Slotherhouse: Behind the Scenes with the Masterminds

Author: Jorge Perez

In the vast universe of cinema, every once in a while, a gem emerges that challenges conventions and reshapes genres. Slotherhouse is one such marvel. As I logged into a virtual Zoom room with Matthew Goodhue, Bradley Fowler, and Cady Lanigan, there was a moment of light-hearted banter about how this platform has become the new “in-person” interview. Their screens brimmed with enthusiasm, and even through the digital medium, their passion for the project was palpable. We delved into the making of this unique horror-comedy that turns the docile sloth into a thrilling antagonist.

The film features protagonist Emily Young (Lisa Ambalavanar) and her quest for popularity leads her to adopt Alpha, a seemingly innocent sloth. But as her star rises on campus, a series of chilling events point to Alpha’s darker side. This isn’t just a film; it’s a roller-coaster of emotions, blending horror, comedy, and a dash of societal commentary.

Ms. Mayflower (Tiff Stevenson) and Alpha (The Sloth). Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

Casting: Breathing Life into Alpha

All three creators shared animated expressions as they reminisced about the film’s production. “It was challenging, no doubt,” Goodhue admitted, “But the camaraderie among the cast and crew made it all worthwhile.” Lanigan, with a twinkle in her eye, added, “And let’s not forget the fun of working with a puppet sloth as your main antagonist!”

Goodhue’s face lit up as he began discussing the casting process. “It was essential for us to find actors who could genuinely connect with Alpha, our puppet sloth,” he emphasized. Lanigan, nodding in agreement, added, “The challenge was making interactions with a puppet feel real and genuine. And our cast? They nailed it.” Fowler chimed in with a smirk, “Especially getting our UK actors to perfect that American accent. It was crucial for the film’s Americana vibe.”

Sorority House. Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

The Message Behind the Horror

I highlighted the therapeutic potential of horror films, “Given the mental health focus of Geek Therapy, how do you think horror films, especially ones with unique premises like Slaughterhouse, can be therapeutic or cathartic for viewers?”

Goodhue leaned forward, his expression earnest. “Horror allows us to address serious topics in a unique way,” he responded. “With Slaughterhouse, we’ve touched on issues like poaching, the dangers of social media, and the broader implications of our environment. We’ve wrapped these messages in a playful manner. It’s about engaging viewers without overwhelming them. We don’t really hide the themes of our movie too much. It’s clear that poaching is detrimental and that social media can be harmful. We present these issues in a fun, playful environment. The hope is that viewers can enjoy the movie, get caught up in the story, but also walk away with a deeper understanding of these themes. It’s therapeutic in a way, to confront these issues in a setting that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking.”

Fowler also drew parallels between the film’s narrative and real-world issues. “The film serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exploiting nature for personal gain,” he stated. Lanigan added, “And, of course, reminding them to think twice before getting an exotic pet!”

Lanigan, with a playful roll of her eyes, added, “And of course, reminding them to think twice before getting an exotic pet!” The underlying messages about environmental awareness and climate change were evident, making the film not just a source of entertainment but also a medium for reflection and conversation.

Melding Genres: The Comedy in Horror

Lanigan’s screen brightened with a chuckle as she shared her initial apprehensions. “Coming from a comedy background, I wasn’t sure how the horror community would receive us.” She paused, her smile widening, “But the positive feedback? It’s been nothing short of amazing.” Goodhue and Fowler exchanged a knowing look, clearly sharing the sentiment.

Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar). Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

Breaking the Mold: Rethinking the “Final Girl”

The “final girl” trope is a well-known convention in horror films, where typically one woman survives the film’s horrors and confronts the antagonist, often triumphing over them. This character often embodies resilience, resourcefulness, and determination, qualities that enable her to navigate the challenges and threats she faces.

In Slotherhouse, there’s a notable shift from this established convention. Instead of a singular survivor, the film showcases multiple survivors, emphasizing the power of collective strength. Goodhue reflected on the character of Emily, who, despite her naivety, matures throughout the film. By the end, she evolves from prioritizing her own well-being to putting others first. This transformation underscores the film’s message about the importance of community and collective resilience.

Fowler elaborated on the structural approach to the film, mentioning the “collective journey” where an idea or antagonist poses a challenge to multiple characters. This approach contrasts with the traditional “hero’s journey” and offers a fresh perspective on confronting adversities. This allows viewers to walk away with an understanding of community resilience and shared experiences.

Left to Right: Alpha (The Sloth), Zenny (Bianca Beckles-Rose). Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

Lanigan added her perspective, emphasizing the significance of the collective journey over the singular hero’s journey. She also highlighted the character of Breonna, who remains true to herself throughout the film. Lanigan appreciated how characters in Slotherhouse stayed authentic to their identities, allowing audiences to connect with them on a deeper level. “It’s interesting to hear people find things that maybe we didn’t intend as creators to lead with but affect them deeply,” she remarked.

By unintentionally deviating from the “final girl” trope and emphasizing a diverse group of survivors, Slotherhouse not only challenges traditional horror conventions but also underscores the importance of representation and inclusivity in modern storytelling.

Slotherhouse is more than just a horror-comedy. It’s a film that challenges conventions, addresses pressing societal issues, and offers viewers a unique cinematic experience. The passion and creativity of its creators shine through, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre. As our virtual chat came to an end, the trio’s screens filled with smiles and waves, leaving me with a sense of their genuine camaraderie and shared vision for this standout film

Eager for a cinematic treat that challenges, entertains, and provokes thought? Don’t miss Slotherhouse, now playing in theaters near you!


Senior Emily Young wants to be elected sorority president. She adopts a cute sloth, thinking it will help her win, but a string of fatalities implicates the sloth.

Tyler (Andrew Horton). Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

 New York Theaters

AMC 34th Street 14
312 West 34th Street

AMC Empire 25
234 W 42nd St

AMC Kips Bay 15
570 Second Avenue

AMC Lincoln Square 12
1998 Broadway 68th Street

AMC Orpheum 7
1538 Third Avenue

Village East Cinemas New York 7
181 Second Avenue 12 Street

Regal E-Walk New York 13
247 W 42nd St

Regal Essex Crossing 14 & RPX
115 Delancey St

Regal Union Square Stadium New York 14
850 Broadway

Emily (Lisa Ambalavanar). Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

Los Angeles Theaters

AMC Grove 14
189 The Grove Dr

Regal LA Live Stadium Los Angeles 14
1000 W Olympic Blvd #697

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