Directed by Fred Dekker [Other horror films: The Monster Squad (1987)]
This is a solid piece of campy fun, and while Night of the Creeps is a rather tongue-in-cheek film, it’s not too much as to be distracting, and ends up an all-around entertaining movie.
Honestly, there’s not that much to the story, and ignoring the stylistic black-and-white flashback introduction, the movie takes place over the course of just a few days. That doesn’t make the film weak, by any means, but it certainly doesn’t have that epic feel you might expect (which is probably to it’s benefit).
If there’s one place where I think the movie maybe went a bit overboard, it’s with the constant references to famous horror-related directors and actors, such as Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, Steve Miner, Sam Raimi, and David Cronenberg, among others. We got it after the first few names popped up. On the other hand, Atkins’ saying “Thrill me” never got old, nor was I unhappy to see Dick Miller for a few moments.
Jason Lively wasn’t the best here – I just didn’t really care for the look of him. I think he was a fine companion piece with Jill Whitlow, though, and his friendship with Steve Marshall (who, in himself, was a sort of unique character, what with the disability) was sort of nice to see.
Let’s be honest, though. The true star here is Dick Miller, who’s been in tons of horror films, from Chopping Mall to Gremlins, The Little Shop of Horrors to The Howling, Demon Knight – wait, no. Upon further examination, I think Tom Atkins is the true star, though as always, it’s fantastic to see Dick Miller pop up, even though it’s for only a single scene.
Tom Atkins (The Fog, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and Maniac Cop) was great here. You couldn’t help but feel for him upon learning about his full backstory, and that scene in which he decides to help out Spanky as opposed to killing himself was oddly touching, as was the conclusion. Atkins was great here, and I thought he brought a lot to this film, especially since virtually no one else here aside from Miller had experience with horror.
The special effects are all pretty good aside from that pile of slugs at the end, which looked somewhat janky (and to be fair, that dog puppet didn’t look the best either). Slugs are admittedly probably hard to mess up, but they looked good here, and the zombie designs were all admirable (if a bit uninspired, but that wasn’t the focus, so I can’t complain).
With quite a few amusing quotes throughout (including the one on the poster about the ‘good news/bad news’) and a good sense of what this movie was going for, Night of the Creeps is a good film that’s well-worth it’s cult classic status. It doesn’t blow me away, but it’s always a fun watch.