Growing old gracefully… That doesn’t seem to happen any more these days. Everyone wants to get some kind of surgery for this, or get some kind of injection for that. Millions of doses of Botox are given each year just to make people feel younger and therefore better about themselves. Lynn Roman (Bobbie Bresee) doesn’t want to be one of those people. As a Hollywood actress, she just wants to stay working in an industry that doesn’t see her age as an asset.
Just a few short years ago was on top of the world. Now, she’s reached the age where they don’t want her for the leads, they want her to play the lead’s mother! When she’s approached by a mysterious woman touting the effects of a age serum, and at first she’s reluctant. Needless to say there wouldn’t be much of a movie if she didn’t slowly become enticed by the promised effects. Her fears of this serum are put at ease when she learns that the serum is the work of Dr. Zietman (played by a near death John Carradine), a world renown doctor of skin disease. Lynn figures she doesn’t have much to lose – her boyfriend already loves her, and she isn’t getting much work looking the way she does. Little does she know her boyfriend is really off cheating on her, and the serum actually transforms her into a giant insect-like killer!
The main story of Evil Spawn is the quest for an a woman to keep her good looks from slipping through her fingers like grains of sand through an hourglass. Bobbie Bresee is a beautiful woman in who was 37 at the time, and I can guarantee that while I wouldn’t be pushing her out of bed anytime soon, she surely wouldn’t pass for someone in their 20’s, so it was believable that she could be a woman looking for something to slow down the ticking hands of the clock. The way that she actually gets the serum is ridiculous and is very throw away to the story. Basically this footage of Carradine that was going to be used for multiple generic projects was thrown in to try to help explain it’s origin. Carradine rambles on for a good 3 minutes looking like he’s at the brink of death the entire time. When his character actually dies in the movie, I was afraid that he wasn’t acting. When the character that delivers the serum for some unknown reason also dies suddenly, it becomes very apparent that this movie is going to be less about story and more about what really matters – the killing.
The real star of the show is the monster that Lynn transforms into. You get a lot of flashing of sharp teeth, and a lot of flashes of her eyes, but when Lynn fully morphs into the creature, it just looks like someone in a rubber fly suit. The “monster” would have been a lot better off if they would have used the forms Lynn took in between her normal self and the freaky insect look. Those looks were used to some pretty good effect early in the movie, but when you finally get to see that huge rubber suit, the whole thing looks cheap and laughable.
Evil Spawn would be used again in a recut done with more Fred Olen Ray footage and be later known as Alien Within, which differs slightly from the cut that I’m reviewing here. Maybe that cut made a little more sense, and maybe it had a little more to do with the spacecraft footage at the beginning of the film that I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. I think that’s where a lot of the philosophical waxing of John Carradine came in, but by the time this film was over, it didn’t make much sense to me regardless. I thought the film would have some potential after the first 15 minutes where a guy got turned into a zombie who proceeded to rip another guy’s arm off who was looking for his girlfriend’s lost cat. That zombie got crushed by a jeep, and that excitement ended with him. At this point I also want to point out that I have a theory that whenever a film’s opening credits last more than 5 minutes with the director and multiple producers and actors credits roll past before the story gets started, you’re probably in for a bumpy ride. While Evil Spawn was just another film that helped bring me closer to proving that theory, it was a passable bit of trashy drive-in shlock, and hey – I did get to see Bresee and her assistant’s boobs (of which the latter are pretty damned nice.) Evil Spawn is worth 2 six-eyed rubber rats out of 5.