Monday, April 03, 2006


When talking about the recent horror flick SLITHER more than one person I know has made reference to Fred Dekker's 1986 classic NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. One friend even went so far as to call SLITHER a "CREEPS for the new millenium," which is hardly faint praise in this household.

So that got me thinking... "Where the f**k is a NIGHT OF THE CREEPS DVD?"

The flick has a healthy cult following and a special edition DVD could bring together the original ending as well as the ending used for the television version. (I caught this on USA Network one night at about 3 AM and when the alternate ending started unspooling I thought the Creeps had jumped into my mouth and done something nasty to my brain!) Sure, I've got a bootleg I picked up at a horror film convention a couple years ago, but I might as well have a copy of the VHS for all the good that does me.

Plus, shouldn't we be capturing as many commentaries as possible from Tom Atkins while the guy's still around? And what could Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow and Steve Marshall possibly be doing that would prevent them from participating? Dinner theatre? Coaching their kids' T-Ball teams?

"What's so great about CREEPS" you ask? Frankly, I shudder to think that there are people out there who haven't experienced this fun and twisted horror comedy for themselves.

Unfortunately, I've never even seen CREEPS on the big screen. It came out in the last half of the 1980s, when the last gasp of exploitation's Golden Era was being snuffed out. In fact, when I originally reviewed the VHS back in the summer of 1987, I complained that it, like Stuart Gordon's FROM BEYOND, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS never even made it to Philadelphia theaters. 20 years later neither film has had an official DVD release, though at least there's talk of something happening with FROM BEYOND.

Dekker, who cranked out the script for New World's HOUSE (starring William Katt) and supposedly wrote several drafts for an on-again/off-again remake of GODZILLA, wrote and directed this fiendish tale of wormlike creatures that are brought to earth in 1959 only to be re-released in 1986 on the campus of Corman University.

Even back then, CREEPS impressed me because it was a remarkably layered flick for a low-budget screamer about slugs that crawl into your brain and turn you into a zombie. Of the flicks from that era, CREEPS stands head and shoulders above the pack, occupying the same rare air as RE-ANIMATOR, DAY OF THE DEAD, Cronenberg's remake of THE FLY, and the aforementioned FROM BEYOND.

The film's pre-credit opening set in 1959 is brilliantly devised and executed. The actors all look about five to ten years older than their characters should be, and the acting recalls some of the great 50s sci-fi flicks about kids in Buicks battling space slime from beyond our galaxy.

Once it's kicked into the present day (or what was present day in 1986), CREEPS focuses on our heroes -- Chris Romero, Cynthia Cronenberg, J.C. Hooper, and Detective Ray Cameron -- as they battle the titular creeps, not to mention think about suicide, have disturbing visions, come up against fascist frat thugs, and confront their own personal demons.

Deep? Not really, but NIGHT OF THE CREEPS somehow pulls off its delicate blend of tough-cop film-noir homage, kick-in-the-head horror, laugh-out-loud comedy, and even some surprisingly sweet relationship stuff.

So, again I ask, "Where the f**k is a DVD?!"

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

Amen to that ... "Creeps" is a masterpiece, and while "Slither" isn't quite its match, it is a goofy and great movie .. very fun