As I have said I have said a ton of times on this website horror comedies are hard. Many times they end up being neither comedic or horrible but sometimes you find the perfect blend and Night of the Creeps is that movie plus even better it’s from the 80’s!
Written and directed by Fred Dekker who not only scripted House and House II but also wrote and directed the Monster Squad the film is a love letter to B Movie horror and Sci-Fi from the flying saucer pictures of the 50’s to the zombie movies of the 70’s and much, much more.
Insanely opening onboard a space ship filled with putrid pint sized extraterrestrials blasting each other we see one escape in a pod and head down to Earth before the whole film goes into black and white and we enter Sorority Row circa 1959.
As a ton of traditional clichés play out it transpires one unlucky boy gets infected with alien DNA but before we know what’s happening we jump forward in full colour to the same location during Pledge Week 1986 to meet the main characters of the movie Chris Romero (Jason Lively) and his disabled pal James Carpenter Hooper (Steve Marshall) also known as J.C.
Unlucky in life and love the hapless pair seemed doomed to remain uncool throughout their time in collage that is until Chris decides they will try and get into a fraternity, all to impress the girl of his dreams Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow).
Dared to steal a dead body and dump it on another frat house’s front steps by some douche bag boys the less than heroic pair head to a the medical facility where they find the cryogenically frozen body of the guy infected back in the 50’s and mistakenly defrost it bringing it back to life.
Running screaming from the scene the duo don’t notice the freaky figure kill a med student and walk off back to the sorority house of its former flame where its head splits open releasing intergalactic slugs all over the lawn which slime off to infect more unsuspecting innocents.
The next day world weary detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins from The Fog and Escape from New York) is assigned to the case of the missing corpse unaware that a plague of space slugs has now started to take over the student body literally. His investigation not only leads him to Chris, Cynthia and J.C but also brings back pain from his past and soon the foursome are in a fight for their lives against the killer creeps.
Blazing along from the beginning the great blend of 80’s teen comedy and gore filled horror works wonderfully well and the scrip packs in some great one liners mainly from J.C who is both the comedic relief and the most tragic character of the piece. It is in moments such as his infection that Night of the Creeps excels not afraid to play things deadly serious as well as for laughs given the movie all the more power.
Horror wise there are some genuinely unsettling moments and brilliant effects that still look great today. With plenty of standout scenes and scares one of the best comes from the backstory of Tom Atkins grizzled cop which links the past to the present and offers up the opportunity for a masterful moment where an undead axe murderer chops his way up through an old lady’s floorboards looking for revenge.
Paying homage to a bunch of movies and directors (as shown by the second names of all the characters) Fred Dekker shies away from puerile parody opting for more respectful tributes while still bringing his own brand of horror to the fore displayed expertly in the all action ending.
Out now from Eureka Entertainment in a high-definition remaster of the director’s cut the Blu-ray is filled to the brim with excellent extras including two audio commentaries one from Fred Dekker and the other from actors Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow as well as interviews, featurettes and an hour-long series of video pieces on the making of the film entitled Thrill Me: Making Night of the Creeps.
A cracking horror comedy with more than enough of both to keep everyone entertained Night of the Creeps shows other movies how it’s done when it comes to combining genre’s and paying tribute while still delivering a fresh and fantastic film.