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SLITHER

About The Production
The successful re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead firmly established James Gunn as an exciting new voice in the horror film genre. Gunn's take on the cult favorite was hailed by critics and horror fans as the work of a true aficionado, the product of a man who truly got and celebrated the genre. It was evident that screenwriter Gunn was almost eerily in touch with what scares people the most.

"I grew up watching horror movies,” shares Gunn. "And I loved Stephen King novels. So when I got into filmmaking, I knew that I wanted to explore the genre. I have a great time writing and directing horror movies and feel like it's a good fit, maybe because I'm such a fan of them myself.”

As a teenager in the 1980s, Gunn found himself greatly influenced by the over-the- top, darkly humorous horror films of that era. In particular, he followed the work of acclaimed directors David Cronenberg and John Carpenter.

"When I wrote Dawn of the Dead, I wanted to do something that brought back the grit of the '70s horror flicks. But when I began thinking about Slither, I knew that I was looking for more of an '80s feel,” he shares. "Lots of blood and guts, bigger-than-life special effects, tons of action—with a little bit of the camp factor—something kind of retro.”

Gunn's approach to Slither was to eerily, yet comically, tell the story of a small town infected by an alien plague taking various forms: from a disgusting army of slugs to their tentacled, acid-spewing, bulbous overlord. But at the core of Slither, he wanted to have a story that might involve the audience as well as scare it. "There's a love triangle at the heart of the film among Grant and Starla and Bill,” he reflects. "A lot of problems spring from this.”

To bring this unconventional story from page to screen, Gunn knew he would have to employ practical special effects and prosthetics for the majority of the film shoot to complement the necessary CGI. Eager to get his hands messy in the goo that brought such fearsome joy to his childhood, Gunn wanted to take advantage of the advances made in prosthetics in the past 15 years. The unique tactile element that practical effects and prosthetics would provide was crucial to the tone he wanted to convey in Slither, and not just to how the film would look on screen visually.

"I really missed the dirty grittiness and grime of old prosthetic effects,” says Gunn. "There's been a lot of technical advancement in the field since the time of The Thing. With Slither, I wanted to show off some of that new stuff and get people back into it.”

Gunn knew that he needed a special effects artist of the highest caliber to bring his vision to the screen. With a script that featured a central character undergoing a transformation to something monstrously inhuman, Gunn was looking for someone who could capture the nuances of Grant Grant's physical changes. Since Grant's metamorphosis is gradual, that artist had to deliver a delicate, then over-the-top, creature as Grant transitions from human into full monster mode. Gunn and the Slither producers turned to industry veteran TODD MASTERS of MASTERSFX and his effects producer DAN REBERT.

"Todd is a complete artist, the first person that we hired on the film,” states Gunn. "I knew from the beginning the kind of film Slither would be in terms of effects and prosthetics, and I knew Todd was the guy for the look we wanted.”

Honored with an Emmy for his work on HBO's Six Feet Under, Masters' long list of effects credits includes such frighteners as Predator, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Mortal Kombat and Tales From the Crypt. He recalls what first interested him in Slither: "I thought the script was hilarious and it reflected other things that I had done in the past, but it twisted it, and just made it so much more enjoyable. When you're in th

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