Night of the Creeps (1986)

CreepsNight of the Creeps is one of those horror movies I should have seen twenty-or-so years ago, but just never made the time for. No better opportunity to catch up on decades of missed horror than October, so for Day 17 of 31 Days of Horror we finally gave it a chance. It was a choice I’m glad we made; I only regret it took so long!

The film starts off in the 1950’s. Two hot-and-heavy teens are going at it at the local make-out spot when they see a shooting star touch down in a nearby field. The adventurous boy and his somewhat frightened date drive to the spot to investigate. She decides to stay back, just in time to hear a radio report announcing that a crazed maniac has escaped the local insane asylum! Her date is too busy getting infested by alien bugs to hear her scream as she’s hacked to pieces.

Fast forward to the 1980’s, where only a fraternity-rush prank could resurrect the evil bugs! Chris and JC are two down-on-their-luck college boys. Chris believes he’s found the woman of his dreams in Cynthia, but she’s dating a super-douche. Perhaps he can impress her by joining a fraternity? As is to be expected, the frat boys have no intention of actually letting Chris and JC join, but they decide to have a little fun with them first and challenge them to dump a stolen corpse on a rival fraternity’s front steps. The boys actually get pretty close to accomplishing their goal, but instead of stealing a body from the morgue they release a cryogenically-frozen-and-alien-bug-infested zombie upon the college town.

At first, Detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins) is prepared to slap the boys six ways to Sunday for such a stupid prank, but eventually he learns the boys are legitimately sorry for wreaking all the havoc. When JC falls victim to the spreading alien bug, Chris and Cameron have something in common: revenge. Now that both have lost loved ones to the evil alien zombie beings and they’re going to band together to make sure the alien slugs won’t get away with it! Can they save the town before everyone turns into a Creep?

Night of the Creeps hilariously spoofs every horror movie you’ve ever seen, but not in an unforgiving Scary Movie kind of way: it actually has a cohesive plot with likable characters, and even some respect for the material it is parodying. The make-up and special effects are even pretty good, and there are a few actual scares, too. But, I think it is fair to say that if you’re not a horror fanatic, you can still enjoy Night of the Creeps on the level of a simple horror movie. It is, of course, much better if you’re in on the joke! If you’re not into the genre, you might, for instance, miss that almost every character is named after a famous science fiction or horror director. It’s cute little nods like that that put this movie over the edge from okay to great. Then there is Tom Atkins, who plays the bitter, hard-boiled detective to a tee and delivers his one-liners like no other (those Raymond Chandler novels scattered around his apartment are a nice touch, too)!

I definitely recommend Night of the Creeps to any genre fans who have, like myself, somehow missed it all these years. It certainly isn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, but I’m definitely reserving a spot for it on the short list of good horror-comedies. It lives quite comfortably next to the likes of Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Even if you’re not into horror, it is still a fun ride to go on, and what better time to buy a ticket than Halloween? Actually, its comedic tone might be just right for someone who isn’t into horror at all. So there you have it, a movie for everyone! Check it out!


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