Night of the Creeps (1986) starring Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins, Wally Taylor, Bruce Solomon, Vic Polizos, Allan Kayser, David Paymer directed by Fred Dekker Movie Review

Night of the Creeps (1986)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jason Lively and Steve Marshall in Night of the Creeps (1986)

Creeps & Slithers

In 1959 a test tube jettisoned from an alien space ship tumbles to earth where it infects a teenager on sorority row. 27 years later friends Chris (Jason Lively) and J.C. (Steve Marshall) have to find a corpse as part of their fraternity initiation test during pledge week as Chris wants to join the fraternity to impress Cynthia (Jill Whitlow). But instead of finding corpse they release the cryogenically frozen teenager from 1959 and all hells breaks out as students become infected with an alien bug which turns them in to zombies. It leads to Det. Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins) being called in to investigate having been involved in the case back in 1959.

Before we had "Scream" which poked fun at the horror movies of the 80s we had the 80s movie "Night of the Creeps" which in turn poked fun at the horror movies of the 60s and 70s but at the same time poked fun at other movies including those of John Hughes. Now to put that in to context without giving too much away we have the opening from 1959 which is in black & white where we have peachy clean teenagers driving up to make out point before something shoots through the sky above them. It is only a few scenes but done in an over the top cheesy manner which makes you laugh, that actually comes after what I can only describe as a scene involving alien jelly babies.

Jill Whitlow in Night of the Creeps (1986)

But when we get to 1986 we meet Chris and J.C. which Chris not only passing off for Eric Stoltz but we are treated to scenes right out of the John Hughes playbook as Chris sees Cynthia an absolute babe and the camera focuses on her in slow motion. Of course you need to be aware of the movie types which it is poking fun at but it chooses easily recognizable targets so that you can pick up on the intention even if you can't pinpoint the exact movies which it is pastiching.

But "Night of the Creeps" is not just about the fun of recognizing its movie influences as it also has the horror side of things and there is plenty of gore and a few jump moments. But again much of the horror is played for laughs rather than to scare the shit out of you and again some of the horror is comical homages to older horror movies which works again even if you don't know exactly which horror movie it is having fun with.

But here is the thing about "Night of the Creeps" as whilst it wears b-movie as a badge of honour it feels even tackier than some b-movies which were trying to be good. I don't know what it is as to my knowledge "Night of the Creeps" had reasonable money spent on it and the sets as well as effects are not terrible. But there is something amateurish about it when it comes to the acting. It spoils things slightly as Jason Lively and Steve Marshall are well cast as John Hughes like characters but in a horror movie except the chemistry between them often feels awkward.

What this all boils down to is that "Night of the Creeps" is a lot of fun be it from being intentionally b-movie to all the horror movies and teen movies it draws upon for its humour. But whilst entertaining it does feel awkward and lacks a bit of polish to make scenes smoother.

Tags: Zombie Movies