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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

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Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 3

In honor of Pride Month, we are so happy to offer this story about a young transgender man by author Evelyn Deshane. This story was originally submitted for the Body Horror anthology, and we didn’t think it fit that theme, but we knew that it was an important story, and one we wanted to be able to tell the world. We have broken it into three parts, and one part will be offered each week of the month. Enjoy!

Editor

P.S. due to multiple deaths in the family we were forced to postpone the fantastic conclusion of this fantastic story, Enjoy.
Continue reading Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 3
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Madness Heart Radio: Jeremy Megargee, a Short Story Master

Find our anthologies with Jeremy’s stories below!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Dagon’ (2001)

‘Evil Dead 2s’ fucked up flipper-baby cousin.

The movie was awful and campy and tropey as fuck! AND IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

Continue reading Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Dagon’ (2001)
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Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 2

In honor of Pride Month, we are so happy to offer this story about a young transgender man by author Evelyn Deshane. This story was originally submitted for the Body Horror anthology, and we didn’t think it fit that theme, but we knew that it was an important story, and one we wanted to be able to tell the world. We have broken it into three parts, and one part will be offered each week of the month. Enjoy!

Editor
Continue reading Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 2
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Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 1

In honor of Pride Month, we are so happy to offer this story about a young transgender man by author Evelyn Deshane. This story was originally submitted for the Body Horror anthology, and we didn’t think it fit that theme, but we knew that it was an important story, and one we wanted to be able to tell the world. We have broken it into three parts, and one part will be offered each week of the month. Enjoy!

Editor
Continue reading Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 1
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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Residue’ (2017)

Time is an illusion, your life is meaningless and nothing is real.

Kicking off out last Lovecraftian horror before the release of my new novella “In the Shadow of the Mountain,” already available for pre-order, we’ll look at an absolute fantastic b-rated Lovecraftian style movie, that is creepy, cerebral, and silly. Order it here!

Continue reading Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Residue’ (2017)
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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘The Void’ (2016)

A Void of Strong Women Characters

Let me just start out by saying, there was a LOT about this movie that was testing my fucking patience. It really prayed on “Weaker Sex Syndrome” far too often, and for a hot second, I could swear they were doing “Gladiator Moments.” There was scene after scene of what seemed like completely unrelated artsy bullshit. Thank god I was wrong about that because I really wanted to like this movie just from the premise.

In the end, the random moments of esoteric bullshit did get tied in nicely and the movie almost (note that’s ALMOST) redeemed the “Weaker Sex Syndrome.” I guess I have to give them credit for trying, as it’s more than most in the industry do these days.

But here’s the thing. There are very few Lovecraftian movies that did the feel of the genre justice without getting into the artsy silent films. There was YellowBrickRoadIn the Mouth of MadnessColor from the Dark, and, of course Lord of Illusions (LOI), which this movie very much reminded me of. The one thing that LOI had that this didn’t was the mystery aspect of Lovecraft. The search for truth leading to the discovery of madness. That’s sort of essential to the Lovecraft genre and The Void picks up after that pretty much already over and done with.

Still this movie had amazing atmosphere, a storyline that was coherent, which is hard for this genre, character development that was somewhat decent, and acting that was pretty good, even for horror… so why did I almost stop watching?

SPOILERS!!!

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THE IRRATIONAL WOMEN IN THIS FUCKING MOVIE!!! They cast all the female roles in this movie pretty much just to drive the plot by being completely fucking useless or even worse, idiotic. If it wasn’t the nurse’s assistant breaking down into hysterics every five fucking minutes, it was the headstrong independent woman who you KNOW is gonna Lois Lane herself into being the damsel in fucking distress. Then there’s the country bumpkin pregnant girl who is only in this movie to give birth to a tentacle beast. Fucking seriously? Where are my Ripleys? Where are my Black Widows? Where are the women at? You know? The real women with active grey matter who drive the plot by being a part of the story, not by being fucking “McGuffins With Legs.”

And the fucking main character. Jesus fucking Christ, it’s like he spends the first fucking 20 minutes either unconscious or getting the shit kicked out of him. Isn’t he supposed to be a fucking cop? I mean, I get that they wanted him to be portrayed as a dweeb, but FUCK. Every five minutes for the first 20 minutes, he either gets knocked the fuck out or faints. Look, he had to have some kind of training, right? Self-defense? Boxing? How the fuck did this guy even become a cop?!

So why did I like this movie? Fuck man, I’m not even sure. The beginning is rough and poorly conceived, but the rest is so captivating.

It’s not just the fact it’s a creature feature with tentacle beasts. I do love a good creature feature, but there was more in this. Now, as you can tell by me complaining about the three “McGuffins With Legs,” a lot of the story is forced. But it always leaves just enough for intrigue. You can’t just ignore the fact that the movie starts off with a cult surrounding a hospital, trapping everyone inside and just slowly erodes from there. You find out quickly that this all has something to do with the bumpkin’s baby. It starts out as s simple struggle for survival, but then the mystery starts to kick in.

Once you get through the bullshit, and the bullshit is livable, it’s actually amazing.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Black Mountain Side’ (2014)

Kicking off the release of “In the Shadow of the Mountains” by Reed Alexander, one of the many movies that inspired it.  Interestingly enough this movie was inspired by another fantastic work of horror fictions call “At the Mountains of Madness” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Can a movie be too intellectual to be scary?

This was a damn good movie.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  I’m not sure what kind of crowd this would appeal to but it hit all my buttons.  It was just such an intelligent movie.  The characters, step by step, logically addressed the illogical.  It’s based on Lovecraft’s “The Mountains of Madness.” It doesn’t follow the actual story of H. P. Lovecraft, but rather supposes what happened before “The Mountains of Madness” kicks off.

But can I recommend this to Lovecraft fans?  It has some of the feel of Lovecraft, but really is a lot more like John Carpenter’s The Thing in stylization.  One could argue that John Carpenter had a Lovecraftian style, but Lovecraft was more subtle, J. C. was pretty in your face.  But it doesn’t have the same brutality as J. C., so can I recommend it to fans of The Thing?

I could almost recommend this movie to fans of anthropology.  Of course the anthropological discoveries are all fake, but they go over them in such amazing detail.  The archaeology builds the mythos so deeply you can almost believe it.  It does get a little strenuous sometimes but it really pulls you into the setting.  It gives it such amazing life.

The acting is fantastic and brilliantly thought out.  When the writer and the actors connect like this, it make for the best movies.  Every reaction is in step with what makes the most sense.  The story just flows out of the actors naturally.  A little too naturally at times.  Dialog turns into needless banter occasionally, but for the most part is really solid.  And the atmosphere.  Man, isolationism is really the strongest setting for any horror.  I mean, it’s easy, but also easy to fuck up.  The wrong lighting, the wrong filters, and a set that’s supposed to feel a million miles from civilization instead feels next door to a major metropolitan area.  But this movie was so dark.  I’ve been talking about this in some of my recent reviews.  It’s dark to the point you have to turn the lights out just to see the screen.  The darkness feels alive.

So, who do I recommend this movie too?  I think it’s a must see for Horror Heads.  It’s certainly required viewing for fans of Lovecraft and J.C.  But I think the people who would be the best target audience are those ancient aliens nuts.

SPOILERS!!!

This movie promised me parasitic cephalopods!  I WANT MY FUCKING CEPHALOPODS!  What do I get instead?  A couple undulating tumors.  Now, don’t get me wrong, creepy rolling tumors are cool, but only because something is supposed to pop out of them.  The characters talk about this mutagenic infection that’s causing tumors which turn into cephalopods, but you never get to see one.  How fucking cool would that have been?  A corpse bursting into dozens of squirming octopus like critters.  That’s the kind of shit horror fans live for.  Maybe they didn’t have the budget?  It was just a disappointment.

They did have fun with the crew’s slow descent into madness.  That’s what this movie was really all about.  Though I’m not sure if slow is the right word.  It’s not fast but the curve is pretty steep.  First a dead cat, then the work crew disappear, then a guy vomits black ichor.  The next thing you know, they’re hacking off a guys arm because something is moving around under the skin, and another character is talking to some strange looking anthropomorphic dear creature from the darkness.  It starts off as a slowly building simmer that last for such a long time, but then suddenly and violently, shit hits the fan.

I don’t understand the motivations of the dear creature.  You get the feeling that it’s trying to propagate the spread of it’s cephalopod tumors, but then it’s constantly having the crew do thing counteractive to the success of the spread.  It infects a guy then has another guy kill him.  Then it doesn’t try to infect anyone else, it just starts convincing them to kill each other.  So, it doesn’t want worshipers, it doesn’t want to successfully spread the parasites.  What the fuck does it want?  It tells the crew that it’s not bound to the dig site, but it doesn’t seem interested in leaving to spread it’s infection.  So what the fuck is it doing?  Pretty much just admiring the stars and brutally murdering any dumb bastard that wanders by.

The ending is actually kinda disappointing, but it did do one thing right.  Say it with me now, in your best Morbo impersonation! “THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!!” I mean, if this is supposed to be the incident before “The Mountains of Madness,” then no one can survive.  Two guys effectively die from the infection, most of the rest wind up killing each other, but the last guy is what bothered me.  The last guy dies by getting stuck in a bear trap.  Really?  Is that all?  We’re just going to have it end with some guy dying of bad luck?  That’s just fucking lame.

But yes, I do recommend this movie.  It’s not just good, it’s fascinating.

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

New reviews posted Thursday, here on Madness Heart!