Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dude Movies: Night Of The Creeps

What’s it about?
Just another one of those teen sex Animal House clones that feature alien parasitic larvae which turn the living and the dead into zombie hosts, one of which is the reanimated corpses of a serial axe murderer from the 50s who mysteriously disappeared 27 years before the beginning of the movie but had been secretly Walt Disneyfied by a shadowy government science project. You know - one of those.

Any chicks in the movie?
80s sexpot Jill Whitlow who, back in 1986, had sort of a WASPy Sarah Silverman thing going on. She does however get nekkid in this, which normally would be enough for a positive review in and of itself but, seriously, it's like for one second. Honestly, go big or go home.

Awesomeness Factor?
Night Of The Creeps is the kind of movie they just don't make anymore*, a knowingly cheeseball semi-serious monster movie, replete with unrealistic blood effects, squishy latex masks and a general air of charmingly amateurish enthusiasm. Creeps is like a trip through the more disreputable backwaters of a Blockbuster Video circa 1986 - aliens**, clones, weird science, serial killers, EC comics, zombies, 50s hardboiled parody and teen sex comedies and a penchant for showing off sorority girls in lingerie that seems closer in spirit to Penthouse than House Of Horror all percolate hotly together to make a veritable cinematic gumbo, suitable for late-nite viewing with your equally-socially-retarded teenage buddies and the artificial stimulant of your choice. Trouble is, spinning the Giant Genre Wheel O' Funsies like that requires either the deft touch of a (then) Joe Dante or a (now) Robert Rodriguez, or the cold calculation of a (then) John Carpenter or a (now) Quentin Tarantino. Creeps' Fred Dekker is, sadly, neither - he never finds a good overall tone, and his direction rarely rises above pedestrian. Not that the cast is much help, although Jill Whitlow is suitably perky and Wally Taylor (who looks like the love child of Kurt Russell and Stacy Keach) tosses out a campily entertaining performance as the suicidal Detective Landis.*** And yet, there's something shaggy and adorable about Night Of The Creeps' pathological desire to be liked, and slathering the cut 'n' paste cop-sex-rom-zom-com in a campy pastel 80s neon glow at the very least regulates Creeps to that decade's list of movies that nostalgically tickle me well beyond its objective worth. So short version: not as good as Tremors, but way fucking better than Ghoulies.

Mitigated by?
From this moment on, I think we should all agree to answer the phone by stiffly yanking it off the receiver and barking "Thrill me" like we're constipated, because that's the kind of attitude that gets results. I'd also like to point out that Night Of The Creeps in inexplicably available in Blu-Ray. I knew that player would pay off eventually.

* Unless your name is James Gunn, in which case you do indeed make it and call it Slither.

** And also Aliens, as Jill Whitlow gets her Ripley with a flamethrower at the climax.

*** Yeah, Landis. One of the more distracting Creeps elements is how all the characters are named after famous movie directors - sort of the directorial equivalent of eating the heart of your enemies to gain their strength.

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