Posted: 10/31/00

Night Of The Creeps (1986)
by Del Harvey

"Good news, girls. Your dates are here. The bad news is, they're dead."


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This has got to be the perfect parody of all those bad "Aliens From Outer Space Invaded My Body And Destroyed My Hometown" movies. And not only does it make fun of and pay homage to 50's sci-fi films, but it's also a parody of all those bad teen horror films of the 80's.

The film opens on an alien spaceship where, for some reason, one of the aliens is trying to save an experiment from total destruction by his shipmates. The aliens are pretty cheesy-looking. In fact, they look like the "dancing baby" with a hangover. When one of the ugly critters jettisons the container from the ship, that's the last we see of them. But not the last of the container, of course.

Back on Earth, where it's 1959, a frat boy takes his new girl to the prom in his spiffy convertible T-Bird. Parked atop a hill overlooking the town (we used to call these "lover's lanes"), they"re necking when a young cop comes up to the car to roust them. Wouldn't you know it? He's the girl's ex. In fact, they just broke up. He gives them a warning to get home soon and departs. As the boy quizzes the girl about that cop, they notice a bright star that seems to be getting bigger. Soon it's a small meteorite that flashes overhead, crashing in the woods some distance away. An excitable boy, the girl's date ignores her saner concerns and drives off in the direction of the crashed meteorite.

He gets out to inspect, wandering off into the woods. As the girl sits there she flips on the radio. The music is interrupted for a news bulletin: a homicidal maniac has escaped from the local asylum and is not far from their current location! Hearing a scraping noise behind her, she turns to see a guy with an ax swinging over his head. She has just enough time to scream as the screen fades to black.

Next shot it's 1986, the same small town. Not ten minutes into the film and we've found our contemporary heroes - the shy Chris (Jason Lively - Brainstorm, European Vacation) and the nerdy, handicapped J.C. (Steve Marshall). Right away, Chris spots the love of his life - Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow - Porky's, Mask, Weird Science). Only she's a sorority girl and won't consider any boy who's not in a frat. So the boys decide to go along with the frat boys' initiation ritual to steal a corpse from the med labs. Only they stumble upon a cryogenic chamber housing the T-Bird driving boy from the 50's. The boys take him out of deep freeze. When the corpse twitches, they drop him and try to make a run for it. The cops are called in before they can escape. The head cop is - you guessed it - the young cop from lover's lane.

And it just keeps getting better and better. It's sick, it's twisted, it's silly, but most of all, it's fun. And it's tongue-in-cheek and one of the best horror/sci-fi parodies ever made.

Attention, Sam Raimi, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, or Quentin Tarantino: Remake this film! It's perfect for any of you. Seriously - it's timeless and you'll have not only a hit but also an instant cult classic.

There are very few actors in this film that anyone would recognize. Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Lethal Weapon) plays the young cop turned detective, and he does an admirable job and is quite perfect for the role. But he's the sort of actor that tends to be typecast, and his comedic abilities have been overlooked. In a cameo there's Dick Miller, star of many a bad Roger Corman 60's horror flick. And in the first scenes in the med lab there's a young student researcher played by David Paymer (City Slickers, Mr. Saturday Night, many others). Paymer even sheds his clothes for a scene. Doubt he'd do that again.

Night Of The Creeps is a good view, so stock up a cooler full of brews, call your friends, dim the lights, and laugh your asses off.

Oh, and call Sam Raimi and ask him to remake this one, would you

Del Harvey, founder of FM, lives in Chicago. He is a survivor of The Directors Guild Of America, The Walt Disney Company, and Lucasfilm.

Got a problem? Email Del at filmmonthly@hotmail.com