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Slithis & Django

By Scott Phillips

Slithis (aka Spawn of the Slithis) (1977)

Now this is the kind of crap you just don't see anymore. From the opening featuring a fat kid in a stained T-shirt playing frisbee in slow motion to the "horrifying" surprise ending, Slithis is a throwback of the best kind. Of course, it's a 20-year-old throwback, but you know what I mean. Our story is set in Venice, Calif., where the aforementioned frisbee kid finds a couple of mutilated dogs floating in a canal. Soon, human bodies are turning up shredded in similar fashion and our "hero," a Bert Convy-lookin' disillusioned high school journalism teacher (for the love of God!), decides to investigate. What is it with these Bert Convy-lookin' guys, anyway? They seem to turn up in about every sixth movie I watch. But anyway--the Slithis, who looks like an ambulatory pile of dogshit, brazenly enters a house and slaughters a fat guy in a wife-beater. Bert Convy-guy sneaks into the house, where he finds a pile of mud. He takes a sample to an "expert," who says "It's like nothing I've ever seen before... it's organic, but it's also inorganic!" Later, the "expert" shows up at Bert's house where he unloads a mouthful of jibber-jabber about a radiation leak and "evolving mud." Our intrepid duo realize they've got a monster on their hands, but the chief of police (whose "acting" makes Urkel look like freakin' De Niro) just doesn't buy it. Bert goes to visit a spooky scientist whose face is all mutated, where he learns the secret of the Slithis, and then our heroes are off to battle the monster! I'm making this sound a lot more fast-paced than it really is--in fact, the flick is almost Jess Franco-esque in its abundance of "walking" scenes, but if you can suffer through all the strolling, it pays off, baby. Where else are you gonna see all this monster stuff, along with turtle racing and a comical wino who poops his pants? Nowhere, I'm tellin' ya. Another added bonus is the flick's most satisfying scene, wherein the Slithis eats The Sort Of Man Who Reads Playboy and his easy date in a prolonged orgy of bloodshed. My only real gripe with the movie is the way the actors pronounce the word "Slithis." Just pisses me off, that's all. (Media)

Django (1966)

Emily's dad and I (it's a bonding thing--Emily being out of town 'n' all) popped Sergio Corbucci's Spaghetti Western classic in and immediately found ourselves knee-deep in mud, blood and sweat as Django, the gunslinger so tortured he drags his own coffin around with him, stumbles across some bad fellows whipping a red-headed frontier gal. Emily's dad thought it would be easier for Django to wheel his coffin around on some sort of hand truck, but I felt his current method is the only way, as he needs his hands free for gunslinging. At any rate, before Django can act, a horde of red-hooded (not headed) bad guys arrive, gunning down the other bad guys. These red-hooded gentlemen intend to set the red-headed gal on fire, which Django takes issue with. He shoots the men, but shooting alone isn't good enough for one of the bad guys--Django shoots him a second time, whereupon he falls down a hill and sinks in quicksand. Django and the gal enter a saloon nearby, populated by the most flamboyant prostitutes ever committed to celluloid, where they learn of the war between a band of Mexican outlaws and the red-hooded guys. Before you can say A Fistful of Dollars (or Yojimbo or even Red Harvest), Django is stirring the fudge to serve his own needs. I don't wanna give away too much, but y'see, Django's got his sights set on a mess o' gold, and he needs some help to get it. ... By the end of the flick, we've seen tons of shootouts, bad guys so bad they make a guy eat his own ear, a Tender Moment for Django, and our hero's hands crushed by a rifle butt, then stomped by horses! And after a gunfight, Django says, "You can clean up the mess now--but don't touch my coffin." A must-see. (Magnum)

--Scott Phillips

videodrome @alibi.com

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