Friday, October 19, 2018

Night of the Creeps is the greatest movie of all time

Night of the Creeps. An all-time fave. Female companion loved it as well. Watched this last the night before the eclipse with an unwanted house guest. Wanted a weird space invader movie and this fit the bill, for me at least. The guest was not into it. Too crazy for him. Had to turn it off. Punished him with Detention instead which he also wasn't really able to handle. Time to revisit. Better than I remembered. Greatest film of all time indeed.

Something cool about the flick is that all the character names pay homage to other horror directors. These include characters named after James Cameron, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg who did Jeff Goldblum The Fly movie, Joe Dante of The 'Burbs and Gremlins fame, Tobe Hooper who's most remembered for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (going to be watching all of those flicks soon) who also did Funhouse and Lifeforce which I called "the worst movie of all time" but am seriously reconsidering as maybe the greatest movie of all time as I remember it fondly (it is a naked, space-vampire movie after all),  John Landis who did An American Werewolf in London among other things, Steve Miner who directed Friday the 13th: Part 2 and Part 3 as well as Halloween H20, Sam Raimi of The Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell fame among other awesome shits, and George A. Romero who more or less invented the zombie movie. I'm not really sure why the director of this flick, one Jeff Dekker, never made it to the level of the directors he pays homage here. After this movie, Dekker's second film was 1987's Monster Squad which is universally loved. Other than that he directed an episode of Tales from the Crypt and the film Robocop 3 which he co-wrote with Frank Miller and is not remembered fondly.  He also wrote the story that would be used for the basis of the film House from 1985 directed by the aforementioned Steve Miner. He has a couple of producer credits for stuff I've never seen and a handful of writing credits, most recently for The Predator from earlier this year which was not well received. Does get much better than this or Monster Squad. Would have totally watched anything else horror related he would have made but alas. There is basically none.

Oh, wow
Pros: Extra cheese here. Over-the-top and doesn't take itself seriously though it obviously loves the genre. The worms and gore are great. The first zombie/alien movie that I know of, it is a pretty unique crossover film with an interesting/engaging plot. Cast is surprisingly solid and features Tom Atkins from Halloween III: Season of the Witch (among other things). What I consider a perfect self-aware, horror/comedy film.

Cons: Aliens in the opening scene look pretty stupid. There are also some dead animals.

Gist of the movie is that to impress a girl, dweeby college student Chris and best bud JC pledge a fraternity full of douche bags and are forced to steal a body from the college morgue when shit goes wrong. Must be a different breed of chick than I am used to that would be impressed by what frat a dude would join or whatever. The movie opens with a bunch of aliens chasing this other alien who ejects a weird canister out into space. The canister crashes to earth in the 1950s and a coed couple goes to investigate. Meanwhile, there is an axe murder on the loose who is in the area. When the dude leaves his date in the car, the murderer shows up and hacks her to bits. We later see that a cop named Ray Cameron, who had dated the girl when they were in high school, stumbled upon the scene and shot the killer to death. Fast forward 30 years in the future and the male coed in the car is the body that the dudes try to steal. Turns out the guy is infested with these sentient worms that turn people into zombies by flying into their mouths. The first person to discover the issue ends up being the female crush, Cynthia, who ends up working with the pledge to stop the college from getting overrun with these worms/zombies. Eventually the axe murderer gets possessed and shit is fucking on. On the whole, the film is an early kitchen sink type movie that throws everything out there and sees if sticks. Parasitic alien worms, B movie alien spacemen, slasher madmen, teen comedy, cop/medical drama, this film has basically everything and enjoys something of a cult following these days.

The Bradster
It stars Tom Atkins who fucking goes for it in this flick as Ray Cameron, Jason Lively who was Rusty in one of the National Lampoon's Vacation movies (European Vacation) plays Chris Romero, Steve Marshall as James Carpenter "J.C." Hooper who is the handicapped best bud of Chris, and Jill Whitlow as Cynthia Cronenberg who is the semi-rare attractive survivor girl that shows a little boob. Also appearing in the film are cutie Elizabeth Cox from Intruder as Kathy, Allan Kayser who was Bubba in Mama's Family as Brad with the vanity plate "BRADSTER" on his whip who is the generic dickhead frat douche who dates the character Cynthia before he kicks the crutch of the crippled kid which prompts her to do the classic crank flipping the bird and then later (once he has turned to an alien zombie which she doesn't notice for an insanely long time) break up with him, Robert Kino as the Asian janitor Mr. Miner who barely speaks English and just keeps repeating "screaming like banshees" which he thinks is the funniest thing he has ever heard in his whole fucking life, Dick Miller from Gremlins and The 'Burbs and a million other things has a small part, David Paymer who is a guy you sort of recognize but have no idea where from as a medical student that gets murdered, Vic Polizos (another I-sort-of-recognize-that-guy guy) who plays this coroner that is constantly eating while poking around horribly murdered individuals, David Oliver who died of AIDS in the early 1990s as Steve with the uni-brow who is basically just a generic meathead, and the very attractive Suzanne Snyder from Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Return of the Living Dead II, and Weird Science. Lot of people you sort of know, I guess.

The zombie ax murderer. Lot going on here
Best line of the movie is a tough one with this flick and Atkins going a mile a minute. The first thing he says, something of a swing and miss, came after a guy asks him if he is the detective when he replies, "No, Bullwinkle Moose." Later that same scene we get "That's fine. Candy-ass, but fine." and when talking about a body that suddenly wasn't there he says "What, did he have a date? Whaddya mean it isn't here?" and later "Zombies, exploding heads, creepy-crawlies... and a date for the formal. This is classic, Spanky." Chris also has a pretty good one. Atkins basically out of nowhere starts telling Chris, a college freshman whom he calls "Spanky", before they really know much of what was going down, that he shot and killed that ax murderer though he didn't need to. Chris then replies, shocked, "detective, other than confessing to a murder, is there a point to this conversation," which is bold. Also of note here, Cameron buried the guy under the floor of the sorority mother's home. The guy ends up coming back to life and they have a zombie ax murderer situation on their hands that they have deal with. But my fave line is probably, from Cameron, "What I'm going to need is your standard flame thrower."

"Your date's here! And he's looking good!"
Best scene of the movie is easily the zombie formal. The sorority girls at this point know shit is going down. Cameron, Chris, and Cynthia have let them know what's up. Meanwhile, down the way, the Beta Frat that they seem to have some sort of thing with, had a bus crash because of a possessed dog and all of them end up getting infected. Once they show up shit really hits the fan and it becomes your typical zombie/home invasion flick. Well sort of. It kicks off with a Cameron zinger, "I got good news and bad news, girls," he says, "The good news is your dates are here." "What's the bad news?" one of the girls asks, taking the bait. Cameron tells her, "They're dead." At that point one of the dead guys breaks into the sorority house and attacks a chick. Atkins unnecessarily pushes her down after she breaks free from the guy and tells her to duck. He then looks the zombie guy in the eye, says "it's Miller time", and shoots him in the face. When the worms come crawling out, he takes an aerosol can to his cigarette and lights those shits on fire. Bad ass. From there all hell breaks loose and it descends in complete chaos. Sort of like Re-Animator. Dope ass scene.

It is during that best scene that we get the best kill as well. While Cameron is busy flame throwing people to death, Chris and Cynthia remain outside, getting overwhelmed by the zombie hoard. But they end up making their way over to this little shed with all the sorority's landscaping equipment. It's then that Steve, with his unibrow and all, among other Beta zombies comes at the pair and breaks through the shed's walls. Steve eventually grabs Cynthia and is going to turn her when Chris grabs a lawnmower and fires it up, saying "later dude" as he mows the guy down. While not nearly as insane as when the main character in Peter Jackson's Dead Alive does it several years later, but this put that instrument on the map as a viable and gruesome tool to dispatch zombies with.

MVP of the movie is 100% Tom Atkins. It's not even close. As you can see from best scene and best line, he is all over this movie. He really swings for the fences in this flick. Every damn line from the moment he is on screen is quotable and absurd. As someone at Horror Freak News put it, "Tom Atkins steals scenes with one-liners like there was a prize for it," one JC Richardson wrote. Pretty much as every damn line is a joke. Sort of like how Deadpool 2 was. They just keep coming at you. This was also Atkins favorite of his 81 movies according to the source. That's saying a lot considering he was a huge overachiever for his shtick being an over-the-top chain-smoking drunk that cracks wise whilst looking hungover. He was Michael Hunsaker, the guy who got involved over his head with paramilitaries in Lethal Weapon, for god's sake. "Never before has a C Level actor risen so high."

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