Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Creeps (1986)

Night of the Creeps is a comedy horror film obviously made as a loving homage to the B movies of yesteryear. The film follows Chris Romero, a college freshman who falls in love at first sight with sorority girl Cynthia Cronenberg. Hoping to impress her, Chris and his friend JC Hooper attempt to pledge for the Beta Epsilon Fraternity. However, there's a catch: If they want in, they'll have to steal a cadaver from the university's medical department.

While the two manage to find a dead boy within a secret cryogenics lab, things immediately go from bad to worse. By removing the corpse, the boys have unleashed a swarm of alien parasites that possess the ability to re-animate the dead. With the help of Cynthia and chain-smoking police detective Ray Cameron, Chris must defeat these vicious creatures before its too late.

On paper, Night of the Creeps sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. Like the cheesy horror & science fiction films its modelling itself after, Night of the Creeps occasionally throws logic right out the window. For example, I find it hard to believe no one else saw a giant spaceship that flying at such a low height or Cynthia doesn't recognize her ex-boyfriend's been zombified while siting right next to him. However, Night of the Creeps possesses so much heart that you can't help but overlook its flaws and embrace the cheesy fun its offering.

Even though the draw of this film is the B movie cheese, Night of the Creeps does possess some legitimately good elements. Both Tod Atkins and Steve Marshal deserve praise for their performances as Detective Cameron and JC. Both characters could have easily been horrible in the hands of different actors, but Atkins and Marshall really breath life into them, which causes us as an audience to care more about them (giving their fates within the film a much stronger impact).

The special effects are also pretty solid, especially when you consider the film only had a budget of $5,000,000 (that sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when it comes to feature films). The music is great, really fitting the film's tone, and the film's cinematography is both interesting and well executed.

Night of the Creeps is a horror film slathered in a thick layer of 60's B movie cheese. While I understand that might make the move less palatable to some people, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably watch it again in the near future. If you like goofy horror films that have a sense of humor about them, check out Night of the Creeps (especially if you feel like riffing something MST3K-style with some friends).