'Night Of The Creeps' (1986) - Zombie Movie Review
On board a spacecraft, two of the fakest muppet-like aliens in movie history battle against a third one to prevent him from releasing an experiment into space. There are even subtitles for the extraterrestrial language. In the end, the canister is released.
It's evident that from its first scene that Night Of The Creeps loudly urges us to not take it seriously.
It’s easy to understand why. Director and writer Fred Dekker wrote this script in a week. And you can see it. The absurdity of the characters' behavior, their dialogue and the giant holes in their plot make this film an absolute narrative disaster.
But that was kinda the idea. In his directorial debut, Dekker had the plan to make a film that was both a B movie and a permanent tribute to the genre. That's why there are recurrent references to Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space, considered the worst movie (B or not) of all time. It is the reason why all the characters have surnames of emblematic sci-fi/horror directors, such as George Romero, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, Tobe Hooper, James Cameron, Roger Corman, Sam Raimi and Steve Miner.
And of course, it is the reason why the plot revolves around an extraterrestrial experiment that consists of slug-like creatures that enter the human body, kill them and revive them into hostile zombies.
The truth is that, most of the time, the trick works. However, sometimes that strategy of being completely careless with the script feels more like a safety net than an intelligent resource to promote a tribute. Some of those strategic mediocrities don't generate laughter or give rise to something more memorable.
The canister expelled by the muppet-alien, of course, falls into Earth. But in 1959. That gives the opportunity to better develop the aesthetics of the B movies of that time. Convertibles, parking spots, great hairstyles, milkshakes and, of course, a maniac serial killer who has escaped from an insane asylum and who has just caught the fallen extraterrestrial slugs, making him an immortal killing machine.
But that's just the beginning. The film jumps to the present. That is, 1986. Corman University is full of parties, fraternities, and all the possible stereotyped students. There's a jock named Steve (David Oliver), another bully fraternity leader named Brad (Allan Kayser), a beautiful unattainable girl (who, of course, becomes attainable as soon as she realizes that her popular boyfriend is a douchebag) named Cynthia (Jill Whitlow), a bitter police detective named Ray (Tom Atkins) and of course, our adorable losers protagonists called Chris (Jason Lively) and JC (Steve Marshall).
Chris is a shy good student who is going through a breakup but quickly falls in love with the most popular girl on campus. JC is the charismatic and extroverted sidekick. He uses crutches. I point that out for the simple reason that a person with special motion needs was an interesting and progressive option for a sidekick at that time. Credit where credit's due.
Both kids come to the conclusion that they must belong to a fraternity in order to be cool and thus be accepted by the girls. Brad, the bully leader, gives them a task so they can be accepted: They have to perform a prank consisting of infiltrating the college hospital, stealing a corpse and depositing it front of one of the sorority houses.
Chris and JC infiltrate the laboratories and end up entering an ultra-secret area where they found the cryogenized body of one of the victims of the 1959 mad killer. They decide to steal it until the corpse comes alive. Our idiots flee the scene and of course, all hell breaks loose.
What's Your Rating For Night of the Creeps?
Night Of The Creeps takes a long time to unleash its threat and when it does, it's not exactly a great memorable display. There is not much creativity in the killings or in the modeling of the creatures. It has some fun moments (almost all thanks to old detective Ray) and its finale (which in its premiere was only an alternative ending but eventually became the canon) is the perfect hilarious icing on his plot disaster cake.
However, its "so bad, it's good" condition that elevated it to cult status has been reinforced thanks to the fact that 30 years later, this movie has also become a fun time capsule of the eighties.
And although it leaves the feeling that it could have been more entertaining, this is an almost perfect college movie.
Title: Night of the Creeps
Release Year: 1986
Director(s): Fred Dekker
Actors: Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Steve Marshall a.o.
© 2019 Sam Shepards