• Night Of The Creeps (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Eureka! Classics
    Released on: October 8, 2018
    Director: Fred Dekker
    Cast: Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Jill Whitlow, Steve Marshall
    Year: 1986
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    Night Of The Creeps - Movie Review:

    I feel a little odd with this reviewing this one, a movie I could recite by heart ever since I first saw it nearly 30 years ago. I promise to try and keep the fanboy-ing to a minimum. So let’s proceed…

    Night of the Creeps is a mixture of 80’s action film, 80’s college comedy, 80’s slasher film and 50’s sci-fi nightmare fuel. The story opens on an alien vessel and a dangerous experiment being fired off in a pod from it. That pod is then found by the hunky quarterback, parking with his main squeeze, who were also just warned about an escaped “mental patient,” by a young cop who’d been the previous love interest of that squeeze. A quick alien infection and swing of a fire axe later, it’s present day “pledge week ‘86” where we meet our main characters Chris (Jason Lively) and JC (Steve Marshall). They soon spot Cynthia (Jill Whitlow) and the story kicks off in earnest.

    (SPOILER-FILLED GOODNESS FOLLOWS)

    Cynthia is dating frat boy mega-douche Brad (Allan Kayser) so Chris and JC try to pledge his fraternity. They’re given the gruesome task of dumping a dead body on the steps of another house. The lads find their way to the medical school basement and an advanced cryogenics chamber, housing the infected body of the hunky quarterback seen earlier in the movie. While attempting to remove this body it awakens, terrifying Chris and JC and sending them screaming and running away. The corpse, though, has other plans, killing a grad student and eventually finding his way to Cynthia’s window, where his head explodes, releasing the deadly brain slugs - the type that initially infected him.

    During this activity we’re then lead to the introduction of Detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins, in a career-defining role), having a pleasant dream of being on a beach, enticed by his old flame from the opening scene. But he’s startled awake by a phone call, summoning him to the lab. His Raymond Chandler-esque style stands in stark contrast to his surroundings but he’s clearly the one in charge, the one everyone looks up to. He’s soon then called to the sorority and the corpse there, triggering some expositional flashbacks for his character.

    Cut to the next day with Chris and JC confronted by Brad and his cronies that they screwed up but the boys maintain their innocence. This leads to Cynthia siding with them after Brad’s jerkish accusations. It also leads to the boys getting hauled in by Cameron and questioned. But he quickly gets to the heart of the mattering, realizing Chris and JC really had little to do with the previous night’s activities, and thus making him worried.

    Later that night, a brain-slug-infected cat sends Cynthia to Chris and JC, looking for some kind of comfort and understanding. While she and Chris work things out, JC goes off and, sadly, gets infected - but not before he’s able to find a weakness of the brain slugs and make a tape recording for his buddy, alerting him to all this. Cynthia asks Chris out to the formal the next night and before he can celebrate too much Cameron confronts him, taking him back to his apartment and giving him his full story. The detective confesses to murdering the mental patient that killed his girl all those years prior and hiding the body in the grounds where Cynthia’s sorority’s matron now lives. Which is timely, since the brain slugs find that old body and resurrect him, axe in hand and soon the world’s short on sorority matron (whatever that is, even in 1986).

    So, another body, another call to Cameron, interrupting his reverie. He grabs his shotgun and Chris (whom he’s taken to calling, “Spanky” now) and, soon, the detective is face-to-face with his old enemy. A head explosion later and more brain slugs are released but, this time, they at least find a sad, drunk Brad. Later, while he’s getting ready for his formal date with Cynthia, Chris finds JC’s recording and, soon, the burned-out corpse of his best friend. He goes then, sobbingly, with all this information to Cameron, who switches into full action mode now.

    A bus full of frat boys crashes, gets infected, and they then make their way to Cynthia’s sorority - hey, at least they’re committed. Meanwhile, Cynthia meets “Brad,” not wanting to make eye contact since she’s explaining why they’re breaking up, and thus not seeing that he’s a brain-slug-barfing zombie. That is, until Chris and Cameron show up, this time not only with a shotgun but, also, with a flamethrower procured reluctantly from the police armory (run by Dick Miller!). What follows can only be described as wondrous insanity as Cameron, Chris and Cynthia attempt to protect themselves and the sorority from the zombie frat boy invasion.

    This all climaxes in the best possible way, leaving the happy couple surviving to fight another day..or does it (insert 80’s-style final shot twist ending here, much to the director’s chagrin)?

    Night Of The Creeps Blu-Ray Review:

    The presentation here is full AVC encoded 1080p and looks just plain outstanding, probably the best this movie has ever looked. And that’s good since Dekker relies a LOT on shadow and this gives really solid blacks, allowing good definition of any & all lighted elements in every scene. Plus, being an 80’s movie, there’s good neon saturation and bad pastels to show off (during the formal scene)!

    The available audio options are LPCM Stereo and a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. Both are pretty fantastic but that 5.1 lossless track really serves this movie well, since nothing gets muddled or lost at all, letting all the zaniness comes through in its intended glory.

    The commentary track w/ Fred Dekker and presenter by Michael Flescher the DVD producer, is from the Sony DVD release in 2009. It’s very anecdote-heavy, with Dekker being quite harsh on himself as a first-time director. It’s a good interview, with Flescher keeping the questions coming, allowing Dekker to move on when he starts to play into the weeds a bit. It’s 100% Dekker in its honesty and he warms up to it quickly, being very thankful at the end for the film finally getting this kind of quality release.

    Also available is the commentary track with the cast, who are just having a blast here. They all clearly enjoyed working together and making this movie in particular. It’s a real treat for any fans of the film.

    The rest of the extras also come from the Sony DVD release.

    Thrill Me: The Making Of Night of the Creeps, 1 hour, broken into chapters, “Birth,” Cast,” “Creating (Monsters),” with Kurtzman, Berger and crew, “Escape Of,” looking at preview screening, post-production and release/distribution & “Legend,” detailing the filmʼs legacy

    Tom Atkins: Man of Action
    , :20-min., talks about his career, has a weird intrusive soundtrack too

    Interview w/ Fred Dekker
    , :31 minutes, talks about starting as a writer, starting w/ the idea for House and then how this one came about based on his short spec film, Baton, and his “making stew” writing approach, talks thru getting the directing spot, casting choices and production thru to initial cut/reactions, anecdotal and entertaining

    Deleted scenes
    , 7 total, about 9 min.; the first is more of the original couple in B&W; then, a longer party scene w/ JC striking out; next we get more Tom Atkins, getting the first call about the lab incident; there’s more space slug action with Cynthia in the sorority; then Tom Atkins getting the second call from the police station; next, Tom Atkins & Chris share a longer scene wherein Chris is trying to sell him on all the events up to that point; another has Tom Atkins responding to the next call & Chris finding all the old evidence in the detective’s apartment.

    Original theatrical ending
    , the only one I had seen, the “TV ending” that was inserted over Dekker’s initial vision as an ending note.

    Trailer


    Night Of The Creeps - The Final Word:

    Sometimes a movie comes along that’s just that: A movie. It’s clear it’s never meant to be a “film,” with all the serious academic gravitas that word implies. A movie, :90-minutes of fun, a feast for your eyes, ears and any other senses, with lots of laughs and violence and an earnest sentimentality that never overwhelms the story or characters but resonates with the audience nonetheless. And for all of its director’s admitted shortcomings, Night of the Creeps gets oh-so-many things not just right, but simply amazing, and it’s great to finally get the movie served up in all the rich detail this format can provide.

    Click on the images below for full sized Night Of The Creeps Blu-ray screen caps!







































    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Nice to see a Nolando review, again, and you picked a real corker! Love NOTC.