Starring: Tom Atkins, Todd Bryant, Elizabeth Cox, Tex Donaldson, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Elizabeth Alda, Bruce Solomon
Written By: Fred Dekker
Directed By: Fred Dekker
Studio: Sony Pictures
Distributor: Scream Factory
Original Year of release: 1986
Run Time: 88 / 90 min
Night of the Creeps has gone from a quirky sci-fi horror film of the day to achieving cult status and the demand for the film (both versions) has only intensified. In 1959 an alien capsule falls to Earth. From this capsule emerges alien parasites that create a zombie-like state of their host as they feed on the brain. Eventually, they will burst free and begin this cycle all over again. Thankfully a rookie cop stops the first of these parasite infected zombies but not before witnessing the brutal death of his ex-lover. Jump twenty-seven years later and two college freshmen unwittingly release this infected zombie and the night of the creeps finally begins.
The film is considered a modern classic by fans of the genre. It is a great mishmash of horror and science fiction films that pay homage to everything from plots, themes and to those that have created them. Dekker’s (who also wrote the script) greatest tribute is in the names of the characters. Landis, Cameron, Raimi, and Corman are just a few names that appear in the film. It is interesting to note that some may scoff at this but at the time and even today all these names are still not normally household names.
Night of Creeps, at one point, was long been out of circulation. The Sci-Fi Channel (notice the spelling?) once ran an extended TV cut and that version was the only way I had ever seen it. Interestingly enough, Dekker’s director’s cut erases several of the more explanatory scenes from the film. The how, why and reasoning for characters and creatures lose a little bit here. If one has never seen these scenes fear not they are in included on the Blu-ray.
Night of the Creeps is presented in 1080p High Definition with a screen ratio of 1.85:1. The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD and the bonus features are a mix of High Definition and Standard Definition. This makes Night of the Creeps look pristine. If it weren’t for the age of the actors the film could be seen as taking place in the eighties instead of filmed during the eighties. There are many now visible jokes in the film that have been restored with the picture quality. The best joke or perhaps reference is one to Dekker’s next film, The Monster Squad. Look for it in the bathroom scene with J.C. (Steve Marshall).
The Blu-ray is packed with commentaries by Dekker and the cast. A great treat for any fan new or old of the film. There is a trivia track that is packed with plenty of insight and history that actually pertains to the film. It is strange that with all that was put into this Blu-ray it appears as subtitles instead of making it have a lot more pizzazz. The trivia track is also your best source of knowledge for the references and the difference between the TV version and the director’s cut.
With multiple versions of the film available, in one format or another, one has to wonder why the TV version wasn’t included. Blu-rays boast more memory capacity than a normal DVD. This is great for the picture quality but does the movie and all these special features really fill the Blu-ray? Having the TV version on here is a must and the only thing really lacking from the disc. Thankfully the deleted scenes are included and the original theatrical ending. Dekker’s director’s cut ending is the one that was scripted. It merely changes who gets the final scare.
Night of the Creeps is far from perfect but that is indeed part of its charm. There is little reasoning for several moments in the film. Why do we see the aliens in 1959 in full color but then see Earth of 1959 in black and white? Why does it take the aliens almost thirty years to find the creeps? These are just a few things but this type of movie is supposed to be fun and tongue in cheek anyway. If you are going to scrutinize this type of film you have already missed the point. Just go with it.
DISC ONE: Theatrical Version
· NEW Final Cut – an interview with editor Michael N. Knue