Night of the Creeps
Review Date: November 1, 2009
Released by: Columbia Tri-Star
Release date: October 27, 1999
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
eluded me during my childhood, which is a bit surprising given how big a fan I am of writer and director Fred Dekker's The Monster Squad
, his followup to Night of the Creeps
back in the 80s. I caught a viewing a few years back on MonstersHD (rest in peace) and immediately fell in love. It has the same charm and humor as Monster Squad
, though with an adult tone. Like the Squad
was a box office disappointment that gained a large cult following over the years on home video. It took Lions Gate a long time to release The Monster Squad
, though one could argue the rights for that title have been shifting around over the years. Creeps
has no such excuse. Sony/Tri-Star has owned the title all along and it took them until 2009 to release it onto DVD and blu-ray. That's shameful but they seemingly righted their wrong and released Creeps
as a full blown special edition. They even let Dekker release his Director's Cut, keeping the original "TV Ending" in tact. The only questions left are on the quality of the presentation as well as the extras. Lets take a look and find out how the blu-ray holds up.
On an alien aircraft, a rogue alien launches a canister 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 canister, 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.
Columbia Tri-Star presents Night of the Creeps
in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is a definite improvement over the MonstersHD presentation. The MonstersHD presentation was broadcast with a lower bit-rate and doesn't have the same level of detail on the blu-ray. The colors on the blu-ray are superior as well, boasting a lot more vibrancy. There's still a good amount of grain to be found on the blu-ray but the detail remains razor sharp. I found no print blemishes or MPEG artificating. I briefly took a look at the DVD and considering it is struck from the same master as this blu-ray, the only real difference is the greater detail found on the blu-ray thanks to the increased resolution and bit-rate.
Sony included a new DTS track for the blu-ray release and I have to say it's definitely an impressive one. This is a movie with a good amount of action and the surrounds and LFE activity kick into high gear during such scenes. I found no distortion on the track and dialogue was clear throughout.
This is where fans' dreams come true. Sony really outdid themselves with the supplements and fans are going to enjoy every single one of them. First up are the two audio commentary tracks. The first is with writer/director Fred Dekker and Michael Felsher of of Red Shirt Pictures. Anyone that knows Felsher, who previous worked at Anchor Bay, knows he is a fan of the genre. The two feed off each other and keep things moving along in the commentary. It was a joy to hear Dekker talk about the production, some of the quirks to the film, and the many challenges he faced. The second, cast commentary features Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow, Steve Marshall. The three are clearly fond of one another and though the track isn't as detailed as Dekker's, as a fan I still enjoyed listening to the group share their stories of the production.
Next is the 60-minute documentary, presented in high definition, titled Thrill Me
that's broken up into five segments - Birth of the Creeps, Cast of the Creeps, Creating the Creeps, Escape of the Creeps, Legend of the Creeps. Each segment is fairly self explanatory that covers how the movie came to be, casting, special effects, Dekker's struggle with the studio, and ultimately the cult following the movie now has. There are tons of enjoyable interviews with cast and crew, along with fans. I particularly enjoyed the cast interviews as it truly seems like old friends getting together again to reminisce. They goof on one another during the interviews and it's just good stuff to see. I always enjoy extras that much more when the group cares about one another - it's more personal. Plus it's always fun to see the cast X amount of years later to see how they look today. Jill Whitlow is still absolutely beautiful! The fan interview after a screening at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema where he pulls out an autographed laserdisc and states that the disc is now worthless (thanks to the DVD release) is classic. Truly a memorable moment for a laserdisc fan like myself. Fans should also appreciate Dekker discussing a possible sequel should the blu-ray and DVD be successful - very cool. It's a great documentary overall and I was definitely left wanting more.
Next is Tom Atkins: Man of Action
, another high definition documentary featuring Atkins discussing how is career came to be and how he first started working in the genre. It's about 20 minutes in length and it's another top notch supplement. Atkins comes across warm and friendly and you can't help but smile as you listen to him discuss his career with such a great amount of pride.
Seven deleted scenes are included and are presentation in standard definition. None are noteworthy but are still an interesting viewing for fans. The original theatrical ending featuring the "cheap scare" is also included, which I suppose should now be considered a deleted scene on this Director's Cut. Closing out the supplements are the original theatrical trailer in high definition, and several previews for other Sony movies.
Blu-Ray owners rejoice! Not only has Night of the Creeps
been released, but The Monster Squad
is also due for release on the format this month. Sony did a phenomenal job with this release and in my eyes has made up for every wrong they've ever done. I'm even thankful they won the war against HD-DVD now. Truly it's a great disc that every fan should own, whether on blu-ray or DVD. Considering the age of the movie, the transfer is near perfect and the DTS soundtrack is equally as good. The supplements are terrific; I was left wanting more but make no mistake, there's a good amount here. Easily one of the best genre discs of the year. Highly recommended as a must own.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - A+
- Running time - 1 hour 30 minutes
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English DTS 5.1
- English subtitles
- Commentary with Writer/ Director Fred Dekker
- Cast Commentary
- Original Theatrical Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- Thrill Me documentary
- Tom Atkins: Man of Action documentary
- Trivia Track
- Original Theatrical Trailer