Night of the Creeps is available to rent or buy now.
Just for a moment, I want you to picture a huge cinematic blender. Into that imaginary blender, I want you to place Animal House (1978), The Blob (1958), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and finally Dawn of the Dead (1978). Now switch the blender on, and sprinkle in a bit of the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles (1984). The result of this decadent cinematic recipe is Fred Dekker’s inspired slice of 1980s B-Movie science fiction/horror, Night of the Creeps.
Dekker’s directorial debut suffered from a limited cinema release, ultimately leading to a financial flop in 1986. However, by the time it hit the local video shop shelves, Night of the Creeps quickly found its audience, with many stumbling upon it randomly as they sought out their evening VHS entertainment. Ultimately this was where I would discover Dekker’s movie on one Friday night after college in 1994. On arriving home that night, my bundle of three VHS tapes in hand, I had no idea what to expect from Dekker’s movie, but as I switched on the TV and inserted the black tape, I was in for a delightful surprise.
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From its opening scenes, Night of the Creeps carries a tongue-in-cheek charm that ensures its place as a defining 80s love letter to the B-Movie horrors and teen comedies that came before it. Here we have a twenty-six-year-old director playing with new ideas in creating an 80s gem that continues to shine thirty-five years later. Dekker ensures his pastiche of genres never loses sight of its self-aware nod to classic horror and science fiction.
But, while Night of the Creeps may have been a love letter to the films Dekker grew up watching, it has also gone on to inspire others. For example, people often comment on the influence of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing on Robert Rodriguez’s 1998 science fiction/horror The Faculty, but rarely mention the apparent influence of Night of the Creeps. The Faculty not only uses the same space slugs, but it also embodies a similar High School aesthetic and humour. Here, Rodriguez pays homage to the same movies as Dekker while including Night of the Creeps in his classic B-Movie science fiction/horror list.
Is Dekker’s debut feature perfect? No, like all debuts, there are flaws, but many of these would be ironed out in his following picture, the outstanding The Monster Squad. However, even though it may not be perfect, Night of the Creeps is the ideal late-night 80s B-Movie horror, a love letter to the genre and its creativity, a cult classic that has never received enough praise.