Halloween Countdown: Slither

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(In anticipation of the coolest day of the year, this month-long series will offer one recommended horror flick a day up through Oct. 31.)

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SLITHER (2006). While this horror yarn offers gore by the bucketful, it’s also in the spirit of those enjoyable, us-against-them monster yarns that ran rampant from the 1950s straight through to the mid-1980s. Starting out as an "invader from outer space" opus (think The Blob) before switching gears to become a quasi-zombie flick (think Night of the Living Dead), the film involves a gelatinous E.T. that turns hicksville businessman Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) into its agent of evil on earth. The master plan eventually involves a mass assault by hundreds of slugs that take over humans' bodies by entering through the mouths; naturally, the entire planet is doomed unless double-Grant's wife (Elizabeth Banks) and an amiable sheriff (Nathan Fillion) can figure out a way to shut the otherworldly operation down. Slither takes its time getting started, but once it does, it never lets up, throwing blood, slime and one-liners (some woeful, most of them witty) at viewers with feverish abandon. Banks is touching as the wife who doesn't comprehend why her husband has morphed into a human squid. The worst part of the picture is the unnecessary coda tacked on after the closing credits have run their course, so be sure to turn off your player before then.

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