Director – Fred Dekker
Cast – Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins, Wally Taylor, Bruce Solomon, Vic Polizos, Allan Kayser, David Paymer, Dick Miller
Release Year – 1986
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This film is infamous in horror lore, and along with “Intruder“(which I have a review for) is probably one of the more unknown/underrated horror films of all time. Written and directed by Fred Dekker(“The Monster Squad”, “Robocop 3”) he simply gave viewers a horror film made for horror fans.
This film starts off in the year 1959 with an alien experiment landing in a small town and infecting a local fraternity member. Fast forward to 1986 and it is pledge week at Corman University(an obvious nod to director/producer Roger Corman) and our lead character Chris is at a frat party with his best bud J.C. and Chris immediately falls for a local sorority girl named Cindy. Thinking that because she is in a sorority she must only go for fraternity guys, Chris and J.C. decide to go pledge for the fraternity throwing the party. The frat guys have no interest in letting them in, but decide to mess with them and give them a “mission” to complete in order to pledge for the fraternity. The mission is simple: Chris and J.C. must go to the morgue, get a dead body, and leave it on the doorsteps of a rival frat house. Chris and J.C. manage to sneak into the morgue thanks to a young dimwitted scientist(played by David Paymer, who recently starred in Sam Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell” as the bank manager) and do not locate any bodies, but do locate a body frozen in a cryogenic container. The morons release the body but before they can steal it the body moves and blinks it’s eyes, forcing the two nuckleheads to run away like babies. Little did they know, the body in the cryogenic container is the person who got infected by the alien experiment at the beginning of the film. With the infected body loose, the alien slugs living in his brain begin to spread out and infect other people, slowly turning the college into a zombie nightmare that brings back painful memories to the vengeful Detective Ray Cameron(the infamous Tom Atkins) who is ready to get back at the aliens for what they did back in 1959.
First off, as I mentioned earlier…this film is made for horror fans. Any big horror fan will notice that all of the character’s last names are shout-outs to big time horror directors. Christopher “Chris” ROMERO(George A. Romero: “Night of the Living Dead“, “Dawn of the Dead, “Day of the Dead“), James Carpenter “J.C” Hooper(John Carpenter: “Halloween“, “The Fog”, “The Thing“, “They Live”, “In the Mouth of Madness”, “Vampires”)(Tobe Hooper: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre“, “Salem’s Lot”, “Funhouse”, “Poltergeist”), Cynthia “Cindy” Cronenberg(David Cronenberg: “Shivers”, “The Brood”, “Scanners”, “Videodrome“, “The Dead Zone”, “The Fly“), Det. Ray Cameron(James Cameron: “Pirahna Part Two: The Spawning”, “Aliens“, “The Abyss”), Det. Landis(John Landis: “An American Werewolf in London”), Det. Sgt. Raimi(Sam Raimi: “The Evil Dead“, “Evil Dead II“, “Darkman”, “Army of Darkness“, “The Gift”, “Drag Me to Hell“), wow…what a shout-out!
I really enjoyed how the aliens would travel from one human to another. They would enter the person’s mouth and then live in their brain and make the person a zombie until they reproduced and would then bust out of the person’s skull in search of new hosts to infect. Pretty sweet huh! The recent horror film Sliver uses that exact element in what was an obvious nod to this film. The gore in this film is pretty well done and the exploding head sequences with aliens slugs flying out of them are well worth the watch. I especially loved the idea that dogs and cats would get infected as well, and Fred Dekker did a great job of making their demises gory as well. :huge smile: Tom Atkins’ character Det. Ray Cameron was definitely my favorite character from the film and as usual…Tom Atkins nailed his role flawlessly. He even added one of the greatest lines in horror history…:fraternity has been turned to zombies and are coming to the sorority house: “Well girls…I have some good news and bad news. The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is…their dead!”. Epic.
Of course with Night of the Creeps being an 80s film…it is not without its cheesiness. The characters were quite cliché and the acting could have been a bit better, but as with all 80s horror flicks, you learn to ignore that and actually pay attention to the film itself. This film is simple and definitely accomplished what Fred Dekker had in mind, to become one of the most iconic and well-loved horror films of all time.
Overall, this is a cool film that I recommend all horror fans watch. This is a film made by a horror fan, FOR horror fans.