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Night of the Creeps, 1986 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror

Posted by LiveFor on October 27, 2009

NOTC_05Director: Fred Dekker
Starring: Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow, Steve Marshall, Allan Kayser, Tom Atkins

An excellent review by BA Harrison – all part of my 31 Days of Horror.

Send me your horror film reviews.

Many successful Hollywood names have used horror as a springboard to launch their careers, but for director Fred Dekker and his cast, the opposite seems to have happened: after Night of the Creeps, an affectionate homage to the schlock B-movie sci-fi/horrors of the 50s, Dekker had one other hit (with kiddie flick Monster Squad) before crashing and burning with Robocop 3; roles for stars Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow, Steve Marshall, and Allan Kayser dried up soon after (only grizzled tough guy Tom Atkins, who unsurprisingly plays a grizzled tough guy cop, has gone on to have a long film career, but then he is one of the coolest character actors in the biz).

The lack of success for nearly all involved is a real shame, because based on the strength of this fun flick, they all deserved to go onto much bigger and better things (I know I’d liked to have seen much more of Whitlow, who is a total babe).

Beginning with a nifty prologue, which sees an alien experiment crash land on Earth and unleash its cargo of parasitic creatures, and ending with an all-out zombie attack on a sorority house full of teens, Dekker’s script is a delightfully daft but endearing slice of intentionally cheesy B-movie fun. Lively and Marshall play college nerds Chris and J.C., who attempt to steal a dead body from a cryogenic research facility as part of a frat prank; the only problem is, the body they try to make off with is host to alien slugs that enter live humans and transform them into flesh-eating ghouls.

After best bud J.C. falls victim to the brain burrowing critters, Chris sets out to rid the planet of the alien pests, aided by beautiful student Cynthia (Whitlow) and cop-with-a-tragic-history Ray Cameron (Atkins).

Considering that this is his debut as director, Dekker shows great confidence and flair behind the camera, and gets solid performances from his cast, all of whom have just the right amount of tongue in their cheeks. Working from his own script (that clearly displays both his love and understanding of the genre), Dekker pays tribute to everything from 50s sci-fi, Romero’s ‘Dead’ movies, and teen comedies, and even has time to throw in an axe-wielding psycho and a cameo from genre great Dick Miller for good measure.

Occasionally, the lack of a big budget is evident, particularly when it comes to the effects, which vary wildly in quality, and the cheese is perhaps laid on a little too thick at times—naming characters after famous horror directors ain’t THAT clever, and Atkins’ catchphrase (‘thrill me’) quickly gets tiresome—but for the most part, it all works very well, and the result is a witty, memorable, inventive, and thoroughly enjoyable time-waster.

Previous 31 Days of Horror reviews: The Broken, The Burrowers, The Unborn, Don’t Look Know, Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror, Christine, Pontypool, Diary of the Dead, Doctor Terror’s House of Horror, Wrong Turn 3, Zoltan Hound of DraculaHome Movie, The ThingVamp, Audition, The Fury, Blood Feast, Paranormal Activity, Braindead, Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 2, Martin, Fright Night, Zombieland

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