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Slitheen: Could They Be Better?


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Old 30-01-2013, 23:27
Mrfipp
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While letting my mind wander around, I began to think of if the Slitheen could be better used, so that people could think about them without rolling their eyes. In my opinion, there are no bad ideas, only poorly executed ones, and I think this could apply to the Slitheen.

Before I talk about the obvious flaws, I want to talk about what I felt was done right with them.

The Slitheen, unlike most monsters in this show, are not an alien race as a whole, but rather a crime family from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorias. This means that, as whole, this race is possibly no more evil than the human race (an idea that was played with in 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'). I found the idea of an alien mafia rather appealing, and liked their plot in 'Aliens of London', with the scene of them actually discussing their plan with the Doctor on of my favorite scenes in the story.

Another issue I liked is that in 'SJA' they displayed a rather feral side, often referring to their acts of chasing down Sarah Jane and her companions down as 'the hunt', happy at the prospect that they could render people apart with their massive claws. This showed that they could not only be ruthless, but enjoyed killing for fun.

Now, the things that didn't work.

To start out, the farting. While the farting made sense when presented, it still came off in a juvenile, and immature fashion. This could be easily solved by having an episode that is set somewhere that doesn't require them to wear human skins.

An aspect which I feel would be harder to overcome is the design. For the most part, they look fine, their heads and necks are unusual, and their arms are threatening, but from the chest down I feel they could have done better. The large pot belly and the legs of the design don't really work well with the rest of the design, and this becomes obvious when actually seeing the actor in the suit run. It looks awkward, and just silly seeing the actor waddle around, and it takes away any sort of threat it may had had before.

However, the few brief seconds of CGI that we saw of them in in 'World War Three' worked much better; they ran fast and jumped far, used their arms for support like an ape, and had a much more animal-like look to them.

What are your opinions? Do you think the Slitheen could be salvaged? Could they be made into something truly scarey? If we were to see them again, what sort of story do you think would optimize them the best? What changes do you think would ultimately make them better?
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Old 30-01-2013, 23:52
DavetheScot
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Perhaps. The idea of an alien wearing the skin of a person it has murdered is a good one, and the look of them isn't that bad; the contrast of the big powerful claws and the baby faces works quite well. But the farting would have to go.

Actually, I think they had quite a bit of success with them in SJA. Revenge of the Slitheen was poor, but The Lost Boy and The Gift were both pretty good.
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Old 31-01-2013, 00:39
Corwin
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Perhaps. The idea of an alien wearing the skin of a person it has murdered is a good one, and the look of them isn't that bad; the contrast of the big powerful claws and the baby faces works quite well. But the farting would have to go.
Didn't they already get rid of the farting in later SJA stories? Something about using better compression technology, it also allowed them to use thinner humans as disguises.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:15
johnnysaucepn
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The Slitheen seem to be full of contradictions - they appear to be advanced technology-users, except they only have huge claws to manipulate it with. I mean, they can only remove the compression skins with their human fingers, how on earth do they get them on?
And yes, their design and physical costumes make them look extremely slow and bulky, and yet suddenly they can run like cheetahs?

It always looks to me like they were designed before the story was written, and not the other way round.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:24
Mulett
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Yes, a nice idea but not realised in the best and most believable manner. Worked much better in SJA than Who.

Although for the SJA audience, they did need to 'skip over' the fact that the Slitheens had murdered and skinned people.
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Old 31-01-2013, 10:48
Batmannequin
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I must admit that ever since their debut, I've longed for another Slitheen story for this very reason.

There's no sugar-coating it: the slitheen as they stand are probably the stupidest thing the show has ever done (yeah, aliens who give away the fact that they're monsters by farting lots even trumps [no pun intended] The Kandyman in terms of sheer cringeworthy ridiculousness). After harping on about how great Who is to my friends and family ALL THROUGH the wilderness years, it finally comes back, and they all agree to watch it on my recommendation... and withing the first month we have the Attack Of The Fartmonsters. I was mortified.

But if you got rid of the stupid farting, the clumsy movements, and the silly invisible head-zips, I do think that they could be a plausible threat. The scenes in Boom Town where the slapstick and toilet humour were toned down were actually very good, and the Slitheen were redeemed somewhat in SJA (while the implications were left tantilisingly unsaid in the actual episode, the fact that they are - to the best of my knowledge - the only Who baddies to have killed a small schoolchild and worn his skin as a significant TV plotpoint must surely elevate their baddie credentials massively), so there is definitely potential.

Hell, the fact that they were so unforgivably abysmal in their first appearance could well be the thing that could make them so utterly effective in their next episode, should it happen (think how great The Krotons were in Alien Bodies - we were expecting the Daleks, so somehow when it ended up being the Croutons the "Haha, SERIOUSLY?!?" factor somehow ramped up the implications more than the use of an initially legitimately scary moster ever could have).

Picture it - an "Alien"-esque episode set on a crashed space-liner, or something. The guest cast being picked off unseen one by one in an (implied) gruesome fashion, buy something that seemingly just loves the sport of the hunt, rather than harbours any real malice. Everyone is scared - including The Doctor, who has no idea what is to blame - then we catch our first glimpse of the culprit: a blood-splattered Slitheen [or raxicoricofallipatorian, at least] face emerging from the shadows, with raised claws... The fact that we associate the creature with something so comically s*** could well make the episode so much more frightening and darkly disturbing than any new and scary-looking monster could.

Thrown in some "prequel-for-them/sequel-for-us" wibbly-wobbly goodness and set it before they perfect their meatsuit tech, leaving room for a kind of "leatherface on a Beeb budget and family-friendly timeslot" costume when they're in disguise as opposed to a "just like us but with farts" thing like the past, and I truly think we could be on to a winner.

Last edited by Batmannequin : 31-01-2013 at 10:51. Reason: Vanquishing the evil typo monkey once and for all...
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Old 31-01-2013, 11:00
sovietusername
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I actaully quite liked them
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Old 31-01-2013, 11:43
Lulz77
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I like them and I think they have alot morel potential. Would love to see Moffat write a story for them.

Also, the 9th Doctor novel with them in is quite good.
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Old 31-01-2013, 11:46
Callous
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I agree that the CGI Slitheen looked better...largely because the normal Slitheen had a very obvious "man in rubber suit" look to them.

To be honest there has been a fair bit of poor prosthetic work in new Who.

I've never been impressed by the close-ups they do of "nude" Daleks either (where they just seem to wobble them and puff the eye out a bit when they talk),very poor work (I much prefered the slithery CGI version we have seen).
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Old 31-01-2013, 14:11
Listentome
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I didn't mind them at all. I actually think Margret Blaine (Blon Fel Fotch) was one of the best characters of the new series, played to perfection by the wonderful Annette Badland. And Boom Town remains one of my favourite new series episodes. It might not be the best, but the relationship between The Doctor and Slitheen foe is perfection.
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Old 31-01-2013, 17:43
ShootyDogThing
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Picture it - an "Alien"-esque episode set on a crashed space-liner, or something. The guest cast being picked off unseen one by one in an (implied) gruesome fashion, buy something that seemingly just loves the sport of the hunt, rather than harbours any real malice. Everyone is scared - including The Doctor, who has no idea what is to blame - then we catch our first glimpse of the culprit: a blood-splattered Slitheen [or raxicoricofallipatorian, at least] face emerging from the shadows, with raised claws... The fact that we associate the creature with something so comically s*** could well make the episode so much more frightening and darkly disturbing than any new and scary-looking monster could.

Thrown in some "prequel-for-them/sequel-for-us" wibbly-wobbly goodness and set it before they perfect their meatsuit tech, leaving room for a kind of "leatherface on a Beeb budget and family-friendly timeslot" costume when they're in disguise as opposed to a "just like us but with farts" thing like the past, and I truly think we could be on to a winner.
I really like this idea.

Maybe it's because I was fairly young when they first appeared, but I actually thought the Slitheen were quite menacing and if it wasn't for the farting, I think they would be more positively viewed. The idea of emptying people out and wearing they're skins, and juxtaposed with the slight humour of the zips, I found pretty horrific. I think they are well designed (although in practicality some of it doesn't make sense, and somebody said above), but I think if CGI were to be used as well, it would have to be more consistent and realistic than it was in the episodes; either more maneuverable prosthetics (although I thought they very looked good), or less agile CGI versions. Although I liked how the CGI made them look like agile hunters, it didn't really work when you then saw them physically. But yes, I'd certainly be up for another Slitheen (or Blatherine, etc...) story.

Out of curiosity, has anyone else read The Monsters Inside novel with the Slitheen? I read it a few years ago, but I remember enjoying it.
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Old 31-01-2013, 19:30
Shawn_Lunn
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I've had a change of heart about the Slitheen over the last few years (and their frequent use in The Sarah Jane Adventures).

They're actually fine, it's just the farting thing that kind of brings them down a bit. The idea and backstory behind them is actually good and believable as well when you think about it.
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Old 31-01-2013, 21:49
gingerfreak
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It was the farting that put me off, and although I really liked Boom Town, loved the questions asked, I will always associate the Slitheen with farting (I never saw the SJA versions).

Having said that, Batmannequin's Alien-inspired idea is great, and as DavetheScot says, those baby faces with the big blinking eyes and permanently smiling faces would be great coming out of shadows to tear someone limb from limb.

Definite horror potential.
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Old 31-01-2013, 23:30
ryanr554
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Well, judging from this thread, people actually quite like them apart from the whole farting thing. I don't mind the farting thing but don't try to make them an actual threat to the world, it is never very clear whether we should take them seriously or not.

They can keep the farting thing if they make the race more of a comedy factor in the show rather than an actual threat, otherwise, get rid of the silliness.

Also, do we actually know the name of the species itself? I am sure Slitheen was only a family name.
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Old 01-02-2013, 00:05
Corwin
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Also, do we actually know the name of the species itself? I am sure Slitheen was only a family name.
Raxicoricofallipatorians
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Old 01-02-2013, 00:09
Rowls
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Surely this should have been titled "Slitheen: Could they be worse?"

A. No
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Old 01-02-2013, 00:52
AdelaideGirl
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Yes they could have been the Absorbaloff from Love and Monsters that was far far worse.


As for their lack of opposable thumbs plenty of alien monsters seem to have survived and used high tech machinery without.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:37
TEDR
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Yes they could have been the Absorbaloff from Love and Monsters that was far far worse.
No it wasn't. Though if that story had been a two parter and not placed so that on first broadcast you think 'oh, god, this new series just isn't going to survive' then my opinion might be different.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:10
AdelaideGirl
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See I disagree. The Slitheen had purpose and dignity compared to the Absorbaloff. World war 3 and Boom Town made me think there were fabulous real world parrales Love and Monsters made me cringe.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:15
TEDR
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The best thing about that serial was that it demonstrated that time travel is real by betraying the outcome of the next general election with 'I'm hardly one of the babes'. And if memory serves wasn't there a 45-second claim thrown in, suggesting a whole world of sexed-up dossiers? I haven't seen it since original broadcast so I may be confused about that...
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:35
AdelaideGirl
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Both those references were there but the Blair Babes were from 1997 onwards and 45 mins was 2002? How is that predicting anything the series was made in 2004/5.

By the way I'm not saying that your wrong just that my reaction to the monsters was different.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:11
TEDR
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Both those references were there but the Blair Babes were from 1997 onwards and 45 mins was 2002? How is that predicting anything the series was made in 2004/5.

By the way I'm not saying that your wrong just that my reaction to the monsters was different.
The episode made the point that someone who was in the same party as the babes was part of the governing party in 2006 i.e. it predicted that Blair would win again in 2005, less than a month after the episode aired. That was pretty clear by then (unnecessary political aside: despite Lynton Crosby's attempts to make our Howard sound like Australia's Howard) but was probably less so in 2004 when the episode was presumably shot?
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:52
AdelaideGirl
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Ah I'm an Australian wouldn't know when the UK elections were.

Although why would anyone want another Howard? One was more than enough.
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