Night of the Creeps (1986), dir. Fred Dekker, Tristar Pictures
Fred Dekker’s cult classic Night of the Creeps was a slightly different step from most of the other 80’s horror films. Opening with an alien experiment gone awry, we cut to the black and white era of 1959. A young couple head to the make out point when the male decides to investigate said alien experiment that just happened to crash land about twenty yards from his car. Since this is a film made in 80’s, the woman meets her end at the hands (and ax) of an escaped mental patient.
Jumping ahead to the 1980’s, we are introduced to our main cast (note the names). Chris Romero and his best friend J.C. are two luckless losers in college. Chris falls madly in love with Cynthia Cronenburg at a mixer, and decides to pledge to a frat in order to impress her.
Ordered to pull a prank by the head frat boy (who’s dating Cynthia), our heroes end up unleashing hell in the form of the frozen body from the prologue, who now happens to be host to a rather large number alien parasites. Horror and humor occur in equal measure.
At a glance, this seems to be one of the first horror films that poked fun at the rules established in earlier films. The character of Detective Cameron (played to perfection by Tom Atkins) is really something special. As the former boyfriend to the girl killed in the prologue, we see someone whose life stopped for them. We aren’t given any drawn out monologues or characters info dumping us, but a look at the man’s house shows us a perfect picture of someone who never got over 1959. Atkins was an actor who could do world weary with the best of them.
Would I recommend it? I’d say the film has held up rather well, but the humor is a wee bit dated. Thankfully the horror and the humor are equally proportioned, so the film never drags too far in one direction or another. There is a slight grindhouse-ish feel to the film, just lurking under the surface. I found the character of J.C. to be a bit grating at times, but thankfully the film doesn’t focus on him too long
Be careful though, as there are two editions running around. The theatrical one ends with a jump scare, while the TV edit has a resolution.
“The good news is your dates are here.
The bad news is… they’re dead.”