Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Night of the Creeps (1986): or, Consider Me Thrilled

October Horror Movie Challenge, Day 10!

 In Earth-Year 1959 AD, a passing insterstellar research craft is the scene of intrigue and mutiny, as a creature who looks like E.T. on steroids steals a canister of dangerous parasites and makes a waddling bee-line for the air lock. In the ensuing hail of laser fire and gratuitous alien butt-shots, the mastermind fails to make good his escape, but does manage to fling the canister out of the ship, where it becomes trapped in Earth's orbit and crashes near the campus of an American university. A jock and his girlfriend are caught between a rock and a squishy place, as the boy falls prey to the alien worms while the girl is hacked to death by an escaped axe murderer! And all this in the first five minutes!

Nearly 20 years later, nerdy nice guy Chris (Jason Lively) is smitten by sorority girl Cynthia (super-cute Jill Whitlow). At the urging of his handicapped but fearless friend J.C. (Steve Marshall in a show-stealing performance), Chris pledges to a fraternity run by The Bradster (Allan Kayser), a sadistic Aryan preppie who is also Cynthia's erstwhile boyfriend. Brad tasks the boys to steal a corpse from the university research facility and dump it on a rival fraternity's steps--and I bet you can guess which body they corpse-nap. Soon the alien parasites are running rampant, turning students both living and dead into shambling, bloodthirsty zombies with exploding heads! It's up to Chris, J.C., and beyond-grizzled and gruff detective Ray Cameron (Tom "Fucking" Atkins) to exterminate the alien menace before the planet is overrun and the sorority formal ruined.

One of the true cult-classics of 80s horror, Night of the Creeps is a great time from beginning to end. Writer/Director Fred Dekker (the man also responsible for the much-loved 1987 kids' horror-adventure, The Monster Squad) delivers a fast-paced, quick-witted, gloriously gross hunk of grade-A cheese that should satisfy any fan of the genre. His script is full of quotable quips and unforgettable images, from the suspended-animation body of the 50s jock (which J.C. memorably terms a "corpsicle") to Cynthia in formal dress fighting off zombies with a flamethrower, to Atkin's immortal catchphrase, "Thrill me!" The acting is good across the board, with Atkins and Marshall making the best impressions. Add some great makeup effects, some fun, grody gore (watch particularly for the infected zombie cat puppet), and a special appearance by legendary character actor and national treasure Dick Miller, and there's really nothing left wanting.

A flick I haven't watched in years, and one I'm very glad I revisited. 3 thumbs!

"I don't know, Brad...you've just been so cold to me lately."


JamiSings said...

But - what happened to the axe murderer? I need closure on the serial killer!

Kev D. said...

There is so much to love about this movie.

Dekker wrote House that same year... talk about talent.

Jenn said...

I watched this one for the Challenge too (last week)! Lots of silly fun and a great turn by Adkins. Woohoo!

The Film Connoisseur said...

The Axe Murderer resurrected as a zombie and was blown away to smithereens by Tom Atkins.

One of my all time favorite horror films, the original ending with the spaceship hovering above the cemetary was pretty cool, I wish theyd left that one on it's theatrical release instead of the dog hurling the slug at the camara.

Awesome movie! Tom Atkins makes me laugh with everyone of his one liners.

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