Thursday, October 2, 2014

'Night of The Creeps' (Movie Review)


Here's a blast from the past! I can't tell you how many times I watched Night of The Creeps as a kid. It used to run almost weekly on the "Spine Tingler Theater" weekend horror double feature show (this is back when local cable networks cared about horror movies). Fred Dekker's offbeat tale of parasitic brain slugs attacking a college campus has earned cult classic status in many circles, and is now available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.

The story opens on an intergalactic chase scene involving some tiny naked Muppet aliens, and one of them ejects a tube full of brain slugs into the dark void of space. See? This movie is great already! Apparently this was happening in the 1950's by Earthling time, because the slugs land in the woods a few miles from "Make Out Point" (they don't call it that, I'm just taking creative liberties) and the terror ensues. There's also a psycho mental patient running around hacking people up with an axe, but that comes into play later.

Flash forward to present day, a.k.a. 1986. Chris (Rusty from NL's European Vacation) and his differently-abled comedian friend J.C. are looking to find some ladies and party on campus. In an attempt to impress the gal of his dreams, Chris and J.C. agree to steal a corpse as a prank in order to be accepting into a fraternity, because all women love frat boys. Luckily, there happens to be an advanced cryogenics lab on campus, but unluckily its only cadaver is full of intergalactic space slugs. One thing leads to another and the Creeps escape, quickly killing beloved character actor David Paymer, who played a scientist in this movie AND Howard The Duck in the SAME YEAR. Coincidence? Not likely.


The police are alerted to the gory goings on, and we finally get our first taste of detective Ray Cameron. Cameron is played by the excellent Tom Atkins, whose imdb accurately describes him as a "Handsome, rugged, versatile and charismatic character actor". The movie pretty much becomes the "Tom Atkins Show" from this point because he steals every scene he is in. Cameron is an angry old police stereotype whose main talents are getting drunk and belittling everyone he comes across. He is terribly sarcastic and manages to use his catchphrase "thrill me" roughly 127 times through the rest of the movie. After watching Night of The Creeps I tried to get #thrillme trending on Twitter, but it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped.

As the plot progresses, slugs begin infecting everyone and their pets at the school and it all culminates on the evening of a formal dance, where it's up to Chris, his new girlfriend Cindy, and the angry drunk detective to stop the slug zombie onslaught. I remember loving this movie as a kid because it had a scene with a flamethrower in it, and space aliens HATE flamethrowers. Aliens knew it, The Thing knew it, and Night of The Creeps does too. 

I can't recommend this movie enough if you have 88 minutes to kill. It's gory, funny, and stupid in the best kind of way. It has an amazingly high "1980's factor" that just can't be recreated no matter how hard current throwback films try, and is the superior Tom Atkins vehicle when compared to Halloween III: Season of The Witch. Go add Night of The Creeps to your queue, and let it thrill you.


Reviewed via Netflix Instant. Running Time: 88 MIN.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent review! I really love this movie, What ever happened to Fred Dekker?

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  2. Thanks!

    So after Fred Dekker graced us with Night of The Creeps and Monster Squad, he did a few Tales from the Crypt episodes. Then Robocop 3 almost ruined his career. Apparently now he's back though! He's listed as working in some capacity on that new Predator reboot written by Shane Black. Exciting stuff! I hope they get to shoehorn "thrill me" in there as a one liner.

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