Features

Night Of The Creeps
by: -RoG-

There are many amazing horror films from yesteryear that, for some inexplicable reason, still haven't been released on DVD. Last year, I reviewed the unsung classic "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" and it hadn't been slated for a any kind of a DVD release at the time. A few months later, I received word that it would indeed be coming to DVD after all. It's clear to me now that, simply because I reviewed the film, it's going to be re-released. Sure, you could write it off as a mere coincidence, but the fact is, I and I alone determine what classic horror movies get the DVD treatment. Why? Because the world revolves around me.

It's with that in mind that I am reviewing the one horror movie that absolutely baffles my mind as to why it has never been released on DVD after all these years: Night of the Creeps. In the same vein as Slugs, it's a perfect blend of horror and comedy, and there's honestly no reason whatsoever that this cult movie shouldn't be more readily available to all the fans out there. So let's take a look back at this horror-comedy gem from 1986, and maybe it will remind people just how much fun this film is and why it needs to be released again.

It begins in outer space on some spaceship where we find an alien resembling an overgrown fetus running through the dark corridors of the ship with a canister in his hands. He's being chased and shot at by two other angry naked baby aliens who are trying to prevent him from ejecting the canister (containing some sort of scientific experiment) from the ship. Before they can blast the hatch, the canister is jettisoned out and headed straight for planet earth. While it's never explained why that one alien wanted to get the canister off the ship, seeing angry naked alien babies shooting lasers at another angry naked alien baby is one hell of a way to start off a movie.

Cut to sorority row way back in 1959, writer/director Fred Dekker takes us through all of the classic scenes you'd expect from this period in time (in black & white no less). A beautiful girl (Pam) in a poodle skirt being beckoned to her window as her boyfriend (Johnny) throws pebbles at it, a romantic evening at make-out point in a fancy classic car looking up at the stars, a meteorite flying right over their heads, and a warning on the radio about how an axe-wielding lunatic recently escaped from the local mental ward. Oh the fun I missed out on having not been born in the 50s.

Curiosity gets the best of Johnny when that meteorite passes over their heads, so he drives the car to near the crash site. He tells Pam to wait in the car while he goes to investigate the situation...

 

Pam hears another announcement on the radio about how the escaped lunatic is headed in their general direction and calls out for Johnny. Sorry Pam, but Johnny has just made one heck of a scientific discovery. Golly! Say, wait a minute! That's no meteorite at all! It's the canister that the angry naked baby alien shot out from his spacecraft! He leans in for a closer look at whatever is sloshing around inside the canister, when all of a sudden, one of the creatures (er, Creeps) bursts through the container and flies directly into his mouth! Mmmm, beefy!

Pam continues to call for Johnny, but he's a bit preoccupied at the moment... what with an alien experiment coursing its way through his innards 'n all. But don't worry Pam, there's another special guy who's decided to come keep you company!

Yep, that very same axe-wielding maniac that was mentioned on the radio is sneaking up right behind her and just as his axe is about to chop her pretty lil' head off, the film cuts to the same college campus in 1986 during pledge week. Christopher Romero (Jason Lively, who I will forever remember as "Rusty" from National Lampoon's European Vacation) and his best friend & roommate, James Carpenter 'J.C.' Hooper (Steve Marshall), are having a philosophical discussion about scoring some major league babes. Chris obviously doesn't have the confidence that his handicapped friend has, because he's positive that they're both "lameoids" and their grandparents have sex more often than they do. While J.C. tries to dispute this, his words fall on deaf ears, for Chris has just spotted Cynthia (Jill Whitlow) Cronenberg, the most beautiful girl in school. She makes her way into the Beta's frat house, so Chris and J.C. bravely follow her inside.

Fun factoid: the last names of many of the characters in Night of the Creeps are tributes to some of Dekker's favorite directors such as John Carpenter, George Romero, David Cronenberg, Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi, John Landis and James Cameron. The students in the film are also attending Corman University, a nod to Roger Corman.

J.C. decides to help his friend out since Chris is far too timid to just go up and talk to her. It's at this point that we are introduced to one of the finest on-screen portrayals of the "dumb jock" stereotype in the form of Steve, the football playing bozo with an impeccable unibrow. Seriously, have you ever seen a finer testament to oafishness than unibrow Steve? I think not my friends... I think not. After tricking Steve to go away for a while, J.C. attempts to introduce Cynthia to his pal, but Chris panics and accidentally spills bear all over another guy. Way to make a lasting first impression there, Chris. Lameoid indeed.

Afterwards, Chris talks with J.C. and tries to convince him that they need to join the Beta fraternity if he's going to have a chance at winning over Cynthia. J.C. thinks Chris should just try talkin to her instead, but Chris already has his mind made up. You know, Chris may be the leading man, but it's clear from the first time we meet him that J.C. is the one with his head on straight in this film.

We then get introduced to the head of the Beta frat, one of my all-time favorite movie assholes, Brad (Allan Keyser). Brad is the physical embodiment of everything that is snobbish and douchebagish in a human. From his perfectly sculpted hair, to his preppy attire, to his holier than thou attitude, to the future corporate suck-ups that he keeps in his company at all times... Brad is exactly what every successful horror movie absolutely must have: a character you simply love to hate. What I never realized until now is that Brad was portrayed by the same guy who played the bumbling "Bubba Higgins" on the old Southern comedy TV series, Mama's Family. Wow... that guy sure has some range.

Brad informs the two that they already have most of the guys they need on their roster, so Chris and J.C. will have to perform some "act of devotion" to prove how sincere they are about wanting to join the frat. After the two leave, Brad confirms to his frat brothers that even if those two manage to pull off the task, he's still going to let them join the frat. It's then that we get yet another reason to hate Brad... he's currently dating Cynthia. She may be a looker, but if she's dating Brad she's clearly not the brightest bulb on campus. Perhaps Chris should set his sights a little higher? No, this is a horror movie and logical thinking of that nature has absolutely no place here.

Next, we find a young scientist (David Paymer, who's played his fair share of doctors and scientists during his career) trying to enter his lab, but he can't remember the security code for his door so he leaves to call one of his assistants. Naturally, this gives Chris and J.C. the perfect chance to enter the lab in order to complete their special task in hopes of joining the Betas. While the scientist couldn't remember the code, J.C. pushes just a button on the keypad and voila! They're in. Once inside, they flip on the lights and see the cryogenically frozen corpse of Johnny (the kid from 1959 who swallowed one of the Creeps at the beginning of the movie) standing before them in a sealed refrigeration unit.

Since their task is to find a corpse and leave it on the front steps of a rival fraternity, and there are no other stiffs in sight, they disengage the cryogenic unit and start to drag away Johnny's corpse. Only thing is, Johnny isn't exactly dead, he's just been frozen all these years and when he grabs Christopher's wrist, the two of them run outta there in the blink of an eye.

 

Then our dashing young scientist returns and finds Johnny's body lying on the lab floor. When he approaches him, Johnny grabs his neck and spits out a creep right into the scientist's throat. Swell prank, Johnny!

Back in their dorm room, J.C. goes on a long-winded rant about how Chris is always getting depressed and how he just wants him to be happy. "If you weren't such an asshole, even girls might like you." They then have a pillow fight. Yep, men in college having a pillow fight. I think I've discovered the root of their problems. They shouldn't be pledging for a fraternity, they should be pledging for a sorority instead. Problem solved!

Now we cut to a dream sequence in which Detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins, who also starred in one of my favorite horror movies, Halloween III: Season of the Witch) is having a nice dream about sitting on the beach and drinking from a coconut while a beautiful maiden emerges from the water.

 

All is going well in the dream until Ray finds himself back in 1959 in his old cop uniform. You see, he actually dated Pam back then and has been haunted all these years by the memories of what happened that night.

He approaches the car where her body was found and we see that same axe-wielding maniac still hacking away at her. Ray goes to shoot him but quickly realizes that the maniac is now a zombie. But wait! It was all just a dream right? Maybe it was... or maybe... just maaaaaybe... it was foreshadowing. OoooOoooOOOooOoooooo!!!

But for now, the dream is over and he's just been called in to cover the case of the break-in at the experimental university lab where the body of that scientist was recently found. Before we move on, let me just say that Detective Cameron is the true star of this film. He's got attitude, he's got more one-liners than you can shake a stick at and he's got a catchphrase that I still believe needs to find its way into our day-to-day vernacular. "Thrill Me." As far as I'm concerned, this simple phrase is the backbone of this entire movie and ranks right up there with any of your favorite quotes from other films such as Evil Dead.

Within a span of less than a minute, he says "Thrill Me" twice, along with introducing himself as Bozo the Clown when somebody asks him if he is indeed Detective Cameron. After chewing out the other officers for sloppy work since one of the two corpses (Johnny's body) is missing from the crime scene, he explains that dead bodies don't just get up and go for a walk. Oh how wrong he is.

The film then cuts to Brad dropping off Cynthia at her sorority house as he explains how he's running late for some pledge humiliation. To add to the "love to hate him" fun, Brad's license plate actually reads "BRADSTER" and includes a novelty "It isn't easy being perfect" cover. This Brad fella just keeps getting better.

Back inside the house, one of Cynthia's sorority sisters asks if she can store some jars containing human brains in their basement. She explains that the brains are to be dissected for their biology class next week. We've already seen a few zombies in the movie, including Johnny who just got up and walked right out of that experimental lab, and now they want to store human brains in the basement of a sorority house? Mr. Fred Dekker, from one writer to another, I salute you.

Cynthia then makes her way up to her room and is clearly already having second thoughts about her relationship with Brad... er... the Bradster while the reanimated body of Johnny creeps ever closer to the sorority house. We're teased a bit at first as a sorority sister downstairs is studying and hears something at the door, but it only turns out to be her cat. It's a black cat, at least.

Turns out that Johnny was making his way up to Cynthia's bedroom window and we see a bunch of the leech-like Creeps spurt out of his forehead. I should note that he brought a flower for her before the Creeps spilled out of him. Even zombies like a little romance before attacking their victims.

 

The Creeps then fall down to the ground below and make their way into the basement of the house. Say, wasn't there something important stored in the basement? Hmmm, I can't remember. Oh well, I'm sure it was nothing...

There's still more madness to Night of the Creeps!
Click here to continue onward to page 2!

 

Reader Comments

Big In Japan
Oct 22nd, 2008, 06:27 AM
Hmmm, sounds a lot like a (somewhat) modern movie called "slither", which also revolves around an alien crashing, evil alien slugs, zombies and the like.

Probably based on this or something.
Forum Virgin
Oct 22nd, 2008, 07:17 AM
Great review, i never knew there was an alternate ending. Let us know if you need us to petition to get this little gem on DVD. oh and feel free to use the spellchecker, i guess you must've been up late writing this review. Get some rest, you've earned it!!!
Using Ninjitsu of Fushin
Oct 22nd, 2008, 08:09 AM
Tom Atkins rules, I love him in maniac cop what a classic!!
Ringmonster
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:13 AM
I love Night of the Creeps. But the best thing about Night of the Creeps is that it gave its director enough credit to make The Monster Squad.
Last of the Time Lords
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:29 AM
A true underrated classic. I love this flick.
Cell Regenerated Deadite
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:48 AM
Excellent review! Still love Tom Atkins from Halloween 3.

Can you guys please review a couple of other 1980s classics: Waxwork or perhaps Terror Train?
Forum Virgin
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:52 AM
I think the alien fetus that shot the canister out was also possessed by the slugs. I think he had blank eyes like most of the "zombies" in this film have, and he was getting the slugs off the ship to infest other planets.

This film is classic. And I prefer the alternate ending with Atkins walking away and infesting a graveyard (could this be the unofficial prequel to Night of the Living Dead?!) than the dog infecting Cynthia. That dog should have so been dead by the end of the flick.
Forum Virgin
Oct 22nd, 2008, 11:39 AM
Man, I have only seen the real ending once, every time I have caught this movie it was the zombie dog ending for me! THis was recently shown as a midnight movie here in NYC, but sadly, I missed it. I have been praying for it to hit DVD for years now!
after enough bourbon ...
Oct 22nd, 2008, 02:17 PM
Reminds me a little of "The Faculty". Good review, good cheese.

Thrill me.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Oct 22nd, 2008, 02:58 PM
It's Miller time!

Loved this movie when I saw it on late night TV (which was far too long ago), and I keep hoping for a DVD release of it. Great choice of review, and completely right on Detective Cameron; he's the man, no doubt about it.

Also, the ending I saw was the graveyard one, and while I also keep reading that it's the alternate ending, since it seems so common the dog one seems more like an actual alternate ending.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Oct 22nd, 2008, 02:59 PM
Also, I second Spinal's request for a Terror Train review (or I'll just have to wait patiently for a People Under the Stairs review).
Can't touch this
Oct 22nd, 2008, 03:10 PM
How about a review of "Elmo in Grouchland"? I know it's not a 'traditional' horror film, but it scares the SHIT out of me!
Riot Control
Oct 22nd, 2008, 05:45 PM
Never trust those leeches. They are pure hell.
Tony Wonder
Oct 22nd, 2008, 09:27 PM
When a cop pulls a Rorschach on some dead-heads, you know you're seeing something special.
Fake Shemp
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:38 PM
Screaming like Banshees....hahaha...

Love this movie. Slither was okay - but this was so much better. Maybe because of Tom "Thrill Me" Atkins...maybe because it's so cheesy...maybe because of the Screaming Like Banshees...maybe all of the above.

Awesome review RoG
Eating angry potatos.
Oct 23rd, 2008, 12:34 AM
I can't be the only one who noticed that "cryogenic boy" had no genitals.....

The slugs ate them perhaps?
Former Virgin
Oct 23rd, 2008, 12:55 AM
Oh yes! I forgot all about this movie! JC should have lived to fight again another day. I remember thinking how much it sucked that he died so early in the movie.
Member
Oct 23rd, 2008, 01:15 AM
Euw... It's like Yeerks gone bad. Or worse, rather.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Oct 23rd, 2008, 01:44 AM
I found this film online a couple of years ago and saw it.
It was undoubtedly one of the best films of this style Ive seen to date.
Smooth Operator
Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:40 AM
I just read this on Wikipedia(so who knows if it's really true or not),"DVD producer Michael Felsher is currently working on the Night of the Creeps dvd."
I haven't seen this flick in ages, but I do remember it having the spaceship ending.
drifting in the void
Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:56 AM
Another great classic that I have never seen...I am so uneducated. But I already bought Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter Thanks for telling me such a nice little flick exists
Retardedly Handsome
Oct 23rd, 2008, 01:57 PM
I caught this on On-Demand about a month or so ago. Good flick, Unfortunately I don't know what ending it had because I'm a sucker and fell asleep. I'll have to check it out though.
The Wolf
Oct 23rd, 2008, 06:58 PM
Seeing this tomorrow night on a theater screen. You can all lick my balls.
Pickled Patriarch
Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:24 PM
Hey Zomboid:


You can lick mine first.
Fake Shemp
Oct 23rd, 2008, 09:11 PM
lol pwned


but I saw it on the big screen when it came out....does that count?
pickled
Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:58 PM
Zomboid just got owned.
Turrican't. :(
Oct 24th, 2008, 09:36 AM
Why this never came out on DVD is beyond me because this is the BEST HORROR MOVIE EVER. I love it so much. <3 <3 <3
☆☆☆☆☆
Oct 24th, 2008, 04:13 PM
MORE TALK ABOUT ZOMBOID GETTING HIS ASS HANDED TO HIM!
Forum Virgin
Oct 24th, 2008, 04:41 PM
I saw this movie when it came out on video ages and ages ago, when I was still in grade school. I remember going to bed that night and not having any problems, then waking up in the middle of the night when my mom was watching the old Starman TV series (she taped all the episodes). After I went back to sleep, had a nightmare about the zombie axe murderer.

The only ending I've ever seen was the dog one, never have had the pleasure of the UFO ending. From what I read, the studio wanted a jumper ending, so that's where the dog came from.
The Wolf
Oct 24th, 2008, 04:51 PM
ROG, DID THAT SCREENING ALSO INCLUDE TOKYO GORE POLICE, PHANTASM, AND MY NAME IS BRUCE? NO? OH OK. 'CAUSE MINE DOES.

I WILL lick your balls if ya want though.
Member
Oct 24th, 2008, 07:32 PM
It's cool Zomboid, I like to make shit up, too
The Wolf
Oct 24th, 2008, 07:55 PM
http://www.deadmonton.net/movie-show-times.html

Oh yeah, I forgot I'm posting in the -RoG- fan club section of the forums
Sam Sam is offline
The Unicorn
Oct 24th, 2008, 08:33 PM
HEY ZOMBOID WHAT DID YOU LIKE MAKE THAT WEBSITE UP LAST MINUTE WITH SOME HTML? GIVE IT UP MAN, YOU GOT PWNT.
SKATASTIC
Oct 24th, 2008, 09:45 PM
I want to live in Deadmonton.


I actually liked Slither more than Night of the Creeps.
☆☆☆☆☆
Oct 24th, 2008, 10:49 PM
If only it wasn't a made up rouse to try to save face.
Vigilante All-Star
Oct 25th, 2008, 05:09 AM
My mom has this movie on tape...but the ending I saw was the dog one...I didn't even know there was a graveyard ending...damn...
Cute Little Gnome
Oct 25th, 2008, 11:22 AM
i have been praying for this movie to hit DVD for almost 8 years now, i never got ahold of it on VHS, and it was one of the first true horror movies i ever watched as a kid (that and C.H.U.D.) but if they would just release it on DVD already id be happy as hell.. it dont even gotta look fancy like monster squad does, just put it out already come on!... hope your review works RoG... if skywalker can blow up a deathstar im sure you can get a classic horror movie released on DVD!
Former Virgin
Oct 25th, 2008, 12:16 PM
I checked with my local horror movie geeks (union # 124). They both said they've never seen the ufo/grave yard ending. Now they're all hot and bothered cause it was a factoid they didn't know about.
Good for you RoG, you've out horror movie nerded my horror movie nerds!
Forum Virgin
Oct 27th, 2008, 02:37 AM
Weird, I've had this on DVD for a while.
I hate this hacker crap!
Oct 29th, 2008, 06:37 PM
I'm most pleased with this.

e: I've never seen the graveyard ending.
good fer what ails ye.
Nov 2nd, 2008, 01:06 PM
Rog, have you seen "UNDEAD"? Cuz it also involves zombies, aliens, and a totally cool zombie-hunting farmer, who in my mind is totally among the ranks of Det. Cameron.
Cute Little Gnome
Nov 11th, 2008, 11:08 AM
samuraikitten, you probably got a knockoff/bootleg
im hoping that the official DVD has alot of extras!
Member
Nov 29th, 2008, 08:48 PM
How cool is this movie ,I remember seeing this movie on HBO back in the eighties.But this movie I digress like you said has good scares great actors like Tom Atkins and awesome one liners definately deserves to be on DVD.
Cute Little Gnome
Jul 12th, 2009, 06:16 AM
im commenting almost a year later now to inform everyone that night of the creeps is INDEED coming to the DVD soon! check amazon.com you can even vote for which cover you think it should have. i voted for cover number 1, and it is winning at the moment. so RoG and all you other awesome guys need to go check it out ASAP
Cute Little Gnome
Jul 12th, 2009, 06:19 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Night-Creeps-J...-wl_item-added is the link, i forgot to include it.. sorry, that should help anyone who needs to look at it without having to search around on amazon for a non pirated copy
Forum Virgin
Jul 22nd, 2009, 05:21 PM
I got a notice from Sony saying they are making a Director's Cut DVD and Blu-Ray version of this movie premiering and San Diego Comic-Con
The #1 My Little Pony
Sep 2nd, 2009, 11:02 AM
I have always loved this movie and I was so happy to see it FINALLY come out on DVD!
King of the Boomstick
Nov 25th, 2009, 04:42 PM
hey..this movie was at wal mart on dvd a week back.
sadomasochist
Sep 24th, 2010, 07:15 PM
lol tom atkins
soon to be internet icon
Oct 12th, 2013, 02:42 PM
Whenever I watched it on Syfy, it had the dog ending. But the movie channels had the cemetery, and I thought that ending was the better payoff. I just watched it last night, so mere words cannot describe how awesome this movie was. My brother and I were commenting on the 1980's horror cliches: such as the prettiest girl gets it first, the jerk boyfriend is always blonde and named Brad, and the cops always show up late.

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