Night of the Creeps

fred-dekker-night-of-the-creeps-starring-jason-lively-steve-marshall-jill-whitlow-and-tom-atkins-1986-posterNight of the Creeps is a Horror/Sci-fi/Comedy released in 1986 by TriStar Pictures. Night of the Creeps is written and directed by Fred Dekker and pays homage to B-Movies.  In the years since its release it has managed to overcome its box office short comings, garnering a cult following. Night of the Creeps manages to mix a couple of genres and while the film does slip into parody at moments, it manages to always be entertaining.

The film opens with an alien gun battle, where one of them launch a canister into space. We cut to Sorority Row 1956, two college students are out on a date. The girl is attacked by an axe wielding mental patient while the boy is off in the woods investigating a shoot star crash. The shooting star turns out to be the canister that was launched into space, it cracks open and a slug like creature jumps into his mouth. We then jump the year 1986 and into the realm of color. Chris Romero (Jason Lively) and J.C.(Steve Marshall) are walking down sorority row during pledge week, when Chris spots Cynthia (Jill Whitlow) across the yard and falls in love with her at first sight. Chris and J.C. decide to pledge a fraternity in an attempt to impress her. The head of the frat decides to task the pair with stealing a cadaver from the school morgue and depositing it on the steps of a sorority. The pair find the body of the boy from the opening in a secret cryogenics lab and decide to steal the corpse. The corpse wakes up, scarring the pair away and infecting a lab tech with a slug creature like he was back in 1956. Detective Ray Cameron is called to the scene of the boys break in to find the body of the lab tech but the corpse of the boy missing. After reaching sorority row the corpse from 1956 head splits open, releasing more of the strange slug creatures. The frat turns on Chris and J.C. believing that they were responsible for the previous nights incident when the corpse was discovered. After the head of the frat trips crippled J.C. causing Chris and Cynthia coming to his aid. The two are then picked up by police, they confess that they indeed did break in but deny stealing the corpse. Meanwhile the corpse of lab tech rises from his slab as a zombie and wanders off. He is later discovered with his head split open and slugs can be seen fleeing the area. Later that night Cynthia visits with Chris and J.C. to tell them of an earlier incident involving a zombie cat and her seeing the zombie that visited sorority row. After walking Cynthia home Chris is picked up by Detective Cameron and is taken to his Camerons home, where Cameron tells Chris of the man he killed years prior and buried. The next scene is that corpse of the mad man rising from the grave and killing an old woman. Cameron answers the call, after locating the corpse he shoots its head off with a shotgun releasing more slugs. The next following evening as people prepare for the formal dance the slugs set about infecting the college, forcing Chris and the gang into a fight for survival.

The great black and white opening. sets a great comedic tone while it pays homage to black and white B-movies. The humor carries through the rest of the movie keeping the same fee,l but easing back on outright parody. The version I saw had the alternate ending so I can’t judge on the original ending, but the alternate was about perfect in tone to end the film.

The core cast while goofy at times, are often very fun relateable characters. I felt concern for them when they were in peril. I often say that it’s a relateable characters that create a good horror movie and this is a good example why. Even the stereotypical jock villain was entertaining and fun to watch.

The special effects really show their age. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this film still has a few notable special effect scenes. Most prominent is the creepy zombie cat. I don’t know what it is about that scene, but I got a creeped out so kudos to you film.

Final thoughts time again, Now while this film is very good it’s not without its flaws. Most this boils down to the films internal logic, but it’s never so bad that suspending disbelief becomes an issue. Still it becomes very annoying and begins to wear thin by the end. This film came highly recommended to me by a personal friend of mine, who after seeing it herself thought it would be a film I would love. She got it mostly right, many of elements are something I enjoy. But the film was missing some element to push it up into the higher escalones. But as a predecessor to one of my personal favorite horror films Slither and another The Faculty, I was more than happy to see it. So Night of the Creeps gets a strong recommendation, but is by no means a classic, tho it’s more than worthy of its cult status. 7/10


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