Die Nacht der Creeps (1986)

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Die Nacht der Creeps: Directed by Fred Dekker. With Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins. Alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie. Some teenagers start to fight against them.

“Fred Dekkeru0026#39;s Night of the Creeps is only of many 80u0026#39;s horror movies that failed to find much of an audience upon its initial release, but has gathered a cult following over the subsequent years through scuzzy VHS tapes passed between fans and late-night showings on cable TV. Itu0026#39;s now available on near enough every format, so you have no excuse not to check out this endearing little gem, especially if youu0026#39;re a fan of genre film-making and movies of the 80s in general. Dekker, who made his debut here and would go on to direct The Monster Squad and Robocop 3, is clearly a fan of horror movies and blends many of his favourite influences into the increasingly gory events. The result is a blast for fans, whou0026#39;ll enjoy spotting the name-drops amongst the various characters and the way it sticks closely to the rules of the genre. Yet Night of the Creeps can also feel like a bunch of your favourite movies re-arranged and plastered together to form an admittedly fun 90 minutes.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn the 1950s, an alien craft carrying slug-like creatures crashes down to Earth. At a nearby loveru0026#39;s lane, a boy heads out into the woods to investigate and comes across a canister, which naturally explodes in his face and unleashes the squirmy extra-terrestrials, one of which makes its way inside the unsuspecting boy orally. The girl, who is left behind in the car, meets an unfortunate demise at the hands of an escaped serial killer before a rookie cop blows the mad man away. Fast-forward to 1986, and teenager Chris Romero (Jason Lively) wants desperately to hook up with sorority girl Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow). Backed by his best friend J.C. (Steve Marshall), the clueless twosome figure that the only way to impress Cynthia is to join a fraternity. To enter the Beta Epsilon fraternity – which is headed by Cynthiau0026#39;s douchebag of a boyfriend – Chris and J.C. are tasked with stealing a corpse from the nearby medical centre and placing it front of a sorority house. They break in easily enough, but what awaits them is the cryogenically frozen body of the unfortunate boy from the opening scene. Naturally, the cadaver escapes, and soon enough the town is overrun with zombies and giant slugs looking for a host.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThereu0026#39;s a real energy and spirit to Dekkeru0026#39;s film that is lacking from many low-budget horror movies from the same era, but what drags the movie down is a lack of any original ideas of its own. While thereu0026#39;s fun to be had with spotting references to other (and better) films (Dick Miller even shows up for an obligatory cameo), this can often feel like a lazy way to patch up the lack of anything fresh. They also missed a trick by relegating beaten-down detective Cameron (Tom Atkins) to a supporting character. He has all the best lines and Atkins is clearly enjoying himself in the role, so you can only wonder how better the film would have been if our guide was an emotionally-scarred and wise-cracking old dog rather than a couple of sad-sack horny teenagers looking to impress a girl. That said, Night of the Creeps delivers exactly what its target audience – those still awake in the early hours – requires, and manages to round-up practically everything that is charming about low-budget 80u0026#39;s B-movies, even touching on the teen sex comedies made popular by the likes of Porkyu0026#39;s. It perfectly sets itself up for a sequel before its box-office returns put a quick end to that idea, but itu0026#39;s never too late.”

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