Night of the Creeps

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When an alien organism is released upon the world in 1959, it comes back to reanimate the dead in 1986 with horrifying results for one local college.

I’m just going to put this out there, I fucking despise fraternities. I don’t think I need to really expand on that, I fucking hate fraternities. They are cesspools of garbage human beings with no moral compass and a whole host of daddy issues brought about by being the types of people who never once had to work at anything their entire lives. And before you ask, no, it’s not just because most frats won’t accept the undead. They have undead fraternities on most campuses so that’s not an issue, and even those zombies that inhabit them are pricks. Animal House aside, these places are no good, little more than gang houses for rich kids with the exception that at least gang bangers don’t mind admitting to what they are while frat kids seem to think they are somehow better, rape apparently being okay as long as your family is rich. At least Chris and J.C. aren’t frat types, I think they may have dodged a major bullet there.

Today’s film begins aboard a space ship deep in space where some aliens who can’t hit the broad side of a barn are trying to catch an escaped scientist. They unfortunately aren’t able to catch up to the escapee before he is able to eject an experiment of his into space, an experiment that lands in rural 1959 America where an escaped serial killer is on the loose, escaped crazies apparently being a major plot point for this film. A couple eager to explore the local make out point runs into a few problems when the man finds the ejected experiment from earlier, an experiment that takes the form of a worm that jumps down his throat, while his girlfriend is attacked by the axe wielding maniac. Fast forward to 1986 and Chris and J.C. are on the prowl, looking for a college frat to join, but Chris instead falls for a girl and takes a fraternity dare to rob the school morgue. At the morgue they find and unfreeze a body, a body that belongs to the worm victim from earlier, and when Chris and J.C. take off running, a lone scientist is left to take the brunt of the reanimated corpse’s wrath. After infecting the scientist with a new worm the corpse wanders over to a nearby sorority where his head explodes and a whole host of new worms are released upon the world. This is bad enough, but it’s only going to get worse. As the worms all seek out new hosts, one finds its way to the dead axe murderer from the beginning, a murderer killed by Detective Ray Cameron in his early years as a cop, the very same detective who is now investigating the strange case of the walking corpse with an exploding head. While the worms find their way into more and more corpses, and the now undead axe murderer walks the streets once more, Chris and J.C. are going to have to work with Det. Cameron if they have any hope of saving the campus from an army of worm infested corpses.

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{When these two are your go to guys shit might be beyond fucked up}

This throwback to 50’s B Movies was a fun little romp for those of us who grew up watching the old black and white science fiction and horror films of yesteryear. I can remember watching these movies when I was a kid and loving every second of them. Them! is still one of my favorite movies of all time. Some of those older flicks haven’t aged as well and many of them lost a lot of their impact over the years, but they are still fun movies to put on and remember where horror cinema comes from and how it’s evolved over time. Night of the Creeps is a great homage to those old films from half a century ago, though I suppose it was only a few decades back when this flick was made. Beyond it being a homage to those older flicks, it’s kind of a nod to all of science fiction and horror cinema in general. Just a look at names of characters and buildings is proof of that, Chris Romero, James Carpenter Hooper, Cynthia Cronenberg, Ray Cameron, Det. Landis, Det. Raimi, and the school where the whole film takes place, Corman University. Adding in the undead serial killer was great as well. Not only was it simply a great addition, but it tied everything together, making this a homage to zombies, science gone wrong, monster, and serial killer movies. The whole story was great, and making this a tribute to so many older film types not only made this a fun flick but a credit to everything that had come before.

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{The worst type of serial killer you can deal with}

Though being a homage was a strong point for the film, I think the strongest bit was in the characters and the actors portraying them. I personally think that next to Halloween 3 this is Tom Atkins best flick (and actually Atkin’s favorite movie he’s ever stared in). He’s a cynical asshole and he’s always pissed off but you still can’t help but love what a smartass he is. Jason Lively’s Chris is an unlikeable prick though and I couldn’t stand his incessant whining, but I think that was the point of his character. He’s the unlikable half of the pairing of him and J.C. (played by Steve Marshall), Chris’ crippled friend who, though handicapped, never lets his disability get to him. J.C. is always happy, sarcastic, and full of enjoyment in life. He was easily my favorite character, someone I would have hung out with in a heartbeat.

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{Even with a shotgun Chris seems like the more lame of the pair}

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{Don’t fuck with Tom Atkins}

The film’s one real downfall was in the effects. They’re not all bad, but for everything done great, there is something else done horrible. The undead serial killer for instance looks awesome (despite him having been dead for nearly thirty years by the time he’s reanimated). They put a lot of work into his creation and he looked amazing, his smile being a truly creepy thing to behold. The aliens from the beginning on the other hand look terrible. They were in horrible plastic suits, and though I find myself wondering if that was on purpose as a little tribute to the older science fiction movies, why do everything else so well and then make the aliens look so terrible. There’s also the college students reanimated by the worms, their makeup looks great, but their head explosions, not so much. Every time one their heads exploded to release more worms, it looked awful, reminding me of those old time Gallagher skits where he’d break open a watermelon with a sledgehammer.

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{Some of the more lame effects}

That’s aside, it’s still a fun movie to watch, one that while being very lighthearted has some extremely dark, and even monumentally sad moments. I highly recommend this one.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Fred Dekker (Monster Squad, Robocop 3)

Starring: Jason Lively (Brainstorm, European Vacation), Tom Atkins (Maniac Cop, Lethal Weapon), and Steve Marshal (Justice Denied, Sleeping in a Dream)

Released By: Tristar Pictures and Delphi V Productions

Released Year: 1986

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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