Take one part Slither, and one part Night of the Living Dead, mix them together, and you get Fred Dekker‘s 1986 horror/comedy “Night of the Creeps“. This one has a few recognizable actors, Jason Lively hot off of his performance in National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Tom Atkins (Maniac Cop, Halloween III), Allan Kayser (Mama’s Family!) and a short appearance by character actor David Paymer.
The movie starts out 25 years in the past with an alien ship that launches a capsule with a lethal slug towards Earth. The slug eventually breaks out of it’s capsule and burrows itself into a human host’s brain, where it gestates. Fast forward to 1986 where Chris and J.C. are two nerdy college kids that are just trying to get laid. Chris sees the girl of his dreams and is convinced that if he joins a frat, she’ll be impressed enough to go after him. The frat requires Chris and J.C. perform a prank – dumping a cadaver on a rival fraternity’s front steps. They come across the frozen body of the human host from 25 years previous and accidentally release him from cryogenic stasis, and into the world. That’s when the grizzled detective, Ray Cameron comes in, and things start to get interesting.
This one starts out as a typical 80’s teen sex comedy, but once the zombies start showing up, you know this is something special. The campy stereotypical detective fits perfectly in this movie, because while it doesn’t have any real laugh out loud moments, it never takes itself seriously. It moves pretty seamlessly from a teen comedy to a horror movie without going over the top, and that’s saying quite a bit, as most movies in this genre aren’t able to pull that off. Don’t forget, this is an 80’s teen movie, so some gratuitous T&A are thrown in for good measure.
I loved Slither, and they must have gotten some inspiration for the slug idea at least a little from Night of the Creeps. The special effects aren’t the best I’ve seen, but I’m a fan of exploding heads, and this one is is full of them at the end… And that’s where my only complaint comes in. The dense zombie action doesn’t happen until the very end, and by the time it starts, there’s not much time left in the movie for it to really bloom. Alas, it was the 80’s and these types of movies didn’t go on for very long, so it does it’s job in the allotted time. If the movie was extended only 10 – 15 more minutes, this could have really been a masterpiece.
This one has been showing on Showtime recently, so if you’re up at 4am and have nothing else to do and can’t fall asleep, or you have a DVR, give it a watch, it’s a pretty good one.