Night of the Creeps (1986)
Directed By: Fred Dekker
Starring: Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins
Subgenre: Zombies, Aliens, Comedy-Horror
Night of the Creeps is Fred Dekker’s 80’s homage to the Atomic Age sci-fi flicks and zombie movies, with a small sprinkling of slasher storyline for good measure. The story starts inside a space ship as we see two aliens racing after a third, aiming to stop him before he can eject a canister. Of course, they fail and the canister lands on Earth, in the 50s, near a college town. A college couple is out in the woods, doing what college couples do in the woods, when they see the “meteor” land nearby. While the boyfriend investigates, the girlfriend is hacked to pieces by an escaped mental patient (hello left field). The boyfriend’s fate isn’t much better, as a slug like creature jumps out of the canister and into his mouth. Fast forward to the 80’s….
Chris and J.C. are nerdy college kids and looking for the best way to hook up with girls. What better way than to rush a fraternity? Of course, they have zero chance joining the Betas, but that isn’t going to stop the Frat boys from making Chris and J.C. succumb to some hijinks. They are tasked with stealing a cadaver and putting it on the lawn of a Sorority. Wouldn’t you know it that the first one that they stumble upon is the cryogenically frozen body of the boyfriend from the prologue?
Once the body thaws, the slugs multiply, taking more victims, and creating all sorts of zombie havoc, including raising the body of the escaped mental patient from the prologue. Don’t think too hard, just sit back and enjoy.
Dekker nailed this one. The script is smart and funny and the cast works well together. Special note goes to Tom Atkins, who plays Detective Ray Cameron. Cameron is your typical mentally unbalanced bourbon sipping grizzled cop with a checkered past.
Another homage note is Dekker’s use of genre director names throughout the movie. The story takes place at Corman University, names include Romero, Hooper, Cronenberg, J.C., Cameron, Landis, and Raimi. In a lot of ways, Night of the Creeps did what Slither did much earlier. Dekker truly loves the genre and it shows. This is a must see for all horror fans.