Terrifying Tuesday:Night of the Creeps (1986)

There are some movies that you just kick yourself for missing. Then you try and track them down and they become elusive. There’re the movies that you want to watch, that you can’t wait for, and you would if only someone would cooperate and make it available. Tonight’s film is one of these. I’ve been on the lookout for this one for a long time ,and thanks to our friends at Cinema De Bizarre, I finally got to see it (Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter over there at CDB). So without further ado, here’s a flick that I hope will thrill you as much as it
 thrilled me!

Night of the Creeps (1986) starring Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, and Tom Atkins. Directed by Fred Dekker.

It’s 1959 and a young couple, Pam and Johnny, ignoring the warning on the radio about an escaped axe murderer, go parking on lover’s lane. They get rousted out of their spot by a cop, her ex-boyfriend Ray. As they drive away there’s a flash of light overhead and Johnny gets out to investigate leaving Pam in the car. He finds a strange tube in the woods, and as he investigates a slug leaps from it and right down his throat.

Then it’s 1986 and Pledge Week on campus at Corman University. Freshmen dorks, J.C. and Chris (Marshall and Lively) are out checking out the parties when Chris spies the ravishing Cindy (Whitlow). He would do anything to get near her, but Chris know this means he has to get into a fraternity. He tries to pledge Beta, but first he must pass the initiation. Chris must retrieve a body from the morgue and deposit it on a rival fraternity’s steps.

J.C. and Chris go to get the body, but they stumble on to something far stranger. They find Johnny’s body has been cryogenically frozen, and they attempt to steal it. On they’re way out it grabs at Chris’ arm and the two drop the body and take off. The body has a mind of its own and makes its way back to Sorority row, but he hasn’t come alone. He’s got a head full of Alien slugs that want to put the life back into the afterlife.

Film Facts

--The characters all have names which are nods to horror film legends, Chris Romeo, John Carpenter Hooper, Cindy Cronenburg, and Detectives Savini, Landis, and Cameron. The name of the university they attend, Corman College, is a nod to Roger Corman.

--Fred Dekker also helmed The Monster Squad (1987) and Robocop 3 (1993).

--Tom Atkins is the man. (Not debatable, that’s why it’s a film fact.), and he started in genre pictures with 1980’s The Fog.

The Bugg Speaks

I feel a bit like I’m way behind just getting to see this one. So it will come to no surprise to anyone who has seen this film that it is great. I really wish I had seen it when I was younger. If I had seen this back when I was 12 or 13, this probably would have been one of my favorite films ever. As it is, it’s one that will bring me back for many more viewings, and I think the perfect film to throw on while people are over.

What NOTC does as good, if not better, than other horror/comedies like Shawn of the Dead or Evil Dead 2, is walk that narrow tightrope between the two. This flick manages to lampoon the genre without falling back on broad humor or direct parody, and all the while build on a basis of a John Hughes film. There’s so many ways it could go wrong. Lively and Marshall were a great pairing, and it’s too bad they both seem to have limited careers. Their chemistry and line delivery (“oh God, oh, God, oh God“) bring the perfect kind of humor to the proceedings. When you add in the presence of Tom Atkins as Detective Ray “Thrill Me” Cameron, the film kicks into gear and goes from good to great. The infinitely quotable script, also by director Dekker, is well paced and keeps the movie moving briskly.

During the midst of the one liners, there is a pretty fair amount of the red stuff flowing. Slug zombies get wasted in a variety of ways including a very wonderful scene with a lawn mower. When you’ve got Tom Atkins saying things like, “What I’m gonna need is your standard flamethrower.” you know where this movie is headed.

Usually when someone sets out to specifically create a cult film, it falls flat. This time, as with Dekker’s follow up The Monster Squad, the way the source material is used makes the difference. Each of those films comes from a place of cult movie fandom; so, for genre film fans, these films have an instant draw. All the same, the humor alone will sell many non-horror loving people in your life. So pick this one up, watch it alone or invite a few friends over, either way it’s a great film and a must see. 

Bug Rating


  1. This is one I completely forgot about. Thanks for reminding of how great it is. One I definitely want to see again.

  2. Thanks for the comment , Fran. We should get together and give this one a second viewing soon.

  3. A definite Classic - Great Review, and I definitely agree with your rating!


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