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Night of the Creeps Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Night Of The Creeps Large

Written and directed by Fred Dekker
1986, 90 minutes, Unrated
Released on June 25th, 2019

Starring:
Jason Lively as Chris Romero
Steve Marshall as J.C. Hooper
Jill Whitlow as Cynthia Cronenberg
Tom Atkins as Ray Cameron
Wally Taylor as Det. Landis
Ken Heron as Johnny
Alice Cadogan as Pam
June Harris as Karen

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Review:

It’s pledge week at Corman University and wild parties spill onto the street from the houses lining fraternity row. Chris Romero and his friend J.C. Hooper are misfits who don’t really cut loose, but things are about to change when Chris falls in love-at-first-sight with Cynthia Cronenberg, a beautiful sorority girl hanging out with her friends at the Beta Epsilon party. He believes he will have a better shot if he joins a frat, so Chris and J.C. try to pledge the jock-filled Beta house. They are charged with the task of stealing a corpse from the medical school and leaving it on the steps of a rival fraternity house. Later that night the boys do their best, sneaking into the cryogenics lab and discovering a frozen body encased in a glass chamber. They release the cadaver but get scared off when it returns to life and tries to grab them. The body kills the lab assistant and escapes into the night. It makes its way to Cynthia’s sorority house where it pops up at her bedroom window scaring her. The corpse’s head splits open and tiny slugs burst out and race across the ground.

Detective Ray Cameron is a hard-boiled cop haunted by the murder of his high school sweetheart. He investigates this new case and questions Chris and J.C., who were spotted running out of the lab the night before. They confess to breaking in but insist they didn’t move the body. Cameron suspects they’re not telling him everything and keeps tabs on them. Cynthia confides in Chris about a zombie showing up outside her window and he is so smitten he doesn’t think she’s crazy at all. The slugs make their way around campus infecting people and animals alike; once the slugs attack, the host is killed and they take over all motor functions. Their weakness is fire, but their strength is in numbers and they move really fast. Chris teams with Det. Cameron to save Cynthia from a busload of zombie frat guys attacking the sorority house. Things get pretty crazy, but luckily our heroes are armed with big guns and a powerful flamethrower!

In 1986, writer/director Fred Dekker (Robocop 3) made his feature debut with Night of the Creeps, a love letter to the horror community complete with aliens, zombies, mad slashers and plenty of good cheer. His characters are named after genre filmmakers: (James) Cameron, (David) Cronenberg, etc., and there are nods to many classic films that came before. Dekker tells a large story in an intimate setting and keeps things moving at a brisk pace. He takes a lot of familiar elements and combines them into something fresh and exciting. He has a knack for great dialogue, resulting in several quotable lines and phrases that remain popular in cult circles to this day. As a director, he fills the picture with impressive camera work and strong performances from a relatively unknown cast.

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Genre veteran Tom Atkins (Halloween III: Season of the Witch) stars as Det. Ray Cameron, a tough-as-nails cop with no time for bullshit. He gets the best one-liners and the infectious catch phrase, “Thrill Me.” Atkins has made a career at playing badasses and Det. Cameron is as tough as they come. The young cast is led by Jason Lively (National Lampoon’s European Vacation), who really delivers as protagonist Chris Romero. It is fun watching him try to win the girl and save the day when he is clearly in over his head, but remains determined to see it through. Jill Whitlow (Weird Science) is Cynthia, the love interest who is absolutely adorable and the perfect girl next door – who is really good in a fight. She is sweet and funny and shares some great moments with Lively. Steve Marshall (Sleeping in a Dream) does a fine job in the supporting role of best friend J.C., the handicapped sidekick with a big heart. The three young actors share great chemistry and are instantly likeable. As an added bonus, the legendary Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood) turns up in a rewarding cameo as the clerk at the police armory.

Night of the Creeps is a ghoulish good time that is thrilling, scary and frequently hilarious. The film didn’t do particularly well at the box office, due in part to the idea that it was too ahead of its time. Audiences found the picture on home video and frequent late-night TV screenings and it gradually became something of a cult classic. The ending to the TV version is different from the theatrical cut, one that leaves things open for a sequel. Both edits of the movie are available on this Collector’s Edition release. Genre fans will definitely want to pick this one up and if you somehow missed this movie in the past, now is your chance to correct that horrible oversight.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this is the same high quality transfer used for the 2009 Blu-ray release. Colors are vibrant and black levels are deep with plenty of small-object detail.

Audio arrives with a highly satisfying DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that makes good use of the speaker range. Dialogue levels are clean and well-balanced with the lively music and effects tracks.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Night of the Creeps arrives as a two disc set with the original theatrical cut making its HD debut on disc one.

Returning from the 2009 Blu-ray is the excellent five-part documentary Thrill Me! The Making of Night of the Creeps (60 minutes), featuring interviews with numerous members of the cast and crew, including director Fred Dekker, producer Charles Gordon, actors Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, make-up effects artists David B. Miller, Howard Berger, editor Michael Knue and more. There are tons of great production stories included here, as everyone involved seems genuinely thrilled to have the chance to talk about this movie. Topics include the origin of the project, principal photography, post production, the perils of studio filmmaking and the 2009 revival of the film.

The vintage documentary Tom Atkins: Man of Action (20 minutes) allows the actor the opportunity to reflect on his career and some of the classic directors he has worked with. He also shares numerous stories from the set of Night of the Creeps.

A collection of deleted scenes (8 minutes) offers several scene extensions and character beats cut for pacing.

The original theatrical trailer has been included.

Disc Two:

The director’s cut is presented on disc two.

There are two audio commentaries offered here, the first with writer/director Fred Dekker, moderated by Michael Felsher. This discussion covers a lot of ground and Dekker has waited a long time to share this information. He talks about the challenges of being a first-time director, dealing with the studio, writing the script and casting the picture. He shares several entertaining production stories making this a commentary well worth hearing.

The second commentary features cast members Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow. This is an energetic track with four old friends having a blast watching the movie together. Atkins fights for air time as the others enthusiastically talk over each other. There are some minor pauses as they watch particular scenes or wait for favorite lines of dialogue. This is another great commentary that is a real treat.

There is a new episode of Horror’s Hallowed Grounds hosted by Sean Clark, who revisits the original filming locations along with special guests Fred Dekker and Jason Lively.

Jason Lively sits down for the interview Real Good Plan (11 minutes) in which he recalls the audition process, working with Dekker, the trials of night shoots and working with a real flamethrower. He is a fan of the picture and appreciates all of his fans.

In The Bradster (8 minutes), actor Alan Kayser reflects on his role of the jerky antagonist Brad. He discusses his approach to the character, which gave him the reputation of being an asshole. He also shares some entertaining production stories.

Actor Ken Heron shares his memories in I Vote for That One (10 minutes), including his audition and prep for the role. He has pleasant memories of the shoot and wishes the film performed better.

Worst Coroner Ever (6 minutes) catches up with Vic Polizos, a recognizable character actor eager to share his stories from the shoot.

Actress Suzanne Snyder sits down for the segment Answering the Door (4 minutes) and reveals the existence of additional deleted material not included here involving her character. She has kind words for Jill Whitlow, enjoys meeting fans and is proud of the film’s lasting legacy.

Editor Michael N. Knue is the subject of Final Cut (11 minutes) and he shares his thoughts on establishing the tone of a horror/comedy through pacing. He discusses the challenges of audio looping, the reshoots and the new ending.

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Grades:

Movie: Fourstars Night Of The Creeps Small
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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