Splatter Time Fun Fest 2014: Night of the Creeps (1986)

night of the creeps

Makes me all the happier that I avoided Fraternity life!

Written By: Fred Dekker
Directed By: Fred Dekker

Can a movie overcome a complete lack of originality? That’s the question Fred Dekker asks of his audience with Night of the Creeps. He’s brought forth a film that is more a collection of ideas and scenes from other movies than anything else. There’s call backs to 1950s creature features, 1970s zombie flicks, 1980s slashers, and much more in Night of the Creeps. The film never finds its own identity, instead Mr. Dekker’s film is content to slosh around in a hodgepodge of horror ideas and homages.

I’ve written a lot in the past about how originality is overrated. For as much as I do think that Night of the Creeps eventually wears out its welcome, it gets by for a long time without being original. What Mr. Dekker does with the material he is borrowing is what is important to the success of the film. He imbues his film with a sort of irreverent fun, it’s as if the characters themselves know that they are riffing on much better and much more interesting films. When Tom Adkins winks at the camera late in the film he’s not winking at any character, he’s winking at us. The characters in the film are in on the joke, and that does make the film a heck of a lot more fun than it had any right to be.

As I alluded to in the last paragraph, Night of the Creeps does overstay its welcome. The film only runs an hour and a half, but even in that time it becomes clear early on that Mr. Dekker is limited in what he can do with the materials he’s borrowed. Night of the Creeps would have been better as an hour length feature. Trim out all the character stuff, it realistically has no place in the film. The attempts to add any sort of meat to the characters are hollow and don’t serve the true purpose of the film.

I’m happy I was able to watch Night of the Creeps. I did, after all, have quite a bit of fun with this 1980s schlock fest. I have a place in my heart for cheesy horror films, and Night of the Creeps is a welcome edition to the ranks of cheesy horror films I like. It’s not perfect by any measure, and Mr. Dekker’s film spends too much time on characters who don’t actually matter. Still, on the whole Night of the Creeps is plenty of fun and that’s all the movie really wants to be. Taking that into account Night of the Creeps succeeds more than it fails, proving yet again that originality is overrated.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

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