Non Canon Review: Night Of The Creeps (1986)

MARCH 21, 2008

GENRE: ALIEN, COMEDIC, ZOMBIE
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (REVIVAL SCREENING)

As much as I love James Gunn for Dawn of the Dead and Slither, I can’t say I really believe him when he says that he never saw Night of the Creeps before he wrote Slither. There are too many similarities to chalk it up to coincidence: the arrival of the parasite, the manner in which they ‘infiltrate’ humans, the way that infected humans look... come on now. He at least read the IMDb synopsis.

Doesn’t matter, because both movies are a blast, and I’m happy to have both. Creeps only has one major problem – the acting of Jason “Worst Rusty Ever” Lively, but it’s not even nearly enough to cripple the film, and you can even pretend it was intentionally bad acting to fit in with the corniness of old 50s movies (his appearance as Rusty confirms that no, he just can’t act worth a shit).

Otherwise this is a perfect B horror-comedy. Tom Atkins is possibly more awesome here than he is in Halloween III, which is saying quite a lot. His default phone greeting (“Thrill me”) is amazing enough for me to use it in real life on occasion (though I often reverse the way Rusty says it, and go“Thrill me, detective” instead. It’s less awkward.). The tagline is of course the stuff of legend (“The good news is....”). There’s another line that I think is just as good, involving a flamethrower. It’s the type of movie you will quote over and over.

It’s also a batshit movie. The first 20 minutes have alien wars, rotted zombies, a science project that requires a bunch of brains to be stored in the cellar, David Paymer running another science experiment in a college lab, a serial killer... holy shit!

The movie also features a guy named Steve Marshall, playing JC, Rusty’s best friend. However, until now I thought he was the guy from Nightmare on Elm St 3 who was in a wheelchair. He’s not. That guy’s name is Ira Heiden. I apologize to both unknown 80s actors.

Like Monster Squad, the movie is essentially over before you know it (the structure is much better though), but it’s fun from start to finish, and it’s a real shame that it’s STILL not on DVD, because there’s probably a lot of kids who have never seen it (even more of a shame when you consider they probably love Slither to death). I’ll scream like a banshee the day Anchor Bay or one of those guys manages to get this one a nice special edition a la Squad, because in my opinion it’s even more deserving of one.

What say you?

5 comments:

  1. A classic! I remember reading about it in Fangoria before it came out, missed the actual release, and finally found it on video. Getting the guy in the wheelchair was all time! And you knew where that bus was really headed when it left the fraternity house. Taping up the detectives mouth was also genius, you would have thought people in the Alien movies would have learned a thing or two.

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  2. Glad to see CREEPS getting some love. I have a cheapie DVD-R bootleg with the original theatrical version and a version that played cable that has a slightly different ending. Now that FROM BEYOND is out and PIECES is coming (soon, I hope), CREEPS is #1 on my Most Wanted Legit DVD List!

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  3. I saw Night of the Creeps in the theater. They had a William Castle type gag going. When you paid for your ticket, they handed you a surgical mask (it said Night of the Creeps on it). This was so the slugs couldn't get in your mouth.

    Biggest laugh the movie received was when Tom Atkins catches the slug in mid-air stopping it from entering him. He cracks a one-liner
    but I don't remember it. Just that it got a big laugh.

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  4. delirious shadowApril 2, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    Night of the creeps truly boasts a melange of insanity and great gags. As you pointed out, Tom Atkins' (unquestionably an unsung horror hero) deadpan detective is still to this day one of my favorite horror movie characters. This film just makes me happy. Flamethrowers, lawnmowers, and slug aliens oh my.

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  5. 'Scream like a banshee?'Ha ha haha. Scream like a banshee...

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