Posted: 11/13/2004


The Deadly Spawn


by Barry Meyer

An 80’s splatter creature feature classic. Offical site here.

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A pair of unfortunate campers stumble across a crashed meteorite and discover that some monstrous worm-like creatures have hitched a ride to Earth. After a bit of camper-hors devours, the alien spawn take refuge in the basement of an isolated farmhouse and prepare themselves for the main course! Soon, the unsuspecting family become the entrees of an intergalactic monster buffet. A group of teenagers, led by an ingenious special FX-loving young boy, now have to stop the aliens from reproducing and taking over the entire world.

There’s something so satisfying about watching a flick made by filmmakers who grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland and who use to terrorize their neighborhood with homemade monster masks and exploding blood squibs designed for their own cheap Super8 monster movies. The Deadly Spawn is one of those movies you have as much fun watching as the filmmakers had in making it. Director and writer Douglas McKeown echoes the boyish wonderment of classic 50s and 60s Sci-Fi thrillers — like Invaders From Mars and The Blob — where some over imaginative kid tries to save their small town (and all its disbelieving citizens) from the inevitable invasion of some bizarre and dangerous alien beings. The Deadly Spawn features classic creature designs by special FX guy John Dods), whose outstanding monstrosities reflect the burgeoning splatter-gore movement, while evoking the best of the old school creature feature monster FX. It’s no wonder that Dods went on to create FX for productions like The X-Files, but I cannot understand why McKeown wasn’t ever given a second chance at directing other horror flicks. He took Spawn beyond the limitations of its low budget and created a unique creature feature that should get more respect than it’s gotten.

Synapse Films does horror fans proud by putting out a package of extras more bloated than a roadkill possum on a sweltering summer sun-drenched blacktop country road. There are two commentary tracks (including the director and some cast members), screen test footage and outtakes from the personal stash of the filmmakers and cast, a comic book styled prequel, an alternate open with enhanced digital FX, plus a crude load more.

Barry Meyer is a writer living in Jersey who worships tee-shirts bearing images of Spam.

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