“Slithis” (1978)


Studio: Fabrax Films
Starring: Alan Blanchard, Judy Motulsky, J.C. Claire, Dennis Lee Falt
Directed by: Stephen Traxler
Rated: PG
Running Time: 86 min.

Synopsis: A strange creature attacks people at Venice Beach, California.


Chris Woods

Slithis is one of those movies that have an iconic poster from the 70’s that you always remember. I remember seeing this poster for the first time in a sci-fi magazine during the late 70’s or early 80’s. The Slithis poster is a lizard-like creature that kind of looks like a beefed-up Sleestak from Land of the Lost who is carrying a woman. This image has been plastered everywhere throughout the years on T-shirts, pins, magazines covers, and of course, posters. This was a film that I wanted to see for a long time and finally got to see it recently and the film did not deliver.

The film starts off with these bizarre brutal murders that are happening around Venice Beach in California. A high school journalism teacher (who looks like Bert Convy a bit) gets curious about the murders and starts investigating. After the teacher finds some strange dirt at one of the crime scenes, he has his doctor friend take a look at it. He finds out that the dirt is radioactive soil, which created the Slithis monster. The teacher tries to warn the people and alert the police, but no one takes him seriously. So, the teacher and his friends are the only ones who can try and stop the Slithis.

Overall the film is very slow moving and boring. There are lengthily periods of time between each killings or Slithis sightings. The whole movie just drags on and on. The characters in the film are not worth watching and are very dull. One major disappointment was the monster himself, which looked nothing like the creature in the poster. The Slithis in the poster looked very cool and the one in the movie was an awful rubber suit and its face looked like a bad Halloween mask.

There are some funny moments that I have to mention that make the film somewhat enjoyable at times. The teacher’s doctor friend for instance, who is just referred to as Dr. John and I think they must say it about a few dozen times. You could almost make a drinking game out of it and take a drink every time someone says Dr. John. Also, there is a part where the teacher is talking to this wino that saw the Slithis. When the teacher suggests going to the police and telling them what he saw, the wino yells back, “Man you snapping!” It just sounded funny when he said that line.

Then during the opening of the film there is a scene where there is these two kids playing Frisbee and the whole scene is done in slow-motion with this goofy music playing. One of the kids happens to see something in a cannel and calls his friend over. They even show this fat kid running over to his friend in slow-motion, which was funny. Then one of the funniest parts of the film is when this ladies man picks up a girl at a bar and brings her back to his boat and they go down to his cabin and the guy has a picture of himself posing with his Burt Reynold’s mustache and all, framed and up on his mantle. This film would have been perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000. I would have loved to see a version of that. I think that would have made the film a lot better.

The film that I saw had an alternate title, which was Spawn of the Slithis, but I have always known it as just Slithis. The film itself is kind of a throwback to the monster movies of the 50’s. Don Dohler did the same around this time with his film, The Alien Factor, but in my opinion Dohler’s film was much more entertaining. I would also like to see a fight between Slithis and Zaat and see who would win. Now there’s a movie! As bad as Slithis is, it is still worth watching once for the funny parts I mentioned above. Watch it with a bunch of friends and make your own MST3K out of it.