21 October 2007


Spoilers alert!

Slither happened to be on cable TV last night and I happened to watch it and didn't feel guilty to enjoy it! Though there're not many elements that were worth remembering, the film enjoyed parodying itself and pushing its exploitations to the limits.

What I mean is that it sort of knows what it's doing and knows what the audience is expecting. It doesn't aim to be a classic like Schindler's List. On the contrary, it knows fully well that it's just a horror flick and the audience doesn't expect moral teaching but just having a good time with lots of disgusting slimy things. Well, it sort of borders on what people call 'bad taste'.

The film is set somewhere rural in the US, where people still sport a provincial outlook. The main protagonist is an ugly guy called Grant who happens to have a beautiful wife, Starla. The whole town gossips how such a beautiful lady has chosen an ugly husband to be her partner, but of course that's the main point of the film -- prejudice. But Grant is not a good but ugly guy, but a wicked one, so we the audience don't have any remorse to see him gradually transform into an evil lump that somehow looks like a giant octopus. The reason is he's got an alien grow inside him and it controls his thinking and makes him even more wicked and greedy. Of course it's contagious and he distributes his evil seeds to one of his mistresses (who turns into a really really big hungry lump).

I did some research into this film by visiting some websites, including IMDB. Their funny keywords for this film are 'tentacle rape', 'disfigurement', 'nose bleeding', and 'exploding body'. But of course under these layers of grotesqueries hide a subtle politics of horror concerning our human body. My opinion is that it's basically greed and lust that Grant is spreading the whole town. It wouldn't be too much, I hope, to link these negative traits to capitalism and its consequences that are being unleashed. The result is simple: these traits turn people into zombies with no mind of their own, but that which is manipulated by big transnational companies who play with our desire. We can no longer control our body, as it is controlled by multi-million businesses through adverts and propaganda.

Grant can't control his desire, being both a womaniser and a rich man. Sadly, he's also ugly. Had he been handsome, we surely would've had different reactions. This also tells us something about our contemporary society. Lust and greed make people dwell on surface, we revel only on the level of the superficial and the external. The film stresses this point by making Grant ugly so that we can't sympathise with him for too much and so that the moral message is brought to light easily.

I don't have problems with the moral message of this film, but how the moral message itself is dependent on such a superficial representation just makes me wonder whether it's contradictory.

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