1988: I was eleven, and all sorts of wonderful horror movies would play on TV… Deadly Friend, Chopping Mall, House, Prom Night, TerrorVision… and one of my favorites was Night of the Creeps. At the time I didn’t know it was a retro/parody/tribute sort of thing… didn’t realize the comedy in horror films (Freddy’s puns aside) was sometimes intentional, and didn’t catch the references to Night of the Living Dead, the tribute to cop-on-the-edge stories, or the smooth sci-fi/horror/comedy blend (which I enjoyed in such klassics as “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”) because I was too busy being actually scared by “Night of the Creeps”. The jokester kid who figures out how to stop the brain-slugs (fire/heat), then gets infected himself and crawls away to the boiler room to do himself in? One of the most terrifying things I’d ever seen on TV.
Unbelievably, when I rewatched it today, the movie was still good. Not as scary as it used to be, but clever and high quality. There wasn’t a better killer-alien-slug movie made before or since.
Things I’d forgotten: the b/w 50’s flashback intro and the whole detective character, but not much else. Either it’s very memorable or I watched it more times than I probably should’ve in the 80’s.
Lead characters are named Romero, Hooper, Cronenberg, Carpenter, Cameron (James? for Aliens?), Landis and Raimi – cute. He casts John Carpenter alum Tom Atkins as the troubled detective, and Joe Dante fave Dick Miller as the police armorer (even giving him Joe Dante/Roger Corman stock character name Walter). I did not notice George Clooney, rumored to have a bit part as a janitor.
Funny, Fred Dekker also wrote “House”. I’ve always thought the poster for “Creeps” (zombie hand opening a door) evoked the “ding dong, you’re dead” poster for “House”. And of course, Dekker wrote/directed another TV fave of my youth, “Monster Squad”, before killing his career with “Robocop 3”.
This is unique: referencing your NEXT film rather than your previous one
Fake though it looks, it used to scare me:
Your stars, Rusty Griswold from “European Vacation” and an extra from “Porky’s”:
Below: David Paymer as “young scientist”. This film was released the same month Paymer blew minds as “Larry, scientist” in George Lucas’s acclaimed “Star Wars” trilogy follow-up “Howard the Duck”
Dick Miller doesn’t want no trouble: