What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said several times before by people far older than me? I’m fairly sure it was the first horror movie I ever saw, and it started a lifelong love story. From what I can remember, it was on TV one night in the very early 90’s, and a young James was getting sick of watching “MacGuyver” all the damn time with his mom. So, she decided to change the channel, and found a late-night showing of 1986’s “Night of the Creeps.” The movie starts out with some sort of…alien…thing…running from a few of its own kind, clutching some sort of black cylinder. Much to the other alien’s chagrin, the first one manages to eject the cylinder into space, sending it hurtling to Earth, circa 1959. Wisely, the next few minutes of the movie are filmed in black and white, in which we see some hapless 50’s guy get an alien slug in his mouth, at which point we flash forward to the present day (1986) in the middle of Pledge Week at Corman University. At this point, let me just point out that ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE in this movie is named after a famous (or at least well-liked) horror director. Everyone from Raimi to Cronenberg gets a shout out in this movie, and its worth it.
“Night of the Creeps” was one of the first horror movies to actually strive for the B-movie feel, striking a wonderful balance between camp, horror, gore, and comedy that makes it totally fucking awesome. Anyway, in 1986, the two main characters get tricked into unlocking the cryogenically frozen body of the guy from the beginning, who wanders around until his head pops and a bunch of evil space slugs escape. The movie then becomes a zombie survival story as people start getting space slugs in their heads and go around trying to give them to everyone else. Bunch of assholes, if you ask me. It all comes down to the final assault on a sorority house, at which point the main characters, both hero and heroine, get the chance to pull off a badass flamethrower/lawnmower combo that runs train on the zombies.
Now for the ending. I actually remember the very end of the movie better than any other part, probably because the ending I remember was so…bleak. The one I saw when watching for the purpose of this review, however, was forgettable. It was like any other 80’s twist ending, except it had a dog. If this unknown gem of a movie ever makes it to DVD, I order the powers that be to release it with the good ending. It’s way cooler, ends the movie on a darker note, and gives you more to talk about. Apparently it was also the original ending, but the producers didn’t like it and forced the director to change it. Again…bunch of assholes if you ask me. Now, don’t get me wrong, this movie is far from perfect.
For example; why the FLYING FUCK does that police station have a flamethrower in their armory? Kudos to them for using the guy from “Return of the Living Dead” though. That was awesome. That’s more or less indicative of most of the problems I have with this movie. Little things that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter. This movie is not about flawless logic and realism, it’s about a nerd and the girl of his dreams killing frat boys possessed by brain-eating space slugs. And in the end, isn’t that what America is all about? Killing things that try to eat your brains? Yes, my friends. Yes it is.