Night of the Creeps – tape 2393

Detective? Thrill Me!

This tape comes from the Sci Fi Channel, and opens with the end of Worldwide Weird, looking at crop circles.

Then we get Night of the Creeps. Fred Dekker’s Sci-Fi/Horror is one of those forgotten gems from trawling the local video store in the late 80s. Fred Dekker looked like he could have been a huge director, after this promising start, and his even better follow-up The Monster Squad, but his career looks like it was completely derailed by the (shall we say) less than successful Robocop 3.

This film doesn’t start too promisingly. The opening features some unconvincing pink aliens running around a spaceship, then we get an extended prologue, in black and white, that looks like a parody of a 50s teen movie – probably deliberately, but we have no context as to why.

Flash forward to ‘today’ and our two young heroes are new to the college, there’s the usual fraternity stuff that annoys me in any movie, when our heroes, tasked with breaking into the morgue and stealing a dead body, stumble across a body in cryogenic stasis. Naturally, they release the body from stasis, setting off the horrific events to come.

Cut to Tom Atkins, stalwart of John Carpenter movies, as Detective Cameron (most of the characters are named after film directors). I think we can assume this is a dream.

Detective Cameron

Sci-Fi are having some severe problems with their playout on this one. Sections of it look like they’ve interleaved two different fields. It doesn’t happen through all the broadcast, but it’s there for several minutes.

Night of the Glitches

Also, this broadcast looks like it’s cut – although I’m not familiar enough with the movie to know for sure, there’s at least one scene – where the revived body from the 50s appears at a sorority window – where it looks like we’re missing a special effects scene.

There’s an interesting piece of graffiti on a toilet wall…

Go Monster Squad

Detective Cameron is troubled. He was a rookie cop when the couple in the B&W prologue met their fate – the boy was the frozen body in the morgue, the girl was attacked by an axe-wielding maniac. And the girl was Cameron’s ex-girlfriend.

It seems that the pink aliens let an experiment fall to Earth, containing strange leech-like creatures with can reanimate dead bodies. And it’s the night of the big social bash, so everyone’s dressing up in their tuxedos, getting on a big bus and going to the sorority house, when the bus driver swerves to avoid a reanimated dog and the bus crashes, leading to a lot of zombie frat boys. There’s a really quick tex-avery sight-gag when the bus crashes.

Googly eyes

Detective Cameron requisitions a flamethrower from none other than Dick Miller.

Dick Miller in Night of the Creeps

Then he and Spanky Romero, our hero, arrive at the sorority house just in time to save our hero’s love interest, Cynthia Cronenberg, from her zombie ex-boyfriend. Then, as he sees the approaching zombies he gives the film’s best line.

                        CAMERON
             Good News and bad news, girls. Good news 
             is your dates are here.
                        GIRL
             And the bad news?
                        CAMERON
             They're dead.

Now, this isn’t the greatest movie ever made. By an awful long way. There’s a lot of variable performances, the editing rhythm feels choppy – although this might be a cut version – and the sub-Carpenter score doesn’t quite generate the right feeling at points of high-excitement. But this is a movie that struck me in the same way that Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste did – the faltering first steps of a possible future talent.

After this movie, recording switches to Bravo, and an altogether lesser film, although still in the horror vein. Revenge of Billy The Kid is a very low-budget, very bad taste movie about a family living in isolation on an island. Te family is called MacDonald, and all the children are called Ronald. This should give you a clue as to the quality of the screenplay (which took three people to write). The Billy The Kid of the title is the half-human half-goat offspring of the farm’s goat, after the father does some amateur insemination on his own.

At one point there’s a torn poster of The Evil Dead on a wall. I presume this is a reference to the Evil Dead having a torn poster of The Hills Have Eyes on a wall, meant to signify that Evil Dead was the next step in horror. I don’t think anyone would claim that this movie is a step forward for anything.

The creature effects, by Neill Gorton, are good enough for a low budget movie, but even they feel wasted here.

Empire’s review is spot on. “One of the most mind-bogglingly bad movies ever made.”

After this, recording continues with a series of very short cartoons, barely ten seconds long, usually featuring a naked or semi-naked woman, and many of a frankly misogynistic bearing. The cartoons are titled Wolinski – I don’t know if that means George Wolinski, who was one of the cartoonists killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, but the style of cartooning matches.

Recording continues, and we get half an episode of Starsky and Hutch. Starsky is kidnapped by a religious cult, then menaced by a grizzly bear.

Starsky

 

The tape finishes during this episode.

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