A classic from the mid 80’s, a young man falls for a young woman at university and the only things that get in their way are her jock boyfriend and, even more deadly than that, alien brain slugs that turn their hosts into zombies while incubating more brain slugs to take over the world.
Directed by Fred Dekker
Starring Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow and Tom Atkins
Chris, a young man in university, falls in love with a pretty girl and decides the only way to get her to like him is to join the biggest frat house around. The frat house leader, Brad, tells Chris he will seriously consider him if he does a little prank. So Chris gets his friend JC to help him find a corpse they can dump on someone’s lawn. They check out the med labs on campus and come across an experimental room with a body that’s been in cryogenics for almost thirty years, as it was involved in some strange occurrences back in the 50’s involving brain slugs. A cop (Atkins) with ties to those events is brought in to investigate the missing corpse and things go from bad to worse in no time just ahead of a big dance.
It seems that dead bodies are being reanimated thanks to alien beings that look like slugs that can travel at fast speeds and make their way into your head to feast on the brains. They can take over the body for brief periods of time to incubate, making the host a zombie, and then when the time is right the head splits open releasing even more of these things.
So what we have here is one of my favourite scary movies as a kid (along with other such 80’s classics like Monster Squad and Ghostbusters among many others) so I might be a little biased but I love this movie. This film could be what John Hughes would make if he made horror movies. Our heroes are well defined, nerdy characters having to fend off the jocks (and zombies) while trying to get with the cute girl of the sorority house. Atkins plays the tough as nails detective with a terrible past he can never fully get away from must confront in order to save the day, he has plenty of sarcastic one-liners to lighten up his character just a bit.
If you’re in the mood for some blood with your romantic comedy with zombies (that’s right, before Shaun of the Dead) then this movie provides in spades. There are tons of heads that get split open, either due to the slugs escaping or people getting shot in the head because there are slugs in their heads. Some of the effects can look a bit dated (the slugs being pulled by long strands of filament) but at no point would you ever be rolling your eyes at how bad they are. In fact, most of the effects hold up pretty good over twenty years later. Who needs CGI?
There are plenty of little in-jokes and references for genre fans to pick up on. You may notice some classic B-movies on people television sets that may play off themes found in this movie. Some characters are named after genre directors of it’s time (Romero, Cronenburg, Cameron, Raimi, Carpenter, etc.) Nice little extras for people who look out for such things.
I’m keeping this review short and sweet because I hesitate to go into any further details, but if anything written above catches your interest, I whole heartedly recommend Night of the Creeps which is an 80’s gem of a horror movie. It may thrill you.
Story: 8 – Alien brain slugs from outer space lay eggs in human brains turning them into zombies. Sounds fine by me!
Blood: 8 – Tons of wigs getting split open. A few axe attacks, gun shots, and after-the-fact dead bodies. Gruesome enough for most people.
Nudity: 7 – Nothing like a peak into the sorority house shower!
Overall: 9 – Interesting story, great characters and performances, lots of blood and T&A. What more could you want in a horror film?
-When JC is in the bathroom, you can see some graffiti that reads “Go Monster Squad.” Monster Squad would be released a year later from the same writer/director, Fred Dekker.
-Another reference in the film is Corman University, named after genre filmmaker Roger Corman.
-A lot of the movie was filmed in an old department store that was converted into a makeshift studio.