“The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is…they’re dead.” Combining 50s science fiction with Romero’s zombie mythos, 80s teen comedies, and a dash of film noir, Fred Dekker’s NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is joyous horror comedy with as many laughs as there are scares. Although it didn’t find an audience upon its original release, Dekker’s feature-length debut grew in cult status thanks to home video and constant airplay on television.
Dekker cut his teeth penning the screen story for Steve Miner’s HOUSE and parlayed it into writing and directing his next gig. They say write what you know, and Dekker had a deep affinity for 50s horror and sci-fi. He intentionally filled CREEPS with every B-movie cliche he could think of and even pushed to shoot the entire film in black and white (only the flashbacks are in the final film).
Alien brain slugs that had fallen to earth in 1959 and had been cryogenically frozen in a dead body are accidentally unleashed in a Frat prank gone bad by pledges Chris and C.J. 27 years later. All Chris wanted to do was impress his crush Cynthia. Instead, he unleashed deadly brain parasites looking for host bodies to infest and transform into zombies.
Working the case is Detective Ray Cameron (played by Tom Atkins in a career-defining role). The frozen body brings up bad memories for Cameron, who, we learn via flashback, was there the night the space slugs landed and who lost his girlfriend to an axe-wielding maniac from a lunatic asylum.
Now, that same maniac has returned from the beyond the grave as well, along with a busload of frat brother zombies who have ulterior motives for their college formal dates.
CREEPS works on all levels as a horror film and a comedy, but what really elevates the film and steals the show is Atkin’s Cameron. He whips out some of the best cynical, deadpan one-liners of all-time, along with his iconic catchphrase “Thrill me,” which also acts as the film’s mantra.
So, why not crack one open and enjoy NIGHT OF THE CREEPS? Because “it’s Miller time.”
Director: Fred Dekker
Hulu Theatre @The Egyptian