Title: Night of the Creeps (1986)
Director: Fred Dekker
Cast: Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow
Sometimes movies completely bleep out of the radar, disappear, cease to exist. This usually happens with really cheap sci-fi/horror movies that studios figure nobody cares about. Sometimes its films that were such box office bombs that the studio simply wants to forget about ‘em. But sometimes the public will claim for a long lost movie to re-emerge and re-emerge they do thanks to the good will of a distribution company who'll give a crap about these old movies and decides to rescue them from obscurity. I'm talking about companies like Anchor Bay, Synapse Films and Blue Underground, these companies thrive on pleasing horror/sci-fi fans by re-releasing these films on various formats. Even with companies such as these, Night of the Creeps was nowhere to be seen. But wait! Finally somebody out there heard audience’s cries (thanks Sony!) and released this long awaited gem from the 80's! Get ready, because this my friends is one of the best zombie films of the 80's!
Storyline on this film is a complete homage to science fiction and horror films from many eras; it's as much a homage to 50's science fiction films as it is a homage to zombie movies from the 80's. But what you need to know is this: a meteor containing a deadly alien life form crash lands in the woods! A curious teenager ends up as a host to one of the alien beings! They begin to reproduce in his brain…until his body is found and cryogenically frozen. Fast forward 30 years and the body is unfrozen by a pair of teenagers trying to get into a college fraternity! The alien slugs escape and spread all through out college campus! Will Detective Cameron find a way to stop the alien slugs before they eat every football jock and cheerleader on campus?
Night of the Creeps has so many cool things going for it, many elements make it an enjoyable watch. First off, it has this whole background with the alien experiment, the slugs that get released onto our world by an evil zombie midget alien/scientist. Yup, you read that correctly! So we got the science fiction angle there which is fun, especially considering the aliens are midgets! I mean little people.
Then, the movie shifts into a 50's horror film when we are introduced to this couple sitting in their car, enjoying the beauty of a quiet star filled evening. Suddenly a meteorite falls from the heavens! The teens investigate, but wait; theres an axe wielding maniac on the loose as well! Then the film turns into an 80's teen flick and now we follow a pair of horny teenagers looking to get some action. How do we know this is an 80's teen flick? Well, the film uses that classic 80's plot device where the teens who want to enter a fraternity have to pull off some sort of prank to get accepted. Then it turns into a zombie flick along the lines of Return of the Living Dead (1985), when we enter a facility that conducts secret science experiments involving the dead. But wait, its also a mystery, and so the film suddenly feels like a film noir as we follow a detective slowly uncovering everything! On top of this, we’re on a college campus with cheerleaders and football jocks running around drunk, looking for their next hot date. As you can see, Night of the Creeps is entertaining because it mixes so many different genres, it keeps things fun.
Tom Atkins has to be mentioned as something special in this film because he truly is. He is the epitome of what a bad ass 40 something detective should be like. He’s always the smart ass, the guy who knows the answers to everything. Don't ask him a stupid question, because you'll get stupid answer! His character has so many quotable one liners here, but amongst my favorite is of course, the ever popular “Thrill Me!” or there’s the other one: “I got good news and bad news. Good news is your boyfriends are here, bad news is their dead!” Jason Lively, whom some of you might remember as Rustty Griswald in National Lampoons European Vacation (1985) plays a pivotal role here as the nerdy leading guy, again, the film plays with our expectations of a film, this time its the nerd who is the hero. Steve Marshall plays the wise ass handicapped best friend. And Jill Whitlows plays the hot yet innocent looking, quintesential 80s cutey!
The cheesy dialog and sci-fi angle might not sit well with some folks, but if you can’t take the midget aliens in the first five minutes of the movie, then what are you doing watching this movie anyways right? But if you love monsters, aliens, zombies, cool make up effects, flame throwers, exploding heads, sorority babes getting undressed, zombie dogs, zombie boyfriends, alien slugs, cemeteries, and corpses sleeping in cryogenic laboratories, then look no further, this movie is for you!
The DVD has some really great extras. The film included in the DVD has the alternate ending, so you get to finally see that alien spaceship hovering above the graveyards, looking for that lost canister of slugs! The original theatrical ending is available separately on the DVD as a deleted scene. That’s the ending with the slug coming out of that dog’s mouth and flying at the audience. It’s got interviews with everyone, Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow. Its got extensive interviews with Fred Dekker the films director, you can see the guy really loved his film, and he really did put his all into making it as awesome as he could. Don’t worry Mr. Dekker, your film rocks! I hope Dekker does finally get to make another film, and that he puts as much effort and cram it with cool stuff and love for the genre as he did with Night of the Creeps. Mr. Fred Dekker, this film connoisseur salutes you!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5