Night of the Creeps (HD)
This will review will generate more controversy than the great Cruel Intentions 2 rebellion of 2001! I kid, but there's no doubt many are wondering why and how I'm reviewing a movie that does not exist on DVD. The review being presented to you is for the MonstersHD presentation of Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps. Broadcast in 1080p, what better way to see a movie at home? This review also marks the first high def. review for the site! The reason for the review is to spur some discussion of the movie and let the studios know we want this on DVD. The solid sales of Dekker's Monster Squad will hopefully assist in this, but the travesty is that this very high def presentation exists! A 16x9 high def transfer already exists for Night of the Creeps. Put the damn thing onto DVD for us fans.
I promised myself I wouldn't pimp MonstersHD too much in this review, and I won't, but I will share some of my thoughts on the channel before I start the review. I moved recently and one of my first questions to any prospective landlord was: Can I install a satellite dish? It was a stipulation of mine. I've been wanting Dish Network for a long time, specifically for the Monsters HD channel. It was literally love at first sight. Imagine seeing high definition broadcasts of all our favorite horror movies? Halloween, Friday the 13th, Day of the Dead, Howling, American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead, Jason and the Argonauts, and so many more. It's literally a dream. The first thing I do when I flip on the TV is switch it onto 9481 and see what's playing. They even have the Subspecies trilogy, which, image quality wise, puts the laserdisc and DVD releases to shame. There are many repeats, but is it a bad thing to flip onto the channel and see Halloween playing several times a week? And some new movies do sneak their way into the lineup. Recently some additional Friday the 13th sequels were added and more recent horror flicks like House of 1000 Corpses and May. Bottom line: the channel rocks for horror fans.
What's interesting with Night of the Creeps was my first viewing of the movie was on MonstersHD. Yes, those on the forum know I'm a huge fan of Dekker's Monster Squad, but I never managed to see Night of the Creeps. It eluded me as a child and during my laserdisc heyday of hunting down rare P&S horror discs. I can't tell you why, either. It just never crossed my radar. This review is my second viewing of the movie. I'll hold my thoughts to the end of the review, and I'll also tell you got better or worse with the second viewing. Strap on your flame throwers as we take a look at the MonstersHD presentation of Night of the Creeps.
On an alien aircraft, a rogue alien launches a cannister towards earth containing a sensitive experiment. It hits earth in the year 1959. Two teens, Johnny and Pam, are out parking and see the object fireball its way onto earth. They drive off to the nearby crash site to investigate. Pam waits in the car while Johnny goes off to take a look. While Johnny is away, an emergency news bulletin plays on the radio indicating an escaped mental patient is on the loose and is in the area. Johnny discovers the cannister, but before long it breaks open and a creep shoots straight into his mouth. Pam is left alone, with a shot of the escaped lunatic closing in on her in the background.
Fast forward to Pledge Week 1986, college geeks JC (Steve Marshall) and Chris (Jason Lively) are out on the prowl for babes. Chris is depressed over their status as "lame-oids", while JC tries his best to cheer up his best friend. Chris lays eyes upon a college girl named Cythnia (Jill Whitlow) at a party and instantly falls for her. He gathers up his courage and heads into a party at the Beta fraternity house to try and talk to her. He doesn't manage to talk to her, but convinces himself the only way he has a shot at her is the join the Beta fraternity. The two pals talk to Brad (Allan Kayser), the fraternity's leader and, unbeknownst to them, Cindy's boyfriend. He promises to let them in if they can produce an actual corpse for use in a prank.
JC and Chris checkout the medical building's morgue where they stumble upon the cryogenically frozen body of Johnny, the teen who in 1959 had a creep shoot into his mouth. JC disengages the system and they drag the body onto the floor, hoping that they've found their corpse. When the corpse briefly moves, the two high-tail it out of there. Detective Ray Morgan (Tom Atkins) is called onto the scene to investigate the attempted theft and the discovery of two bodies. The two geeks have unknowingly released the creeps onto the world, and they're looking for human hosts. What ensues is a night of creepy crawlers, flame throwing babes, bad one-liners, and screaming banshees as JC, Chris, Cindy, and Detective Morgan try and stop a full out assault of walking corpses.
If Dekker's Monster Squad is an homage to the Universal monster movies, then perhaps Night of the Creeps is an homage to bad B movies everywhere. One can look at the character names themselves to see where the homages begin - Christopher Romero, James Carpenter Hooper, Cynthia Cronenberg, Det. Ray Cameron, Det. Landis, and Sgt. Raimi. The movie itself is a mix of several horror elements, from sci-fi and 50s horror, to the slasher. Homages aside, Night of the Creeps is a fun movie that holds up well with repeat viewings. It doesn't take itself seriously and is more than happy to poke fun at itself and the genre. Tom Atkins, a familiar face to horror fans, is the driving force behind the self mocking, spouting off lines such as "Thrill me", "No, it's Bozo the Clown", and "What is this a homicide or a bad B-movie?".
While Tom is the driving force behind the humor, the entire cast do a great job with their performances. Jason Lively and Steve Marshall do a great job as the two college geeks. There is a chemistry between them, with Jason's character of Chris being the one always down and Steve's character of JC, the handicapped best friend, is the one always doing everything he can to cheer him up. Then there is the beautiful Jill Whitlow, a classic 80s character that I'll admit this was my first introduction to. She give a fun performance, going from damsel in distress to kickass heroine.
Night of the Creeps escaped me for all these years, but I was happy to have finally found it. It has some decent special effects and a good dose of gore that is sure to please. The movie works because it pokes fun at the genre plus itself, and runs with it, providing an entertaining tale. A movie like Scream pokes fun at the genre in general but fails when it then tries to be a serious horror. If you have yet to see Night of the Creeps, track down a copy and it a watch. You're sure to be pleased. Oh, and keep an eye out for the "Go Monster Squad" message.
Having never owned or seen the domestic VHS or laserdisc, I have nothing to compare this to. This HD broadcast of Night of the Creeps, which marks the first HD review for the site, is top notch and stands fine on its own. While we always prefer to compare it to past releases, it's a somewhat moot point when the past releases are 15 years old and are being compared to a newly created high def. print. Several scenes throughout the presentation contain a fair amount of grain, which is about the only complaint I have. The image is razor sharp, which in part is thanks to the extra resolution provided by the high def broadcast. Colors are consistently vibrant and there were no print blemishes that I could find. If there's one other complaint, it's that this print does not exist on DVD or HD disc. I'm rating it with an A-.
I could not find any technical information on MonstersHD site regarding the sound for Night of the Creeps, but according to my receiver, it was a 5.1 track. That was somewhat surprising because there's little activity from the rears and only moderate LFE activity, which was disappointing. Dialog and soundtrack are crisp and clear; I heard no distortion or flaws. I'm rating it with a B- only due to the disappointing 5.1 track.
Given this review is from a television broadcast, there are no extras to speak of. Lets hope that changes someday.
Night of the Creeps is a great horror-comedy that will entertain fans of the genre. The sad reality is that as of this writing (October 2007), the movie has yet to be released onto DVD or HD disc. The opening credits of the broadcast show the Columbia Tri-Star logo, so head on over to their web site and shoot them a polite email or a handwritten letter. Let them know we want this on DVD and Blu-Ray, and we want them now. With the success of the Monster Squad DVD, it's a no-brainer. In the meantime, the best way to view Night of the Creeps is through the MonstersHD channel, where it's broadcast on a regular basis in a solid high def. presentation, albeit with a lacking 5.1 track.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B-
Supplements - N/A
Before it comes up, because I know it will, this review is NOT of the bootleg DVD that is floating around. Though that bootleg DVD is from the HD broadcast. This review is of the actual HD broadcast that I viewed upon MonstersHD.
Discuss the bootleg if you want, but to not discuss where it can be obtained. That is against the site's rules.
Even though I'd like to think I'd seen most of the pivotal horror films of the 80s, I had never seen this classic or Monster Squad either. Thanks to other members of this board, a couple of years back I got DVD-Rs of the VHS versions. Night of the Creeps was as good as people say it is. It holds up well and is a really fun film to watch. You can definitely see that it was an influence to the recent horror film Slither.
I've loved NOTC ever since I was a kid. When I met Tom Atkins at a horror con back in 2005, he told me he gets asked about NOTC more than anything he has ever done in his entire career.
I've always missed this one. I'll be watching it for the first time tonight on MonstersHD. I'm glad that you're taking HD broadcasts into consideration on your movie reviews here. There is so much high quality being offered on Satellite right now its hard to buy another standard DVD release ever again.
On some rare occasions the HD broadcast will even surpass the HD DVD/Blu-Ray. The Fog is a good example.
Thanks for the review, color me jealous for living in Canada and not being able to legally subscribe to MostersHD, grrr!
Oh well, I managed to snag a DVD-R from the HD broadcast to tide me over, but I too wish there was a legit dvd/blu ray made available for the masses. Speaking of the Monster Squad DVD (very pleased to own it too!), I wonder if Columbia/Tristar even still owns the rights to it? I for one would hope that one of the more appropriate distributers like: Lionsgate (Maple in Canada), Anchor Bay(Starz), Blue Underground, Elite Entertainment, etc get their hands on it. If so, the chances of there being some great features included are greatly increased, am I wrong?
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