People often complain about how the horror genre lacks creativity these days, and that it tries too hard to emulate the movies of the past. While that much may be true, most movies in general-even those praised by critics-aren't 100% original. Most director's past and present pay homage to the films they loved, and will probably rip off better films, but that doesn't exactly mean those movies are bad. Hell, director's were doing throwback's to genre's past even in the 70's. Case in point: Stephen Traxler's 1978 50's monster movie homage "Spawn of the Slithis."
The plot itself is nothing the 50's hadn't already done. In Venice, California, the population of hippies, winos and more are all becoming the victims to a bipedal aquatic mutant, which was created by a nuclear leak. While the creature terrorizes and mutilates these folks, it's up to High School Journalism teacher named Wayne Connors (Alan Blanchard) to find out what's going on.
In short, "Slithis" is pretty much an updated version of 50's B-Movies like "The Monster of Piedras Blancas." The whole thing lacks much of the charm of these movies. While past movies dedicated more time to human character's than to the creature, the character of Wayne Conner's is incredibly boring and uninteresting. In fact, just about everyone in this movie is boring and can't act worth a damn. It's also really dull at times, with a moment involving getting a soil sample that takes way too long, and cringe worthy humor courtesy of the hobo characters.
That out of the way, the film does have some charms. The biggest one is the monster itself, which is a man in a rubber monster suit. Maybe it's just me, but seeing such a thing is actually pretty fun, and it brings me back to my childhood days of watching low-rent B-Movies fromt he 50's. The design for the thing is pretty cool too, and is one of the better creature designs of 70's era low budget horror. Plus, it's method of dispatching victims isn't too graphic, but there's something of a cheap thrill in watching a rubbery monster do it's thing.
Still, the bad outweighs the good, meaning that "Spawn of the Slithis" doesn't come with a recommendation. Kind of a shame really, because a part of me wanted to like this movie, but unless you are a hardcore 70's creature flick devotee, then there isn't a whole lot to love.