Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986) Blu-ray Review

Night of the Creeps (1986) d. Fred Dekker (USA) (88/90 min)

“I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here.”
“What’s the bad news?”
They’re dead.”

In 1959, young police officer Ray Cameron (Dave Alan Johnson) learns that his girlfriend (Alice Cadogan) is two-timing him with football jock Johnny (Ken Heron), but he also has to deal with an axe murderer recently escaped from an asylum and an alien science experiment that has recently crashed to Earth… right near where the young lovers have parked. Needless to say, it’s a memorable night, the kind that boils cops hard. Twenty-seven years later, the would-be Romeo’s cryogenically frozen body is released by fraternity pledges Chris (Jason Lively) and J.C. (Steve Marshall) ... and the campus is quickly overrun by slippery alien slug creatures whose victims turn into zombies! It’s up to the grizzled and callous Detective Cameron (Tom Atkins) to solve the mystery before the entire student body is turned into shambling hordes. Thrill me, indeed!

Writer/director Dekker’s (The Monster Squad) enjoyably offbeat horror/comedy deftly mixes all sorts of genres while simultaneously noodging the viewer (the college and all the leading characters are named after famous horror movie directors).

The effects by KNB fledgling splatter masters Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, as well as Ted Rae’s (billed as “Creep Supervisor”) outstanding mechanical effects, are wonderfully integrated, but it’s really the enthusiastic and amiable cast of players who sell the goods. European Vacation’s Lively is a fantastic lead opposite Atkins in his signature role, and both are given excellent support by Marshall, cutie-pie Jill Whitlow, a very young David Paymer, and Mama’s Family’s Alan Kayser as our bleached-blonde baddie Brad. (Try saying that quickly five times.)

Making its two-disc high-def Blu-ray debut this year courtesy of Shout! Factory, the Director’s Cut also features the original starship denouement intact. (Ahem. Am I the only one who actually prefers the “possessed pooch” ending?) In addition to two warm and lively commentaries, fans are treated to a plethora of featurettes, some brand new and some ported over from the 2009 DVD release (including a genial 20-miniute sit-down with genre favorite Atkins covering his expansive career).

However, this seems like as good a place as any to address the “Slither ripped off NotC” argument that was all the rage a few years back. Believe it or not, folks, there were creepy slug parasites onscreen long before Dekker put pen to paper (David Cronenberg’s 1975’s Shivers and 1983’s The Deadly Spawn, for starters), and Creeps is just as much an homage/spoof as James Gunn’s 2006 grossanalia. Furthermore, just because a movie came out beforehand doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been seen by every filmmaker before their own cameras started rolling. (Case in point: I missed Creeps myself during its home video heyday, finally catching up on DVD… after I’d seen Slither.) Just a word of caution and courtesy before stones are thrown.

Trivia: Heron’s infamous “I vote for that one,” line is mistakenly subtitled as “I will hunt that one!” (Likewise, Jill’s cries in the woodshed for “Chris! Chris!” are hilariously subbed as “Brad! Brad!”)


“Thrill Me!: The Making of Night of the Creeps” – five-part documentary (ported over from the 2009 DVD release), featuring interviews with writer/director Fred Dekker, actors Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, producer Charles Gordon, special effects artists David B. Miller, Howard Berger, and Robert Kurtzman, animator Todd Masters, editor Michael Knue, and composer Barry De Vorzon. "Birth of the Creeps" (10 min), "Cast of the Creeps" (16 min), "Creating the Creeps" (10 min), "Escape of the Creeps" (12 min), and "Legend of the Creeps" (11 min)

"Tom Atkins: Man Of Action" – retrospective of the beloved character actor’s career (20 min)

Deleted Scenes (8 min)

Theatrical Trailer


NEW Horror's Hallowed Grounds – A look at the film's locations today with host Sean Clark, director Fred Dekker, and actor Jason Lively (11 min)

NEW “Real Good Plan” with actor Jason Lively (11 min)

NEW “The Bradster” with actor Alan Kayser (8 min)

NEW “I Vote For That One” with actor Ken Heron (10 min)

NEW “Worst Coroner Ever” with actor Vic Polizos (7 min)

NEW “Answering The Door” with actress Suzanne Snyder (4 min)

NEW “Final Cut” with editor Michael N. Knue (11 min)

Audio commentary with writer/director Fred Dekker

Audio commentary with actors Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, and Jill Whitlow

Night of the Creeps is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:



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