Fingers crossed other alumni of the cult classic horror-comedy also team up with Banks and Gunn for this one.
Long before he got sucked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the filmmaker chosen to guide Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen, James Gunn made his feature directorial debut with the gory horror-comedy Slither. Starring Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks, the film about a small town plagued by an alien virus feels like a slightly (but only slightly) classed-up version of the zany low-budget horror projects produced by Troma Entertainment — which makes sense, given that Troma is where Gunn started his career (legendary Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman even makes a cameo in Slither).
Something as remarkably bizarre and absurdly fun as Slither was never going to be a box office hit, but the film has deservedly grown in popularity since its 2006 release to become a cult classic among film fans who like their horror films drenched equally in both blood and humor. The idea of Gunn returning to his Troma-tastic roots is enough to make any fan of his jump for joy. So, the news that Gunn is producing a new horror movie for The H Collective with Banks is definitely worth talking about — even if, so far, we don’t know much else about the film.
The script is written by Gunn’s brother Brian and cousin Mark, so the film is set to be a family affair. The connections don’t end there, either: the director is David Yarovesky, who directed yet another Gunn, Sean, in his feature film debut, The Hive. So even if we know nothing else, it’s safe to say this film is looking like a pretty solid meeting of like minds. And that includes Banks, who has become known as a talented filmmaker herself since producing Pitch Perfect and making her directorial debut with its sequel. Yes, I know that film doesn’t quite fit in with the oeuvres of the other folks involved in this project, but thanks to those gigantic successes on her resume, she is now a power player in Hollywood. Her willingness to team up with Gunn and basically his entire extended family says a lot about the project.
What else can we expect from this Slither reunion? Perhaps an appearance from Michael Rooker, who has appeared in all of the films Gunn has directed and several others he has been involved in? Rooker’s unique brand of comic menace has been elevating stuff all over the place lately, and since we’re likely not seeing him in any more Guardians of the Galaxy movies for rather obvious reasons, it would be great to see him team up with Gunn and company here.
I am also in favor of seeing Fillion show up in this, but I have felt that way about him since Firefly, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Like Rooker, he has sharp comic timing and experience acting in all kinds of weird genre-bending material; his dry delivery makes even the most outlandish stuff sound believable. And hey, if it worked well before, why not try it again?
Maybe we’ll even see some members of the MCU sign on for this project. I’d love to see Chris Pratt break away from his new life as a blockbuster leading man and let loose in a horror-comedy, and I’m sure he’d have great chemistry with Banks.
I love horror — but only when it is of the highly unusual, slightly supernatural, and ideally also very funny variety. Films like Slither stand out from the sea of low-budget slasher flicks cranked out by independent studios; more often than not, those films value cheap scares and brutal shocks over any kind of originality. Here’s to hoping that Gunn and Banks’s collaboration delivers something to remember.