Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Slither Rips Off Night of the Creeps
When I first read about, and saw print ads for, the horror film Slither, I just presumed it was a remake of the 1986 film Night of the Creeps. Afterall, the plot of the two films were identical. But when the film opened, much to my surprise, no official credit was given to the earlier film. So, I began to wonder if I was the only one who remembered that the events of the earlier film were the same as the new film. I did an online search, and lo and behold, the Internet was buzzing with horror fans who were asking the same question. I further discovered that the writer/director of Slither, James Gunn (who also wrote the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead), participated in a Fangoria magazine sponsored Slither live event which took place in Chicago in early March. When asked if Slither's seemingly undeniable similarities to Night of the Creeps was intentional, Gunn reportedly "swore up and down to having not seen the film while working on the script or directing his movie," though he admits that the features do mirror each other. Mirror each other huh? Hmmm. Do I detected the scent of a lawsuit? Let's examine the facts. In 1986's Night of the Creeps -- written and directed by Fred Dekker -- alien parasites, in the form of giant slugs, enter humans through the mouth, and transform their hosts (mostly teenagers) into killer zombies. In 2006's Slither, a small town is taken over by an alien plague, when slug-like alien parasites, which enter humans through the mouth, turn the residents into zombies and mutant monsters. The tagline for the 1986 film was, "If You Scream...You're Dead." The tagline for the 2006 film -- "What Ever You Do... Don't Scream." Hmmm. Both films actually owe a debt of gratitude to David Cronenberg's 1975 Shivers, in which similar slug-like parasites infect their human hosts in much the same way. (Hell, it almost feels like a David Letterman Oscar night routine: "Slither. Shivers. Shivers. Slither.") Also, compare the "girl in the tub" poster art for the Cronenberg film (when it was known as They Came From Within) with the poster art for Slither. At the Fangoria event, Gunn, at least, apparently, admitted he did "rip off" the Cronenberg film "a little bit." It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, develops.