Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Movie Review: Night of the Creeps (1986)


Oh, joy! Another 80s horror classic! Did I love this one as much as most of the others I've watched while to play catch-up? Hell yes, I did! Night of the Creeps has again made me think that I've just been wasting my time with all the other shit that I've been watching lately and that I need to get my hands on more classics like this.

Night of the creepy plot (that's terrible I know): Two college friends, Chris and J.C., inadvertently release slug-like aliens onto their campus when they unthaw an infected man who has been cryogenically frozen since the fifties. Now with the help of a sorority girl that Chris is crushing on and an aging, cynical detective, they have to stop the slugs from infecting their friends before the whole campus turns into murderous zombies.

The thing I loved the most about Night of the Creeps is that it is a B movie, and it loves the fact that it is a B movie. In fact, it is quite clear that this is a B movie that actually strives to be the best B movie it can freaking be. This is evident in the first scene (well, the scene after the weird little wrinkly aliens are running around) which takes place in 1959 when the alien slugs first come to Earth and attack a boy out on a date with his girl. This part is shot in black and white and looks like the most cliche 50s drive-in movies ever. There are sweaters, ponytails, and words like "dreamy" and "neato," plus the main guy in this story is named Johnny, just like every other hunky stud was named in the 50s, apparently.

Flash-forwarding to the present (well, 1986) and we meet the two dorks Chris and his unexplainably handicapped friend J.C. One minute into this scene with these two and I knew I was going to love the rest of the movie. From Chris's line, "Her! The vision, the angel, the goddess!" to J.C.'s seemingly unending tirade of one-liners, this movie isn't just 80s awesomeness, it is actually well-written and entertaining all the way through and the actors are surprisingly good. Some of the dialogue might be intentionally cheesy and ridiculous but the way that the actors delivered them made it all highly enjoyable.

There are several elements of the horror genre alive and at work here in Night of the Creeps. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit creature feature, a lot horror-comedy, and even a little slasher at times. The final battle with the slugs also reminded me a little bit of Carrie, as it takes place on the night of the school dance and all the college kids are dressed up in formal wear. The gore was a little disappointing but there definitely a few great moments - zombie cats and dogs are definitely included in that!

And here again we have another movie that decided to show its horror chops by naming several characters after famous horror film directors. Cronenberg, Romero, Cameron, Miner, Raimi, Landis, Dante and DePalma are all in there, plus a double whammy since J.C.'s full name is James Carpenter Hooper. Perhaps in a future homage-y movie and somebody wants to do the same thing, they can include director Fred Dekker's name in there as well. Although he only has a few titles under his belt as the big cheese of the movie, Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad are enough for me to believe that this guy deserves a bit of recognition.

The characters are awesome. The 'Thrill Me' detective, Chris and J.C. are all hilarious and even the blonde-coiffed dickhead Brad is not as bad as he could have been. Cindy was not your typical girl-in-peril, which I liked very much. She put on that flamethrower and gave it to the alien-infected zombies with all she was worth.

This was quite a strange little movie but I'm always up for a movie that seems to love itself and what it is and Night of the Creeps is that kind of movie. Fun and entertainment are not far off with this gem so run to see it if you haven't yet! Though most of you probably have... I'm always the late bloomer.

8 comments:

  1. I think I went to the theater to see that one when it came out. Quirky little movie. I believe it had the line "Screaming like Banshees."

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  2. I gosh, I watched and re-watched this film back then over and over! it's my fave B-flick classic! Very imaginative and very messy!

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  4. Awesome, this one is one of my favorite horror films from the 80's! Right up there with House, Critters, The Blob (1988)...love that line "Thrill Me!" This flick was so influential on the guys who made Slither. I watch this one quite often actually, almost as often as I watch the original Fright Night.

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  5. One of the greatest b rated horror movies of ALL time. THRILL ME!

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  6. Even if I set out to make a film about a fillet of sole, it would be about me.

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  7. Saw this back in 87 on video then didn't see it again for years. Love the fact it's on TCM now days. It really is a great 80's B movie.

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  8. I've been watching a lot of 80s horror lately. I too saw 'Night Of The Creeps' on TCM Underground

    www.seanceofcinema.com

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