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Night of the Creeps(1986)
In this campy chiller, a college couple in 1959, see an object plummet to Earth like a meteor. The boy accidentally swallows a space-slug that shoots out. In 1986, two freshmen roam the campus and stumble across the corpse of the boy who swallowed the space-slug. Once thawed out, the corpse comes to life.
For more about Night of the Creeps and the Night of the Creeps Blu-ray release, see Night of the Creeps Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 12, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Fred Dekker
Writer: Fred Dekker
Starring: Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Dick Miller (I), Jill Whitlow, Greg Nicotero
» See full cast & crew
Night of the Creeps Blu-ray Review
Blu-ray breathes new life into a fan-favorite Cult Classic.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 12, 2009
What is this...a homicide or a bad B-movie?
Night of the Creeps is so good at being "bad" that those that aren't intimately familiar with genre films or appreciative of brilliant lampooning may find it difficult to discern the film's true intent. Indeed, the film has "B" written all over it: a goofy but coherent script, mediocre acting, a throwback Science Fiction/Horror hybrid plot, and heavy doses of bloody carnage all point towards a cut-rate time-waster of a movie that finds its audience on sleepless nights at 3:00 AM. For genre aficionados, however, Night of the Creeps represents a wonderfully realized homage to the sorts of films it resembles. The entire thing plays out with a wink and a nod attached to every scene, from the beginning alien chase sequence to the hackneyed scares scattered throughout the movie. The film meshes a serious overtone with a none-too-subtle comically-inclined undertone that solidifies the picture as something of a tribute to the genres it embodies.
In 1959 California, an alien canister falls to Earth. Its slug-like contents infect a young man who approaches it, and several decades later, he remains in suspended animation deep within the bowels of a university research facility. Two bumbling college students -- Chris (Jason Lively) and J.C. (Steve Marshall) -- desperate to catch the attention of fellow student Cynthia (Jill Whitlow) agree as part of a fraternity pledge to find a dead body and place it on the steps outside a rival house. Of course, they stumble upon the body in stasis -- the same one that was infected with the alien slugs years ago -- and in their attempt to transport it to the fraternity house, it regains consciousness and escapes. Aging police detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins), long since traumatized from bearing witness to the slaughter of the girl he once loved on the same night as the alien canister's arrival, is called to investigate the missing body and a resultant corpse. Chris, J.C., Cynthia, and Ray all soon come to realize that something's amiss around campus; it seems not only is there an alien-possessed zombie roaming about, but it's infecting others. Can the fearless foursome save the day, or will the college -- and quite possibly the world -- become overrun by alien-influenced zombies?
It might be easy to write off Night of the Creeps as a film that falls into the same vein as something like Silent Night, Deadly Night, another campy and now cult classic picture from the mid-1980s, but even that would be selling Creeps short. Fans of highbrow art house cinema need not apply, but those with simpler tastes that crave not an education but rather a blood-splattering good time at the movies -- and a foreknowledge of genre tendencies, clichés, and a willingness to embrace the film's cultish and campy style -- will come to adore Director Fred Dekker's (The Monster Squad) under-appreciated masterpiece of all things Science Fiction and Horror. After all, only true admirers of off-the-beaten-path types of films could both understand and love a movie about parasitic alien worms that turn their victims into zombified hosts for the incubation of more of these slugs within the cranial cavity; only less-than-discriminating viewers could cheer on shotgun blasts to the head to free the beasties, and a sorority girl subsequently torching them with a flamethrower; and only the most ardent defenders of B-movie goodness could appreciate three-foot-tall aliens that look like something out of a Halloween costume shop waddling through the frame as they chase one of their own through a dimly-lit corridor aboard an alien craft. Indeed, Night of the Creeps requires of its audience an appreciation for the Horror and Science Fiction genres and a willingness to take the film at face value -- which includes its overt campiness and only somewhat subtle sense of humor towards its material -- to fully appreciate all it has to offer.
Its the small touches that makes Night of the Creeps work in the realm in which it operates. Writer/Director Fred Dekker injects a plethora of material into the film that solidifies its tongue-in-cheek intent. The film begins with a few lines of alien-language dialogue, subtitled for audience convenience -- in both alien and Terran languages. The title sequence is comprised of throwback monster movie fonts and produces them in vivid color over the 1959 black-and-white segment. Dekker's dialogue is a combination of catchy one-liners, appropriately over-dramatic observations, and even some lines meant to foreshadow events which will take place later in the film. As to the latter, several such instances are easy to spot, even upon first viewing -- provided that the audience is familiar with how typical B-level Sci-Fi and Horror films play out. Dekker does a marvelous job in both prose and directorial style to give the movie a campy feel through and through, but he handles the material with a delicate touch to reinforce the point that it's something of a send-up of its genres rather than a shining example of cheap movie rubbish. The ensemble cast, too, is in on the fun; to an actor, there's never anything less than what Dekker's script calls for, and each turns in a hybrid performance of sorts that is at every moment equal parts deadly serious and tongue-in-cheek fun while enjoying a wonderful chemistry that brings it all together.
Night of the Creeps Blu-ray, Video Quality
Night of the Creeps arrives on Blu-ray with a strong 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. After the hazy and dark alien spacecraft scene, the action shifts to 1959 California for some black-and-white photography that's nicely detailed, and the image features a rather thick layer of film grain. Once the movie begins the primary story that takes place in the mid-1980s, the color photography returns. Colors seem slightly dulled but generally in the darker nighttime and interior shots. Fine detail is adequately reproduced; the image isn't going to turn any heads but fine lines in woven sweaters and small odds and ends seen in Chris and J.C.'s dorm room, for instance, are nicely rendered. However, human faces aren't extraordinarily detailed but neither are they flat and lifeless. Speaking of, flesh tones take on a natural shade without much of a red push. Blacks are nice and dark and don't appear to drown out too much background information. Film grain is almost as heavy here as in the black-and-white segment, but it appears somewhat less pronounced during daylight exterior scenes. Other than a few minor instances of unsightly blocking, Night of the Creeps looks very good on Blu-ray.
Night of the Creeps Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Night of the Creeps crashes onto Blu-ray with a nicely-mixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track feels alive in most every scene; surrounds are fully utilized, and despite the low budget feel of the movie, it boasts an immersive sound design. Music over the opening title sequence enjoys strong clarity and a solid accompanying low end. A nice and subtle rear channel presence brings the interior of the alien ship alive and delivers a wonderfully realized surround presence that places the viewer in the midst of the corridors, creating something of a chilling yet deliciously fun and campy sonic moment. The alien cylinder crashes to Earth, zooming cross the soundstage with a hefty presence in the rear channels. The track delivers a wonderful sense of ambience throughout; as Johnny searches for the crashed object during an early black-and-white scene, owls hoot, insects buzz, and other sounds of nature bring the listening area to life. Once the action shifts to 1986, the synth 80s music delivers a room-filling sensation at a party inside Beta House; it's focused across the front and features a nice sense of space and is supported by a palpable rear-channel presence. As the action shifts to another locale within Beta, the music is still heard in the distant background, appropriately muddled but nevertheless realistic in presentation. Water drips subtly here and there around the soundstage in a grimy, white-brick walled scientific laboratory on campus in another scene; voices reverberate throughout nicely, flowing about the soundstage to effortless effect; and alien slugs scamper all around the listening area on several occasions. Such are just several examples of the sort of soundtrack that makes Night of the Creeps a fun listen, and it compliments the movie perfectly. Also featuring problem-free dialogue reproduction, Night of the Creeps's Blu-ray debut is a sonic winner.
Night of the Creeps Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Night of the Creeps lands on Blu-ray with a nice helping of bonus features, the package headlined by a pair of commentary tracks. The first features Writer/Director Fred Dekker and Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures. The discussion covers a wonderful range of topics: the design of the aliens, sound effects, fonts, shooting locations, the acting and why less-than-perfect performances work in the context of the film, casting the roles, Dekker's approach to directing, the film's pace, how lessons learned on Night of the Creeps influenced his style in later films, the two different endings, and much more. Fans of the film, the genres it encapsulates, or those wanting to learn more about the filmmaking process will want to listen to this one from beginning to end. The second track features cast members Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins, and Jason Lively in a relaxed track that features a nice mixture of playful reminiscing and serious insight. The track isn't on the same must-listen level as the director commentary, but fans might want to spend some time with this one. Also included is a pop-up, text-based trivia track that plays over the course of the film. Tom Atkins: Man of Action (1080p, 19:55) takes viewers to Atkins' hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as he recalls how he came to be an actor, experiences that span his career, and his work and thoughts on Night of the Creeps.
Thrill Me: Making 'Night of the Creeps' (1080p, 59:46) is a five-part documentary that chronicles the film's evolution, from its origins to its legacy. Birth of the Creeps (10:41) is the first segment; here, Writer/Director Fred Dekker discusses his first ideas for the film, the piecemeal way he assembled the B-movie clichés, TriStar's acquisition of the script, and Dekker's influences. Cast of the Creeps (15:58) takes a more in-depth look at the assemblage of the cast and their thoughts on the film. The piece is assembled through a mixture of retrospective interview pieces and clips from the film. Creating the Creeps (10:33) features Special Make-up FX Supervisor David B. Miller, Special Make-up FX Creators Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, and Animation Effects Supervisor Todd Masters recalling the construction of some of the film's crucial special effects and makeup. Escape of the Creeps (11:34) looks at audience reaction to test screenings, the different endings and Dekker's thoughts on the situation, creating the score, and the film's limited theatrical release. Finally, Legend of the Creeps (10:59) looks at the June 13, 2009 Director's Cut screening of the film and features cast, crew, and fans reminiscing on the entirety of the Night of the Creeps experience. Also included is the original theatrical ending (1080p, 0:29); seven deleted scenes (480p, 7:40); the Night of the Creeps theatrical trailer (1080p, 1:31); additional 1080p trailers for Ghostbusters, Hellboy, Men in Black, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind; and BD-Live functionality.
Night of the Creeps Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A campy but altogether fun and wholly satisfying tribute to the Science Fiction and Horror genres, Night of the Creeps is one of those movies that never quite got its due but, hopefully, will find a wider audience and the recognition it deserves with this terrific new Blu-ray release. Sony has pulled out all the stops, treating fans and newcomers alike to a jam-packed special edition of the film that also features the director-intended ending not as an extra but instead right where it should be: at the end of the movie. The studio has, as expected, yielded another high-quality technical presentation to go along with the movie and wonderfully-produced supplemental package. Highly recommended!
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Night of the Creeps Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - October 27th - October 27, 2009
After the unprecedented success of Pixar's 'Toy Story', Hollywood studios recognized the emergence of a new film genre and quickly acquired the equipment and expertise in order to ensure they had a piece of the computer animated cash-cow. One of those moves was ...
• Night of the Creeps BD Pushed One Week - August 17, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that the campy thriller 'Night of the Creeps', originally slated for October 20, will be delayed by a week and thus will street on October 27 (still in time for Halloween) Edition details stay unchanged: it will ...
• Night of the Creeps Coming to Blu-ray (Updated) - July 29, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the horror film 'Night of the Creeps: Director's Cut' to Blu-ray on October 20th, day-and-date with the DVD release and just in time for Halloween. Video will be presented in 1080p AVC accompanied ...
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