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John’s Horror Corner: Night of the Creeps (1986), bringing you space zombies and infectious brain slugs.

September 3, 2018

MY CALL: Perhaps not a true horror classic, but a cult classic for sure! This is a fun, feisty and energetic 80s horror flick about zombifying space slugs.  MOVIES LIKE Night of the Creeps:
Hmmm… I’d say Slither (2006) and Slugs (1988).

Like The Thing (1982), Lifeforce (1985) and Mosquito (1994), this cult classic posits that our worst maladies would come from intelligent life from outer space when an alien ejects a cannister (for reasons unknown) from his spaceship which finds its way to an unassuming sorority row in 1959 on Earth. The 1950s scenes enjoy a delightfully kitschy black and white pallet complete with timely (if cliché) vernacular and the spaceship scene is a delight.

Our infectious undead outbreak begins when someone finds this cannister (having landed on Earth) and an alien slug-eel-thing launches into his mouth. This creates something of a zombie that serves as a vessel to transport the evil space slugs as they procreate in the brain.

Fast-forward to 1986 when we meet the unpopular Chris (Jason Lively; Brainstorm, National Lampoon’s Vacation) his buddy JC, and Chris’ crush Cynthia (Jill Whitlow; Weird Science). As part of a frat initiation to steal a dead body, Chris and JC stumble across the high-security cadaver of the infected 1950s guy. As we see in The Hidden (1987) and Prince of Darkness (1987), the cadaver awakens and infects its attending scientist (David Paymer; Howard the Duck) with projectile mouth-to-mouth leeches.

Detective Cameron (Tom Atkins; Halloween III, The Fog) handles the case and joins our protagonists, quickly coming to believe their wild story because of his connection to the outbreak when he was a rookie in 1959. Also, watch out for Dick Miller (Gremlins, The Howling, Chopping Mall).

As far as 80s horror goes, this is among the more sincerely written films. The writing cares about its characters and the actors care about the film—and, most importantly, it all shows. The special effects hold up as well! These hokey leech-things erupt from our 1959 zombie and wriggle at top speeds, they make one Hell of a zombie cat and a cute zombie dog, and they’re actually pretty fun to watch as they stop-motion-scuttle across the ground. We also enjoy a zombie axe-murderer, lots of sluggy leeches spewing forth from ruptured heads, and massively chunky head wounds. It’s every bit as amusing as I recalled from my last viewing (decades ago).

Director and writer Fred Dekker (Monster Squad, RoboCop 3) delivers an unusual alternative zombie movie. This film is playful, entertaining and energetic. I can see how it holds such a cult status, but a true horror classic it is not. The characters are great, the effects are decent, and the premise is fun.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2018 8:02 pm

    I love Night of The Creeps!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 4, 2018 7:01 am

      It has such a unique charm to it.

  2. September 6, 2018 9:09 am

    Saw it in the theater. A crowd pleaser.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 6, 2018 10:15 am

      I can imagine! It’s pretty dynamic and has great characters.

      • September 6, 2018 10:00 pm

        I think it would pair well with Fright Night. Both light, funny, and fast paced with plenty of 80s-style FX and pride in being horror films.

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