Thursday, October 16, 2014

Horrothon Review #16 - Night of the Creeps (1986)

Yea, I know, you guys love this one almost as much as I do.  :-D  I decided to forego the usual disappointing search for something good to watch and review, only to be horribly disappointed by the end result, so I went ahead and queued up Night of the Creeps on Netflix.  Apparently, the one on Netflix has an alternate ending to the one released theatrically, so technically, I hadn't seen this particular movie before.  Although, that's kind of a lie since I've seen the theatrical release at least a dozen times.  Plus one, if you count tonight's viewing.  :-D  I also have it on DVD.  Hey, what can I say, this movie is good!

Night of the Creeps (1986) starts out with some cheesy-looking 80's style aliens, but don't let them fool you.  They may look childlike and retarded, but the Zombie one has this terrifying blank look of doom on his face as he carries a long black cylinder through the bowels of the alien spacecraft.  He somehow manages to escape his pursuers long enough to load the cylinder into a waste disposal hatch.  In the meantime, we find out that the black tube is an alien experiment of some kind, and the two aliens, armed with some sort of energy weapons, blow the door open to get the zombie-alien before he can escape the ship.  Is there a twitch of a smile on the zombie-alien's face as he pulls the ejection lever, launching the black cylinder into the void of space?  We'll never know.  The black cylinder flies out of the alien spacecraft, hurtling through space...  Where's it going?  Earth, of course.  Earth, sometime around 1959...

Okay, first off, forget the whole cheesy aliens thing at the beginning.  It's only important to explain, very quickly, where the cylinder full of black slugs came from, and give you an idea how it got there.  Sure, it might have been creepier to just forget that whole part of the movie, and to let you wonder where and how the black slugs came from, but it doesn't matter.  It's short, and it explains the whole movie, and once it's over it has nothing to do with the story in general.  If you look, though, you'll notice a few important things.  The look of blank evil on the alien's face is not funny.  This isn't a comedy.  This is pure horror.  The ship he's running through is not shiny, it's not new, and it's not bringing Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  It's a wet, drippy, rusty shithole of a spacecraft, and it looks creepy enough just by itself.  Sure, the aliens look kind of comical, until you see the zombie alien.  He isn't funny looking.  He's scary.  It's like seeing the face of a child, warped by pure, murderous evil.

So, like your average baby having a temper tantrum.

Then we come to the real story, which basically the life and times of one Detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins), and his newfound friends, Chris (Jason Lively) and JC, also known as "Spanky" and "Alfalfa."  No, they aren't really from the little rascals, but Detective Cameron starts calling them that because of their respective hairstyles.  There's also a little sidebar relationship developing between Chris and one Cynthia Cronenberg (the smoking hot Jill Whitlow).  Also appearing alongside Detective Cameron is the Coroner (Vic Polizos), who really enjoys his job way too much.

I love everything about this movie.  It's got aliens, zombies, alien brain parasites, sorority babes, boobs, undead pets, cryogenics, axe murderers...  Did I mention boobs?  Yea, I did.  I love how the part of the movie set back in 1959 is all done in black and white, like it's an old sci-fi slasher flick or something you'd see at a drive in.  Then we cut to the nowadays (ok, 1986, when the movie was made, anyway), and everything is back to color.  This is classic, perfect 80's horror.  Teens in college, hot co-eds, slow-moving zombies, aliens, and freakin Tom Atkins!  You can't go wrong with this movie.  It's absolutely one of my favorite horror movies of all time, and it's also lead character actor Tom Atkin's favorite, of all the horror movies he's done.  Well, he has great taste, that's all I can say.

You should definitely watch this movie.  Many times.  I have probably seen it at least once a year since the year it came out.  It's a classic horror flick, the story flows along really well, and whenever you think it's starting to slow down a little they kick it up a notch with zombie-in-your-face brain parasite action.  It's regrettably short, only an hour and a half (including the credits), but it's fun, and horror, and scary, and action, and full of one liners.  Detective Cameron's favorite is "Thrill me." and I went around for about a decade after this movie came out, saying "Thrill me" to friends, women, children, small mammals, and family members.  Sure, they had no idea wtf I was talking about, but that's not the point.  I sounded COOL, at least to myself, and honestly, who else do I really care about?  I'm kind of self-centered that way.

Of particular note, this movie is NOT a comedy.  There's some humorous one-liners, and really, the only ridiculously amusing part was played by Mr. Miner, the night janitor at the college medical facility.  See, Chris and JC break into the building to steal a cadaver and drop it on the steps of a rival fraternity, trying to pull off a pledge prank so the Betas will allow them to join their fraternity, in the hopes of impressing Cynthia.  So Chris and JC find the Cryogenics lab, somehow manage to thaw out Detective Cameron's ex-girlfriend's ex-boyfriend from 1959, and, you can say it with me, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.  So the frozen cadaver twitches, wakes up, and Chris and JC run like hell, out of the medical building, past Mr. Miner, screaming like banshees.  Or, as Mr. Miner puts it in the interview room later in the movie with detective Cameron, "screaming rike banshee." Which is repeated in a very humorous fashion several times, mostly by Mr. Miner, who gets a kick out of it.  I honestly thought that part was quite funny, but not at all enough to earn this horror flick a comedy classification.  Sure, that part was funny, but there's funny bits in all our lives.

Look at Evil Dead 2.  That part with Ash, where he's alone in the cabin after cutting his zombie ex-girlfriend up with a chainsaw, and having to cut off his own hand, and the deer head on the wall starts laughing at him, and he starts laughing, and the lamp starts laughing, and the books start laughing, and soon everything in the cabin is laughing hysterically, and I start laughing every time I watch it, because you know Ash has fucking lost his goddamn mind by that point, and frankly, watching that movie, feeling what that poor guy was feeling, I lost my mind, too.  I haven't quite found it yet, but let me know if you step on something soft and squishy and brain-shaped.

See, not all humor is funny.  Some of it is pure insanity.  Laughing because your mind has snapped.  Think of batman's arch nemesis, the Joker.  Ever wonder why he laughs so much?  His mind is gone.  After that, when the world doesn't make sense anymore, and everything seems ridiculous, well, that's when you laugh.  That's why Ash laughs.  Sometimes, that's why I laugh.  Not Mr. Miner, in night of the creeps.  He's sane.  He's just laughing because he saw two college geeks running away, screaming rike banshees.  The rest of this movie is pretty horrific.  And there's boobs.  So go fucking watch it already, before I start laughing insanely.  It's really very creepy when I do it.  I scare myself.  Usually wet myself, too.

The alternate ending, by the way, wasn't much different.  They just replaced the ending twist with some aliens searching the cemetery for their long-lost cylinder of black slugs, which makes little sense, considering the cylinder was lost back in 1959.  It took the aliens until 1986 to track down the cylinder?  Or did the release of the black slugs trigger some sort of alien alarm?  Who knows.  Stick with the zombie dog ending, it was good enough.  Also, Night of the Creeps is just BEGGING for a sequel to be made.  :-D  Anyone?  I'm not asking for a remake, I want a SEQUEL!  Get jason Lively back to star as a police detective, perhaps just as suicidal, wandering around 2014, going "Thrill Me" to everyone he meets.  I would castrate myself, I'd laugh so hard.  Go on, make it and see me castrate myself!  I DARE YOU!

In other news, I made a weather prediction back in June, saying the summer would be hot, and we'd have lots of hurricanes.  Here, where I live, the rest of the summer was cool, and chilly, and I didn't hear about any hurricanes.  So I announced that I was mistaken, and I should stick to reviewing movies.  As it turns out, it looks like Mother Nature, and NASA, have got my back.  NASA announced that May, August and September of this year have been the warmest ever, and there's like a category 4 hurricane headed towards bermuda (I think it was bermuda?) as I type this.  So.  Maybe I was right after all?  I guess we'll see.  (shrugs)  Go NASA!  Go Mother Nature!  You guys kick ass!  :-D

One week to go for the premieres of Grimm and Constantine on friday nights, two weeks to go til All Hallows Eve!  Hallow is a word meaning Holy, so what I wonder is, how did we get Halloween, a night of goblins, ghouls, and tricks and treats, out of what should be, according to its name, the most holy of nights?  As I understand it, the druidic festival of Samhain was probably based on the farmer's annual slaughtering of the herds, to store away the meat through the winter.  Samhain is pronounced "sow-in," so if you take the phonetic sounds and make a literal translation, it means to take the sows in and slaughter them for meat.  So let's say the Night of All Hallows Eve is based on a night of pure bloodshed, not of people, but of the animals, so that the people will survive the long winter ahead.  Maybe back in those days, to get the kids to stay away from the barn, you had to keep them inside and make them pray, or something.  Which would explain the whole "most holy night" thing.  I'm just supposing, here.  And maybe, some nights, the kids would sneak out, see the bloodshed, and cause a little mayhem as their favorite barnyard pets were slaughtered for meat.  Maybe that's where Trick-or-Treating comes from?  Just wild brainstorming, but I suppose it makes as much sense as anything else.  Clue me in if I've made a major break in my logical suppositions.  And be gentle, remember, I'm already a little twitchy.

Here's a little factual Halloween tidbit.  Bobbing for apples is based on a mix of roman and pagan halloween traditions.  Bobbing for apples is usually played by children.  However, its origins are thought to be based off of a pagan fertility rite, where the first girl who manages to grab an apple (which the romans introduced to the pagans, as a symbol of their fertility goddess) in her mouth, was usually the next one allowed to marry.  So, every year on the most holy of nights (All Hallows Eve), children are playing an ancient pagan fertility rite that determines if they will be allowed to marry soon.  Hey, sounds legit to me.  As long as the kids have fun, and no one loses an eye, who cares?

That's all for tonight.  Who knows what movie I will pick tomorrow night?  Come back and find out!  Same bat-time, same bat-channel, same bat-shit-crazy!  :-D

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