Posted on Leave a comment

Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Slither’ (2006)

A return to the killer ‘B’

You know what was ballsy about this movie? Someone saw Night of the Creeps and said, “I can make that funnier and scarier.” And maybe it takes someone like James Gunn to pull that off. If you’ve ever seen Night of the Creeps, you know it’s one of the all time greatest intentionally bad movie. In fact, it was one of the first. The late 80’s into the 90’s was all about revolutionizing horror as an industry. Movies like Critters and Leprechaun were proving that horror didn’t have to be good, to be entertainment. Directors like Mark Jones and Fred Dekker realized that half of the movies they enjoyed as kids, were actually garbage, and that’s half the reason for loving them. B-Horror helped define the industry.

So, while directors like Carpenter were taking the old classics and giving them a serious upgrade, directors like Jones and Dekker were defining the ‘New B.’ What made Slither so damn right, was that it carried the traditions of the ‘New B’ into the millennium. And THANK FUCKING GOD!!! 1999-2009 had to have been the worst fucking decade in horror! Gems like Dawn of the Dead and Slither were few and far between. They were keeping the industry alive, and, interestingly enough, they were remakes. And, like Dawn of the Dead, Slither was actually better than the original.

Don’t get me wrong, Night of the Creeps was fantastic. It was funny, cheesy, made fun of it’s own damn self, and still managed to be pretty good for horror. But Slither just had better acting, better FX, a more interesting plot, an even cooler creature, and was every bit as funny. The only thing Slither didn’t have, was the capacity to poke fun at itself and the genre as a whole. That was slightly disappointing. They had all the proper tropes that make for good riffing, it would have been kinda fun if it riffed itself from time to time.

I mean, the movie opens with a meteor crashing into the planet. And what did we learn about that? It’s the perfect signifier for the audience to suspend all disbelief. Basically, any movie after The Blob (1988), if your monster rides in on a meteor, everyone knows not to take the plot seriously.

Here’s the thing though. You don’t have to be a Riffer to enjoy this movie! Horror Heads and even general adult audiences will likely enjoy this movie.

SPOILERS!!!

So, what really sets this movie apart from Night of the Creeps, is the gestation of the parasite. Night of the Creeps went for simplicity and literally delivered the parasite as an alien biological weapon. But the little fucker in Slither is a planet killing hive mind. It’s almost cosmic horror. So the old parasites from the original just eat brains and reproduce like a normal parasite. This one is fucking interstellar. It has to get off planet and out into space. That means the main parasite -the hive mind- has to operate in several stages. There’s the hive mind itself, which takes a host and alters its biological chemistry, mutating the host to start producing it’s secondary function. The secondary function is to add minds to its collective. It does this by impregnating a secondary host with worm like parasites which are an extension of its consciousness. These are exactly like the worms from the original Night of the Creeps. They enter through the mouth and take over the host’s brain. Unlike the original, they don’t eat the brain, they simply zombify the host, using it to collect new secondary hosts, and food for biomass. The primary host then begins to collect biomass by either eating, or reabsorbing secondary hosts, as sort of a third stage. This leads us to the fourth and final stage, collecting enough biomass to expel itself into space.

That, is some fucking fascinating National Geographic shit right there. James Gunn didn’t just shlock out some lame B movie excuse for brain eating zombie parasites. He created a whole damn system of parasitism. And that’s what truly sets this apart from Night of the Creeps. This might have been intentionally silly, it might have gone for all the feel of the ‘New B,’ but it was actually pretty serious horror. Gunn could have, in all honesty, made this a seriously dark horror movie. This could have easily matched John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). He chose not to. He wanted to make the ‘New B’ for the new millennia.

Listen, this movie deserves WAY more credit than it gets. It only barely pushed itself out of cult status back when it came out, and it’s better than that.

Give it a shot!

Thank you for you continuing support!  You can see more of my great horror reviews like this on horror.media.
https://horror.media/authors/reed-alexander

You can also pick of a copy of my new novella “Inhuman Error,” coauthored with James Lief.  Check out the sample below!  Pre-orders are on sale for only $2+tax!
https://horror.media/sample-inhuman-error-first-of-the-upd-series-by-james-lief-and-reed-alexander-2019

Posted on 2 Comments

Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Xtro 2: The Second Encounter’ (1990)

The worst offender in a long line of ‘Alien’ (1979) ripoffs…

This movie is so forgotten I practically had to do a deep web search to find a watchable copy. Seriously, just try to type it into the regular search and see if you can come up with a watchable copy. It won’t come up. In fact even major horror fan pages don’t mention this movie in their “complete list” of Alien themed movies. I have the distinct feeling this was a straight-to-video production. It took me forever just to find a bootleg copy that wasn’t dubbed in some language I don’t speak. When I finally did find one, the quality was so poor it was almost comical. Kinda like watching scrambled porn. The recording was clearly from an old VHS and the auto tracker kept popping on the screen in Spanish. If you know what either of those things are, you probably had some pretty kick ass horror movie memories like me.

What’s the point of spending hours trying to find this movie on the internet so I could watch it after all these years? You may remember from several of my older reviews from movies like Leviathan and DeepStar Six. I watched these when I was very young and I’ve had a hard-on for monster movies and horror ever since, so it’s nice to take a stroll down nostalgia lane and see if these, honestly terrible, movies still stand up to my childhood memories.

Xtro 2 was not one of those that stood the test of time. I mean, I liked re-watching Creature and a ton of other movies from my childhood, but this one was just plain awful. It was still great in the sense that it was riff-worthy material, and you could have a lot of fun with it just like that, but by no means was it good horror or even good-bad horror.

The acting was predictably awful, but it was even bad for horror, almost porno levels bad. The plot made no fucking sense. Hell, the gestation of the creature didn’t make any fucking sense. Most of the movie is pretty boring, with fleeting moments of excitement when the monster pops up, and that’s fucking criminal for a creature feature.

Beastie was neat though. Really loved the rubber monster design here.  Just wish they could have done a little more with it in the actual fucking movie.

Riffers only, do not watch.

SPOILERS!!!

I can’t fucking believe that I didn’t know Nicholas Lea was in this movie! I guess it’s no surprise. I was like… 8… 6 when I saw this the first time and probably didn’t even know who he was? It would be almost another 16 years before I would watch it again. I guess your career had to start somewhere though, Lea. Still, he was probably the best actor in the movie even though it was a supporting role. Is that really a spoiler?… hmmm, I guess not. 

How the fuck does this ‘interdimensional alien’ work? Scientists bring over an alien from another dimension that was using a woman’s body as a host. There was a gratuitous ripoff of the chest-burster scene from Alien, and then the rest of the movie is basically one long ripoff of Alien and Aliens after the next. But the alien came out of the woman’s body almost fully formed. I could see how it might have been able to hollow out a cavity and just pop out when it was big enough, but wouldn’t she just die?

So, you figure this thing needs to stick, Idontfuckenknow, larva or something into people like a wasp, but then in just lays like… Spores? Eggs? Something like that in the one guy and he pretty much explodes into a cloud of spore/egg thingies. Now, you could have just done that from the very start with the first lady, and maybe even had a more interesting concept that wasn’t a total blatant ripoff of the chest-burster scene. I guess in those days, getting the Aliens money was more important than maybe making a halfway decent movie.I could just say “Watch Alien,” as it’s a better movie with better actors. However, if you’re a hardcore riffer, this movie may be amusing.

If you like Reed Alexander’s Horror Review, consider donating by clicking the link below then hitting the ‘Tip’ button. You can also support Reed by Sharing his reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

https://horror.media/authors/reed-alexander

New reviews posted Thursday, here on Madness Heart!

He everyone, Reed recently published a book with MHP. It’s for sale in the shop!

Posted on Leave a comment

Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Creature’ (1985)

My favorite in a long line of ‘Alien’ ripoffs

I figured I should pull up some horror movies from my childhood to sort of explain where my weird sense of appreciation for the genre stems from…

MAN, you know you’re the Kmart version of another franchise when the picture on IMDb is a faded crinkled movie poster, creases intact.

Not even the Kmart version, this is like the AIMS or Bradly’s version. That shit they were schlepping right before they went out of business. I think I just dated myself…

Anyway, you may know that I’m a HUGE fan of circa 70-90s rubber monster creature features, and this movie delivered my favorite rubber monster as the Kmart version of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien. I always had a soft spot in my heart for this obvious Go-Bot (Transformers impostors of the 1980s… man, I really am dating myself) and used to rent this movie frequently when I was about 10 to 12.

The plot was a direct ripoff of Alien, the crew was practically a ripoff of Alien. The setting might as well been from the discount H.R. Giger bin. The movie might as well be called Ridley’s Rejects… but I love it all the same.

I don’t know why I love it. Maybe it’s my giddy childhood nostalgia for the rubber monsters of my past, or maybe it’s the complete wash of obvious borrowed material that always gives me some level of glee, but I love this movie.

Continue reading Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Creature’ (1985)