Night of the Creeps (1986)
-Review by Nic Brown-
Zombies. They are everywhere! No, not outside of your house waiting to eat your brains when you go out to walk the dog. They’re all over the media. There have been any number of low budget, big budget and no budget zombie films put out since George Romero popularized the genre with his ground breaking film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. However, few films featuring the walking dead have the flair and style of writer/director Fred Dekker’s 1986 movie NIGHT OF THE CREEPS.
Chris and J.C. are a couple of not-so-popular college students. Chris has fallen head over heals for sorority girl Cynthia, so now the pair try to get into a fraternity so Chris can have a chance with her. To get in, they are told to steal a corpse from the campus laboratory and dump it on a rival frat’s doorstep. Unfortunately, instead of stealing a dead body, they release an alien infected human from cryogenic sleep. The body had been on ice since encountering alien, brain eating slugs that landed near the campus in the 1950’s. Now the brain eating slugs are back and infecting everyone they can, and it’s up to Chris, J.C. and Detective Cameron (Tom Atkins) to stop the creeps before they slither their way into everyone’s brains.
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is a low budget horror movie. Unlike many films of the genre though, this one freely admits that is what it is and that is part of what makes it fun to watch. Dekker’s film is also worth checking out because of the characters, especially Detective Cameron. The cynical police detective steals the show every time he’s on the screen with his wisecrack remarks and no B.S. attitude. The movie also pays homage to its roots with a steady stream of little winks and nods to many classic sci-fi and horror films. Everything from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE playing in the background to characters named for filmmakers George Romero and Sam Raimi make the film a treat for fans of the genre. Ultimately, it is Dekker’s blend of horror and humor that make NIGHT OF THE CREEPS work.
A staple of late night cable for many years, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS was hard to find until its recent release as a special edition DVD. The DVD shows the original “director’s cut” ending to the film as well as the theatrical version. It has a documentary about Tom Atkins that is worth checking out, and it includes commentaries by both the filmmakers and the cast and crew. So if you’re a fan of classic b-movie horror, a fanatic for zombie movies in general, or you just enjoy watching films from the 80s to show you how bad the fashions were then, just say “thrill me” and check out Fred Dekker’s NIGHT OF THE CREEPS on DVD.