Seated in the bar and hunkered behind a bunker of beer bottles, Grant is approached by a fellow lonely-heart named Brenda. Soon thereafter the lovelorn twosome are traipsing and tripping through the woods when Grant stumbles upon a strange, goo-strewn pod. After engaging in some tried and true backwoods science by prodding the pod with a carefully chosen stick, something erupts and shoots from the pod, and appears to enter Grant's body. Confused, but believing he is okay, Grant hurries home to his beloved Starla.
Despite his beliefs, over the next couple of days Grant's appetites continue to grow and expand, and his insatiable voracity begins to emerge in the form of bodily mutations. With small town life suddenly spinning out of control, an unimaginable horror continues to evolve, adding a new link to the food chain, and ensuring that before long hunters will become the hunted, now that humans are on the menu.
Horror-comedies are indeed a tricky lot. The tightrope walk between what is frightful and what is funny often proves too precarious a permutation, sending movies that aim to have audiences scream in terror one minute and shriek with laughter the next, rapidly plummeting in a fiery heap to their blazing box-office deaths. Even so, there are those occasions when the balance between horror and hilarity is just right. This result can be a unique film hybrid that succeeds in evoking two of our most basic human responses, and combining two popular movie genres, that on the surface, seem completely dissimilar.
Certainly, there are plenty of horror movies that briefly utilize humor for comic relief, or at the opposite end, films like Young Frankenstein or the Scary Movie franchise which are strictly comedies spoofing popular horror films. Still, neither of these "types" are horror-comedies in the truest sense. With this in mind however, for the perfect example of a film that truly does fit the bill, one need look no further than James Gunn's monstrously funny fright-film, Slither.
When watching Slither, Gunn's directorial debut, one can sense the pure joy and adoration the director/screenwriter has for horror movies as throughout the film Gunn proudly displays his numerous inspirations like a badge of honor. Whether its David Cronenberg's '70s shockers, Shivers and Rabid, low-budget sci-fi horror like The Deadly Spawn, or Frank Henenlotter's humorous '80s horror hybrids, Slither is a blood-drenched, slime-covered love letter that gives horror film enthusiasts something to celebrate. At the same time, one need not be a "horror buff" to enjoy Slither however, as it is just a fun, highly likeable movie in general, and as such, should prove an entertaining, and possibly disgusting, viewing experience even to audience members unfamiliar with the film's predecessors, or who may miss the various winks and nods.
Although Slither's basic story cannot be lauded for being innovative, necessarily, it is really quite clear that this was not one of Gunn's concerns, nor apparently, an aspiration. Rather, he has managed, quite handily, to rejuvenate some rather worn-out horror movie concepts and conventions with an abundance of wit, humor - and yes - originality. For this reason Slither never feels stale, or like the slimy "creatures featured" in the film, sluggish. This is of course a breath of fresh air in a genre that, truth be told, has begun to feel as imaginatively stagnant as someone who uses phrases like, "a breath of fresh air."
In his director's chair debut, James Gunn does an exceptional job bringing his ideas to life onscreen. Visually, the film is not overly extravagant but nor is it boring, and the somewhat restrained, deceptively simple approach benefits the film overall. The special effects are a successfully effective melding of the traditional variety with state of the art CG, and what may have perhaps looked like cheesy, hackneyed hokum in another film, actually works quite wonderfully here.
The cast does a very fine job in Slither, and the major characters that populate the film, while not profound or multilayered (which they need not be), are really nicely written. Despite numerous recent examples, and plenty of opinions to the contrary, Slither also proves that characters in horror films, even if they are simple, can be likeable. Unlike their multi-tentacled, slime-coated, blood-quaffing counterparts, the main human characters that the audience is supposed to relate to, or at the very least get behind in Slither, are engaging, oft-times funny, in some cases moderately intelligent, and for all of these reasons, decidedly human and easy to root for. Thankfully Slither also employs the classic monster movie tradition (think of the well-known Frankenstein monster for an example) wherein those aspects of the creature that are identifiably human still manage to emerge from beneath all of the deformities and ugliness, thus making the "monster" a somewhat sympathetic and ultimately tragic figure.
Apart from perhaps a couple of very brief lulls in Slither, the film is without any major problems. In all it is simply a very lively, highly-entertaining, tightly-scripted, out-and-out funny horror movie that should have some audience members squirming in their seats. Fans of recent horror-comedies like Dead & Breakfast, or Bubba Ho-tep should also have a lot of fun with Slither - a movie that is truly the best laugh-filled fright film since Shaun of the Dead and a gruesome gut-buster bound to become a horror-comedy classic. Now don't let my slutty quote whoring hinder you - just get to the theater and have yourself a bloody good time!
Originally published at Horrorview.com
Following this, Ocho arrives in Kobe via a steamship and is greeted by a quiet, young woman who leads her to an awaiting rickshaw. The rickshaw drops her off at a dimly-lit building, but before Ocho can even say howdy-do, she is chloroformed by a group of men who then string up her limp body before relieving Ocho of her troublesome kimono. After she is revived with a series of slaps across the face, a chubby, effeminate man - who constantly licks his lips in a lasciviously, grotesque manner - violates Ocho with his fingers. It turns out that in addition to being a creep, the man is actually searching for something, and is surprised when he finds nothing hidden inside Ocho. Realizing they have the wrong woman, the men (who also understand that oft-times apologies are more difficult to make than escapes), knock the still kimono-less Ocho unconscious...again.
A blurry-eyed, groggy-headed Ocho wakes up, but of course, the nightmare continues -Ocho finds a bloody knife clutched in her hand, a dead woman laying next to her, and herself framed as a suspect in a recent string of gruesome deaths dubbed "The Crotch-Gouge Murders." Ocho vows to exact revenge on the men who have defiled her and set her up as a murderess...by murdering them. While in pursuit of the men however, Ocho uncovers a drug smuggling operation, stumbles into the middle of a Yakuza power struggle, and forms an alliance with an ass-kicking nun and her posse of enslaved prostitutes, all of which dovetails into an out-of-this-world finale full of blood, bullets, boobs and gelled lighting.
Female Yakuza Tale is a really entertaining, action-packed, violent piece of sexploitation cinema. Director Teruo Ishii (Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf) created a film bursting with energy, humor, originality and visual flair. For example, where else are you going to see a mustache get shot off one man's face only to land on some other guy's upper lip? Or for that matter, thirty nude women eviscerating a roomful of mobsters - in heels? In addition, the overall production values are really good, featuring some extremely fantastic cinematography, great locations and costumes, and a large talented cast. Female Yakuza Tale's funky 70's score is also a lot of fun and overall really complements the film, while at times elevating the weirdness.
The script juggles a handful of storylines and characters, but is really quite cohesive and balanced throughout. My only complaint in this area is that the Sister Yashima character is given a great introduction, but is then absent for long stretches and is ultimately never as promising an addition as she initially seemed. However, the focus is on Ocho (the lack of which was one of the problems I had with Sex and Fury) and Reiko Ike is a charismatic screen presence who gives a great, and probably physically taxing, performance.
Panik House presents the film "uncut, uncensored and totally restored from the vault elements " and it looks absolutely flawless. Special features include - audio commentary by Chris D. (author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Cinema), director and star bios, the original theatrical trailer, a poster and stills gallery, production notes, a special insert sticker, and optional English subtitles. This is a really great DVD release of an equally excellent and exceptional film that you would be wise to watch.
Here's a link to a trailer which a fan made that combines moments from this film, Sex and Fury and The Pinky Violence Collection.
(Contains some nudity)
Originally published at Horrorview.com