NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
(director/writer: Fred Dekker; cinematographer: Robert C. New; editor: Michael Knue; music: Barry DeVorzon; cast: Jason Lively (Chris Romero), Steve Marshall (J. C. Hooper), Jill Whitlow (Cindy Cronenberg), Tom Atkins (Det. Ray Cameron), Alice Cardigan (Pam), Wally Taylor (Det. Landis), Bruce Solomon (Sgt. Raimi), Vic Polizos (Coroner), Allan Kayser (Brad), Ken Heron (Johnny), Dick Miller (Walt), David Paymer (Young Scientist), Shane Black (Cop at Police Station), Robert Kurtzman (Beta Zombie), Howard Berger (Beta Zombie); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Charles Gordon; Tri-Star Pictures; 1986)
“Cheesy sci-fi/horror/comedy set on a college campus.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Fred Dekker(“RoboCop3″/”The Monster Squad”/”House”), in his directorial debut, writes and directs this low-budget cheesy sci-fi/horror/comedy set on a college campus, that has background songs by Paul Anka and The Platters. The youth flick gained cult status from video release and cable after its theater release flop, but never soars as a classic horror pic as its satire goes nowhere when endlessly bringing back movie clichés without developing this story.
Nerds J. C. Hooper (Steve Marshall) and Chris Romero (Jason Lively) are best college buds. The brash J.C., on crutches, helps the lovesick timid Chris try to win the heartthrob sorority girl Cindy Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow) by agreeing that both lads will be frat pledges, which seems the best way to impress the sweetie. The arrogant Beta frat jock leader Brad (Allan Kayser), Cindy’s boyfriend, tells the boys that they will be allowed to pledge if as a prank they place a corpse in front of the frat house. The boys break-into the campus medical facility and steal a corpse that has been frozen for 27 years, since 1959. That also releases slugs from the corpse, that if they get in the mouth of its host lay eggs in the brain and incubate. The host bodies, of course, become zombies, and go on killing sprees.
Crusty, wisecracking veteran detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins) investigates the missing corpse. In the back story we learn that his ex-girlfriend Pam (Alice Cardigan) was beheaded with an ax by an escaped serial killer lunatic from the mental asylum and that her boyfriend Johnny (Ken Heron) saw something bright crash in the woods and is killed when on the same night he stumbles upon an alien space-craft that unloads a parasitic slug in his mouth. This was the same guy who was cryogenically frozen in the science lab and released on campus by the frightened pranksters.
The B-film’s set pieces pay homage to 1950’s drive-in horror flicks, most of which were so bad they were good. The college is named Corman University, after cult director Roger, while the main protagonists take the last names of horror pic director George Romero and slasher film director Tobe Hooper, while the pretty lead gets the occult director David Cronenberg’s last name.
REVIEWED ON 6/16/2013 GRADE: C+