html

Please Update Soon... and if you have updated your information, please disregard.

Thanks,
Jeremy [iZombie]
HBA Staff
jeremy@jmhdigital.com

Carl (ILHM) said...

First thing I thought when I saw those pics was "This must be the bastard child of Scared to Death and the Noids" left to rot! I'm a sucker for any cheapie rubber costumes, so if Netflix decides to grace us with some Slithis, I'd give it a whirl. In the mean time, it's all yours, V!

venoms5 said...

Actually, SLITHIS was made and released before those two. Netflix doesn't have this? Wow. I know Code Red was disappointed this DVD only selling under 500 units initially. It's a terrible movie, but can be terribly fun in the right frame of mind. That one guy who talks about sleeping "in the john down by the beach" is a riot. He has absolutely no enthusiasm and seems to reading off a cue card.

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