I Saw A Film

A toxic/radioactive spill has combined with some canal muck speeding up evolution to produce a kind of Creature From the Black Lagoon for Venice, California. Dogs are killed (booo!), homeless are harassed, some elderly are chomped, and if you squint real hard you might see something in the night shots. Never fear! Local high school teacher is on the case. He wanders about collecting data from hippies and hobos and soon concludes something is up.

This film takes the bold step of having a hottie killed by the monster only in an inserted radio report of the incident! What happened? Couldn’t they afford one cutie victim? We finally get to see the beast, it’s a classic rubber-suited humanoid with the usual palsies of locomotion. There are some hilarious moments of cops harassing Hari Krishnas, and trying to pin the unpleasantness on weird religious cults. But we’ve already seen the rubber!

We get a bunch of science mumbo jumbo about radioactivity and canal waste. See the region’s waters are devoid of fish and so they hypothesize the creature is being forced to feed on land. It’s a sort of an ecological warning, taking its lead from the original Godzilla. The creature grows bolder, attacks a boat owner and his little date, who fights back with scissors and nearly turns the tables. Finally, our school teacher and a boat pilot go hunting. They seem to kill the creature with a boat anchor to the head, and then, and this is the hardest part of the story to accept, decide to throw it back, like it’s too small. It’s a little like the film makers went, wait we wanted a dubious ending, and we can’t have that if we just kill the beast on the boat with an anchor.

Slithis is showing free on Prime (USA) and despite it being rather home-made, isn’t a terrible rubber-suit monster film. Later the director would work on Waterworld! So you can see his fascination with wetlands working out.

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