Release Date(s)2006 (June 2, 2021)
Studio(s)Universal Pictures (Umbrella Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: C+
[Editor’s Note: This is a Region-Free release, NOT Region B as stated on the packaging.]
Long before James Gunn assembled the Guardians of the Galaxy, he cut his teeth on making films set in the Troma universe. Later in his career, two films became his bridge from ultra low budget raconteur to major Hollywood director: Super, which poked fun at the superhero genre while simultaneously retaining a dramatic character arc, and today's course, Slither. Although financed and released by Universal Pictures in 2006, the film sadly failed at the box office. However, once it hit home video, it quickly became a cult fan favorite and paved the way for Gunn to broaden his horizons with large scale summer entertainment.
In the South Carolina town of Wheelsy, a local sheriff finds himself in the middle of an epidemic after a mysterious chunk of meteor lands in the woods and begins infecting the townspeople with its gooey alien contents. Obviously paying nods to films of the 1950s while also acknowledging classics such as John Carpenter's The Thing, Slither gets major points for its creature effects, most of which are practical with CGI additions. From slimy, slug-like creatures to a globular behemoth of a hungry female host, the style and feel of the film is romp-ish in nature. At the same time, it features characters that we actually like. James Gunn also manages to cast his films well, and Slither is no exception, with Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, and Gregg Henry heading up the proceedings. Well-written and endlessly quotable, Slither is a monster movie with a wicked sense of humor, as well as a heartbeat.
Slither comes to Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment as Volume 7 of their Worlds on Film: Beyond Genres label. Their previous Blu-ray of Slither was presented in 1080i, which they’ve upgraded to 1080p for this release. It’s the same master used for the Koch Media and Scream Factory releases, which is to say, a very strong and healthy master. In this instance, grain has had some minor filtering, and the color palette is a couple of degrees warmer, most notably on the oversized monster make-up towards the end of the film. Fine detail is potent, and the same aggressive color grading and crushed blacks are still present. Contrast is increased to an extremely minor degree and the overall condition of the material is stable and clean, with nary a speck of dirt to be found. To be clear, the differences here are so small that most won’t notice and heavy scrutinization is required to even see them.
For the audio, a single English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is provided, nixing the 5.1 TrueHD and stereo tracks from the previous Umbrella Blu-ray release. English subtitles are also provided. The surround track has plenty of edge as its spaced out for a satisfying surround experience. This includes great dialogue reproduction, strong sound effects, and ample support for the music and the score. Separation and frequent speaker to speaker moments are plentiful, and there’s also an abundant amount of ambient and low frequency activity.
The following extras are also included, all of which have been upscaled to HD:
- Audio Commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion
- The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither (10:02)
- Who is Bill Pardy? (5:19)
- Slither Visual Effects Progressions (5:01)
- Bringing Slither’s Creatures to Life: FX Featurette (18:36)
- Slithery Set Tour with Nathan Fillion (4:39)
- The Gorehound Grill: Brewin’ the Blood (3:15)
- The King of Cult: Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary (8:59)
- Deleted Scenes (8 in all – 10:36)
- Extended Scenes (4 in all – 7:32)
- Gag Reel (8:08)
The majority of this material has already been available in previous editions on DVD and Blu-ray, though there are a few things missing. Carried over from Universal's original DVD release is the audio commentary with James Gunn and Nathan Fillion; several featurettes (The Sick Minds and Slimy Days of Slither, Who is Bill Pardy?, Slither Visual Effects Progressions, Bringing Slither’s Creatures to Life, Slithery Set Tour with Nathan Fillion, The Gorehound Grill: Brewin’ the Blood, and The King of Cult: Lloyd Kaufman’s Video Diary); a set of deleted and extended scenes; and a gag reel. Missing from that release is the optional audio commentary by James Gunn on the deleted and extended scenes. Not included from the Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is a newer audio commentary with James Gunn, Nathan Fillion, and Michael Rooker; The Genesis of Slither with James Gunn and The Other MacReady with Gregg Henry; and the theatrical trailer. It’s not a complete package, but you do get a wealth of great behind-the-scenes material, as well as the commentary. The disc comes housed in a clear amaray case, which sits inside a slipcover featuring new artwork by Simon Sherry.
Umbrella Entertainment’s upgrade of Slither on Blu-ray is a satisfactory experience, though not a complete one. The film looks and sounds good, and its subject matter makes it an ideal fit for their Worlds on Films: Beyond Genres line of eclectic and off-beat material.
- Tim Salmons