Night of the Creeps

tn_nightofthecreepsMan, I knew everybody loved NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, but the way people talked about it I always figured it was some nostalgic grew-up-in-the-80s thing like GOONIES or heavy metal. No, it turns out NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is truly fucking great! You guys should’ve been more clear!

It’s a movie with a really unique feel. The only thing it reminds me of is RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, but for nerds instead of punks. It has a similar tone of funny-but-serious, similar stylishly cartoonish effects and puppet zombies (see thumbnail), similar confident visual style and storytelling. It lets the horror unfold a piece at a time (aliens, ax-murdering escaped mental patient in the 1950s, cryogenics, zombies, space slugs) and it just seems to know what it’s doing so I never questioned that it would all come together and make sense. And it did. It’s just great writing and directing – Fred Dekker, I forgive you for ROBOCOP III.

mp_nightofthecreepsThe heroes are two college nerds, Chris (the kid that played Rusty Griswold in EUROPEAN VACATION) and J.C. (on crutches). Chris sees and instantly falls in love with a pretty sorority girl named Cindy, whose boyfriend is a REVENGE OF THE NERDS style frat king called “The Bradster.” At this point in the movie I was a little iffy. Chris is a somewhat annoying dork and J.C. is one of those fast-talking “cool” best friends like Stiles in the TEEN WOLF saga. After a great horror opening I thought maybe this was devolving into crappy ’80s college comedy. The turning point for me wasn’t a horror scene, it was an emotional one where J.C. gets fed up with Chris’s whining and yells at him about how much he goes through just to try to make Chris happy, never getting anything himself, including gratitude. And there’s the unspoken reality that he’s on crutches and that’s gonna be a bigger obstacle in life (and getting laid) than just being a nerd, and yet you don’t hear him complaining about his life all the time. That’s when I realized these weren’t just types, they had a little depth to their relationship, and I was sold. Plus that Cindy girl seems genuinely sweet, and her last name is Cronenberg so she’s probly into some freaky shit.

But the hands down best character is Detective Cameron, played by the great Tom HALLOWEEN III Atkins. He’s a hard drinking, chain smoking, charmingly condescending homicide cop tough guy who answers his phone “thrill me” and calls the heroes “Spanky and Alfalfa.” He’s also very personally involved in this case – it ties into his high school days, his first days on the force, an incident that changed his whole life and still figures into his nightmares. But he’s so cool you want to see all his other less important investigations too.

The effects are great – skeletal puppet zombies like RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD or that thing in LIFEFORCE, and their heads split open and shoot fast moving alien slugs. I don’t even understand how they made those slugs move around. They look completely real to me. There are a zombie cat and dog too. Good stuff.

The movie is full of great jokes, quotable lines and memorable scenes, and I don’t want to list them all. But let me at least note the greatness of the scene where Cameron talks to Dick Miller about getting a flamethrower from the armory, and the one where a security guard crosses paths with the naked zombie corpse of David Paymer but is looking down at his clipboard and absent mindedly tells him he’ll see him tomorrow.

It’s a great balance of comedy and horror. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly scary, but it works well enough that when bad things happen to the characters it hurts. One of the main characters succumbs to the creeps, and it’s done in a really effective off-screen way. You see his encounter with them, but the worst part you only hear him describe on a tape that he leaves for his friends before dying.

Those of you who’ve been waiting forever for this DVD oughta be happy. It has 2 commentaries, some featurettes (one just on Tom Atkins) and it’s a director’s cut using a different ending that to my newcomer eyes seems better. (The original ending is on there separately.) In my opinion the best extra is the deleted scenes, though. This is the rare case where they’re not just a bunch of crap you’re glad they cut out. The scene “Cameron vs. Raimi” especially, that’s a hilarious Tom Atkins dialogue scene. I think the later one that pays off the joke should’ve been put back in. There’s also a longer intro to the ’50s black and white part of the movie that I can see why they cut, but it gives new context that makes the first zombie’s appearance at the sorority house funny. If I’d seen this movie a bunch of times over the years that would’ve made me say “Eureka!”

In conclusion, you guys were right, I loved this movie. Shit, I’m even gonna listen to you and watch that MONSTER SQUAD now.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 11:25 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

69 Responses to “Night of the Creeps”

  1. Okay, don’t have too high hopes on “Monster Squad”, because this is SERIOUSLY one of these movies, that you can only enjoy when you saw them as a kid.
    But I SO love “Night Of The Creeps”, since I accidently recorded it from TV years ago. I wanted to watch something else, but then recorded the wrong channel. I didn’t regret it.

  2. Thrill me!
    Detective Cameron?
    No , Bozo the Clown!

    I don’t know why , but I just love Tom Atkins delivering that line , one of my favorite scenes in the movie . Here in Italy the movie is called Dimensione Terrore ( Terror Dimension ) , and obviously I’ve seen the Italian dubbing first . Italian dubbing is hit or miss , sometimes makes the movie more fun ( Braindead ) , but sometimes it just flat out sucks. Don’t get me wrong , I always try to see the movie in the original language , but with this film is mandatory ! Man this movie has everything : unsure if you want to watch an alien or zombie movie ? Put this sucker in! Another thing I like is the attention to detail , sadly missing in a lot of movies today , they’ve got all kinds of shit going on but no, this is not enough , they also pull off 3 different time periods , all well made: the past , the “present” ( the 80’s ) and the futuristic inside of the alien ship. In my opinion this movie is also a perfect double feature with another little movie called ELIMINATORS ( not as great , but fun ) , full of silly shit like cyborgs , ninjas and savages . Watch this 2 movies back to back , and you will see everything man has to offer .

  3. i am so glad you finally watched this movie.

  4. Talking about MONSTER SQUAD , well , that’s the movie with a “GOONIES” feel . It really is a movie with kids having an adventure , with no Bad Ass character like Detective Cameron ( well , there’s a bad ass Kid ….) and silly shit going on , but it’s also an update of all the classic Universal monsters , including my favorite , the Creature from the Black Lagoon , with really good old school special effects , by Stan Winston himself . I still like it even today but , of course , I’m a retarded man-child , so maybe for you it will be different.The tone is lighthearted , but with some serious stuff ( Scary German Guy ) and some of the scenes are really pushing the Kids Movie feel a little far , but not as far as , say , Gremlins . But , Vern , if you endured and survived Garfield , you will have no problems with this .

  5. I totally called this! I fucking loved this movie and Monster Squad to, although that one is close to something like Abbott and Costello with kids then a serious attempt to blend humor and comedy. But I think the thing that saves it are the same kind of little touches that Vern mentions with this movie. I won’t give them away, but there are just so many little throwaway moments involving the parents or the Scary German Guy that they seem more like real people then just plot devices.

    With Night of the Creeps, I’ve always loved how Dekker builds to the big confrontation, and how when the characters start putting the pieces together, they act surprised and freaked and out, but they deal with it and keep struggling on, not screaming and collapsing and over-acting like in so many other horror movies. No one’s making a speech about how this is “THE SINGLE GREATEST DANGER EARTH HAS EVER FACED!” even though technically it kind of is. It feels intimate, like the life and death struggle actually has weight on these characters we have come to love.

    And I’ll second Atkins being the best part of this movie. I love how when the kid runs to his house to tell him about the slugs, Atkins is sitting in his living room trying to commit suicide via gas tank, so when ‘Spanky’ starts banging on the door calling for him, the guy has to sit and legitimately decide to get up and rip the tape off. Wordless great acting from the Atkins.

  6. moved this up to #1 on my netflix que after this review, don’t disappoint me.

    I’ll also go ahead and warn you that Monster Squad won’t be great without the nostalgia glasses but maybe you’ll enjoy it, who knows.

    Has anyone seen this House of the Dead flick yet that’s in theaters now? It’s at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and its supposedly a throwback to 80’s slasher flicks in its cinematography, dialogue, acting etc.

  7. Vern, something tells me you made a whole lot of nerds happy today with this review.

  8. Everyone has a secret shame. You’d think mine would be that time I strangled one of my junior high classmates to death just to watch the light go out of his eyes. But no, it’s actually that I have never seen this movie.

    Don’t judge me.

  9. Great review, Vern. Hope you love “Monster Squad” as well.

  10. Shame on me, too

  11. Vern: this has nothing to do with NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, but if you’re still looking for good obscure slasher movies, I’ve heard very good things about a 1977 movie called RITUALS, starring Hal Holbrook. Never released on DVD but there must be VHS copies still floating around. Apparently it involves a bunch of doctors who go on some kind of wilderness retreat and get attacked by deformed cannibals. YouTube has the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl-vyFu8r-w

  12. I forgot all about Rituals, a not-bad early slasher in the Just Before Dawn vein. It was written up in Stephen King’s non-fiction book about the horror genre, Danse Macabre, as one of those minor gems that you hold onto for years not because they’re all that great but because you feel like you discovered them. This was written before video, so keeping your love of an obscure movie alive was more of a challenge than it is now.

  13. Hey, funny story: Rituals comes out on DVD November 17.

  14. you did the right thing by reviewing this one Vern. watched again on Sunday while carving pumpkins. no other movie besides Halloween gets me more in the spirit.

  15. NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is indeed awesome, but I don’t think Dekker can ever be forgiven for ROBOCOP 3. Never forget!

  16. CJ Holden – I disagree.

    Sure its a 80s kids movie, which is good and bad news. But with the monster shit, its kinda clever. Remember the pizza slice to the vampire’s face? Silly sure, but it makes sense. I wonder if Pizza Hut would be a tomb for Dracula.

    Hell its SHANE BLACK as a writer. C’mon, even on a silly low budget kiddie GOONIES-meets-monsters, he still dishes out some good scenes before he became the legend.

    My favorite moment (and no not “Wolfman has nards!”), is when the obligatory cliche older-“cooler” kid (because he wears a leather jacket, smokes, beats up younger kids, and is a peeping tom) goes out to kill the vampires and some kid says what he’s doing:

    “I’m in the goddamn club, aren’t I?”

    Hes incredibly very good, too good I suppose, with the archery shit. But hey still a good line.

    If anything, I prefer SQUAD to GOONIES. By a good touchdown. I guess SQUAD gets the vote because of that one disposable scene when the kids debate if a Werewolf could get killed in a car accident.

    That (too much) reminded me of my own childhood, and my friends discussing how “much” silver is needed to kill one.

  17. I think it’s a shame that the screenwriters of Monster Squad didn’t work together more often. Black & Dekker has a nice ring to it.

  18. Fun Useless Fact: MONSTER SQUAD got greenlighted during production of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (and before it died in theatres) so as a joke, apparently Dekker had on some bathroom set graffiti scrawled: “Go Monster Squad Go!”

    Or something to that effect.

  19. I know I’ve seen Night of the Comet but I honestly can’t remember if I’ve seen this or if I’m just remembering scenes from Night of the Comet. I should watch it either way I guess.

  20. Cool! Glad you liked this one Vern – next to the Evil Dead series and American Werewolf in London, probably my fav horror flick. I think you’ll like Monster Squad – another personal favourite – however it definitely is more of a nostalgic fav. Has some great lines and a few weird plot points, but definitely doesn’t feel like a true kids movie only because some of the language and violence keeps it more on the adult side and makes it hold up even now. I really miss PG movies that aren’t afraid to deal with grown up issues…

    I also tend to tear up at the end during the Frankenstein’s monster scene… not sure what the hell is wrong with me…

  21. This is one of the greatest days as a horror movie nerd ever. I loved Night of the Creeps and watched it all the time as a kid. About 5 years ago I met Tom Atkins and we discussed this movie. You can tell how much he loved making it. Earlier this year he was at the My Bloody Valentine 3D screening and he was more excited to talk about how this was finally coming to DVD and would recite all the lines. I got a signed photo that five years ago and he signed it “Thrill Me” What an awesome man.

    I think what really effected me about Night of the Creeps is the mentioned scene with his friend leaving the tape about what it felt like to have a slug in him. His bittersweet joy out of being able to walk almost makes me cry everytime.

  22. Lawrence : Wow , thanks for sharing ! You’ve got an autograph from Tom Atkins himself ? And he signed it with “Thrill Me” ? Ehm…Where do you live ? I might drop by….during the night…..dressed all in black…through the window. But don’t worry I only want to chat a little , and NOTHING will be missing when I leave ….swinging with my rope from rooftop to rooftop . And Screaming Like a Banshee .

  23. wait a minute, Vern doesn’t like The Goonies? D:

  24. You know I was reading these comments and thought, “I’ll be good goddamned if MONSTER SQUAD is actually any good, here in the Year of Our Lord 2009.” I remember liking it when I was eight years old but didn’t it take a good long look at the line dividing clever from silly and just jump right over it with both feet? I mean, it’s been twenty years since I’ve seen it but it’s got to be meaningless kids fluff…

    But Shane Black. Hmm.

    Time to adjust the queue.

  25. I could have sworn I posted a comment. Maybe it was offensive.

    I was just quoting Freaks, Vern. I didn’t REALLY mean to say that you’re “one of us.” I guess I’d be upset by that, too.

  26. Here’s why Monster Squad holds up, coming from someone who saw it for the first time a year ago: the monsters are legit. Yes the movie is funny, not once ever really trying to be scary (although it does have atmosphere galore), but the monsters all act like monsters and the kids and parents react to them as actual threats. They got Stan Winston to do the effects, they cast real actors like Tom Noonan to fill up the suits and give the creatures soul. The guy playing Dracula in particular plays it 100% threatening and intense, which gives us the immortal moment: “Give me the amulet, YOU BITCH!” Cue the fangs.

    I’ve watched the DVD features and in all of them, the one thing that comes across is that this was a work of passion for everyone behind the cameras. When they show how the creature from the black lagoon was played by a makeup artist who’s lifelong dream was to play a Universal Monster, any horror geek understands that kind of joy, a joy that is apparent on every single frame of this movie.

  27. Atkins’ “I’ve got good news and bad news, girls” line was all over my mix tapes back in the ’80’s. Slither borrowed liberally from this movie (which in turn, copped a bit from Cronenberg’s Shivers), and while I liked that movie, it can’t compare to the fun and cohesiveness of Night of the Creeps. Plus, this one has a much better title.

  28. Brendan : That’s exactly what I always think when I watch the movie . A lot of people having fun and loving what they do . I think any of us would love to , I don’t know , play a zombie in a Romero movie or something like that , like that makeup artist you’re speaking of . A real dream come true . When Stan Winston passed away , I remember reading a few words from Fred Dekker in the tribute page on AICN , about Stan and him working on the movie , and they were just having fun throwing a puppet at the camera . And that playful feeling is evident in the movie .

  29. James Gunn who wrote and directed Slither had never even heard of Creeps until Slither came out and people started e-mailing him. He said he was bummed out because he ‘had’ ripped off tons of other movies, and was bummed that his movie seemed so similar to something else when he was going for a more unique kind of touch.

  30. After one too many “What, you’ve never seen Monster Squad?” comments I cracked and watched it with high hopes of a Ghostbusters/Goonies style 80’s classic and found it to be really rubbish. But based on the divided opinions here, definitely time for a Vern review.

  31. “Shit, I’m even gonna listen to you and watch that MONSTER SQUAD now.”

    Uh oh.

  32. If it’s okay , here’s the link with Mr Dekker talking about Stan Winston in the tribute page . Scroll down a little bit from the top :


  33. Monster Squad is not on the same level as Creeps, but I will say this (without giving anything away): the climactic 15-20 minutes of Squad are f-ing terrific. The movie catches fire, so much so that you wish that the whole thing had been that good. My advice to Vern is just watch the ending and review that.

    P.S. James Gunn is full of shit in my opinion.

  34. Man, read the interview he did with Quint which essentialy just them two and Quint’s buddy Kraken talking about all the different horror movies they love. And Quint brings up Creeps and Gunn says exactly what I said, but having proved his horror fanboy status earlier, it makes me believe him.

  35. Would it totally ruin my credibility on this site if I admitted that I really don’t like GOONIES? Even as a kid I just didn’t get it.

    But NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is good fun.

  36. Y’know Jareth, I’ve been a fan of the Goonies for a long time, since I saw it when I was ten or somewhere in that ballpark. But this summer I rewatched it for the first time in a long time, and it doesn’t hold up so well. Some of the kid actors (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin) manage to do good work, and I mean, the set pieces and adventure stuff is still pretty cool. But there’s so much screaming! So many screaming, whining fucking kids. At least with the Monster Squad there was one kid that was a coward and they made fun of him, but everyone else seemed to take the Monsters seriously and enjoyed being on an adventure. With the Goonies you had to put a fucking gun to their heads to make them look for buried treasure. And they whined the whole fucking time. And the the adults…Jesus Christ. Robert Davi, Joey Pants, Fugly Mom from 80’s movies, these are good actors, ones of interest and depth. But in this movie they’re bumbling dopes who hit each other in the nuts over and over again and re-inact Italian stereotypes that you’d see on some fucking sitcom. No way these morons pull off the escape that opens the movie. The Goonies IS good kids movie, no question. But it is JUST a kid’s movie, not some transcendent classic like ET or something, or even just a more-fun-then-it-should be like Monster Squad (gotta keep this relevant). And that’s fine, it is perfectly OK for a movie to be like, that’s not an issue. But these twenty and thirty year need to shut the fuck up about it being some masterpiece. let the 80’s go, guys, Jesus just because you used to watch the cartoons in your PJ’s and talk about it at school the next day, doesn’t make it GOOD. My favorite book series growing up was Animorphs. That was the one where kids were given the power to morph into animals (see how the title comes together, that’s good writing) by an alien race of blue centaur people, so they could fight another race of aliens, mind controlling slugs that had recently arrived on Earth (but had time to build hundreds of secret, gigantic underground lairs). I LOVED that shit. And then I grew out of loving it and started reading real books. That were written by Stephen King. That’s how it’s done.

    In conclusion Fuck Nostalgia.

  37. I think Goonies pretty much holds up because it’s such a sincere flick. The kids aren’t precocious geniuses who are wise beyond their years, they’re just normal kids who like swearing and are interested in sex earlier than their parents would prefer, while still being into pirates and gadgets and shit like that. I’ll admit that nostalgia colors my perceptions, but I do honestly think it’s an entertaining rainy Sunday afternoon movie, the kind that the eighties were so good at. Every other generation has been allowed to have their nostalgia, so I’m going to enjoy mine while it lasts. Soon enough people are going to start reminiscing about shit that I was old enough to hate the first time around, and then I’m gonna have to be nostalgic for the times when I had something to be nostalgic about.

    I will concede the screaming thing, though. I grew up the oldest of five so I know kids are some noisy motherfuckers but it does get grating after a while. Luckily, there are the dulcet tones of Cyndi Lauper to soothe the old earholes.

  38. Majestyk, man you’re right, I was overly harsh. If all the people who loved that movie were as rational about it as you are, that’d be fine, I wouldn’t have an issue. But people are nuts about that movie, and insist that instead of being ‘a good Saturday rainy afternoon movie’ it’s legitimately great. The thing that really annoys me, is that the people who are so obsessed with nostalgia make it hard to have a real discussion about those movies, or others like it. Like Monster Squad, that’s a movie I genuinely like, but when I bring it up I’m accused of just liking it because of nostalgia, which is just wrong.

  39. It’s cool. We all get caught up in the heat of the moment sometimes and say some shit we regret. I remember one time I said Biggie was the most overrated rapper of all time, when all I really meant was that most of his music was too poppy for me.

    Monster Squad is better than Goonies, though, no question. It’s kind of funny that people accuse you of just being nostalgic because that’s a movie that’s nostalgic for the old Universal Monsters. The spiral of nostalgia goes even deeper when you realize that Dekker probably saw those movies as a kid when they were re-released in the 50s on a wave of nostalgia for classic horror that was a result of the overabundance of giant bug and flying saucer movies that were out at the time. Now we’ve got movies like Slither that are nostalgic for the monster movies of the 80s, which were nostalgic for the monster movies of the 50s, which were nostalgic for the monster movies of the 30s.

    Sooner or later pop culture is gonna eat itself and we’re gonna be nostalgic for shit that hasn’t even happened yet.

  40. Pop culture is already eating itself, it’s happening right now. How else to explain the constant assualt of remakes, reboots, homages and prequels?

  41. I always thought it would be funny if people were nostalgic for The Wonder Years. I’m sure it has happened already.

    Yeah, didn’t mean to take a swipe or anything but it’s true that I don’t like Goonies. I can see how it would be great for kids but to me watching it feels like I accidentally got roped into chaperoning a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I just wish those little fuckin bastards would shut their god damn mouths. I think I’m gonna leave them on their own and go play Ms. Pac-Man. Hopefully nobody will get kidnapped.

    But anyway, let’s not debate Goonies here. It’s been a long time and maybe I’ll give it another shot some day. Maybe. But I’ll definitely watch Monster Squad soon.

  42. The weird thing about all these remakes is that they seem to be created without a hint of nostalgia for their source material. They don’t expect their target audience to have even heard of the movies they’re remaking, let alone remember them fondly. I was having a conversation the other day with a guy in his mid twenties. He’s a smart guy, clever, witty, capable, but he hasn’t spent most of his life cramming his head full of movie trivia (and more power to him). We were talking about horror movies, which he likes and goes to see all the time, but he had no idea that most of the recent remakes weren’t original properties. So if half of your target audience is completely unaware of the so-called name recognition and the other half is pissed that you’re shitting on their old favorites, what’s the angle here? Couldn’t they just do it like the old days and rip off the plots of other movies without giving them credit? Is it just so they don’t have to brainstorm up a new title? That’s the only excuse I can come up with for something like the Assault on Precinct 13 remake, a movie with a pretty generic plot that nobody saw the first time around and only built a tiny cult following in later years. I’m glad John Carpenter probably got a check, but still. Why bother?

  43. Vern-sorry about that, my fault. The discussion was more about the merits of different kids movies, but I kind of drove it off topic. I’m genuinely curious about what you’ll think about Monster Squad because there seems to be a 50/50 split between people who really dig it and those that don’t.

    Majestyk: Yeah I wonder about that as well. It’s obvious that the people who drive up the opening weekend B.O. on Platinum Dunes shit have no idea that there’s a great horror movie called the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, otherewise why would there be all that bullshit about “it’s a true story, that’s why its scary.” I think more then anything else, its just the mindset of Hollywood right now, grab a name, make a movie that has nothing to do with it, roll the dice.

    It’s funny you mention Carpenter, pretty much every movie that guy made was a remake. He was always just taking plots, characters, and camera angles from different westerns and sci-fi and horror movies he’d seen over the years. Eventually he created his own unique feel (thank you keyboards) but the soul of his films were always rooted in old Howard Hawks movies and Lovecraft.

  44. just took a look at the credits on this film and (apologies if I’m stating the bleeding obvious) you have characters named, Raimi, Cameron and Landis….coincidence?

  45. Horror geeks are like battered wives, they will go see the remake anyway, if only to bitch about how the original is so much better. Even if they only make up a tiny percentage of the audience, that’s still a few more tickets sales for SORORITY ROW instead of PG-13 SLASHER #1,845.

    I’d be interested to see the cost of buying up these old horror properties, especially now that they are remaking second-tier horror films like THE STEPFATHER or SORORITY ROW MASSACRE.

  46. now that English Bob brought the character names up again: Does anybody know if NOTC was the first movie who did that “Horror directors as character names” gimmick, which is today a lazy and annoying cliche?

  47. No, wait a second. I think at least “The Howling” did that before. But it was still a fresh idea when NOTC came out, I think.

  48. English Bob, they’ve got Landis, Cameron, Raimi, Carpenter-Hooper, Romero, Cronenberg, and if i remember right the name of the school is Corman university.

  49. Dante is the original horror geek. I just love the guy. He gives some of the best commentaries in the business because he’s honest, humble, relentlessly informative, and funny as hell. Plus, he’s part of that whole collective of New World talent that I’m a sucker for. Speaking of which, anybody know anything about whatever the hell that thing is that him and Corman are working on? I know they posted a clip on AICN but I can’t watch it at work and the talkbackers are such peckerheads about everything that I really don’t want to take their word for it.

  50. Yeah work or not, Dante is always a cheeful spirit in his movies. Shit even in that LOONY TOONS movie, which was such a fucking hell for him with the studio screwing him left and right, there is a certain lighthearted fun to the proceedings. Too bad that awful experience really killed his theatrical career or (or enthusiasm) for many years.

    And fuck the AICN nerds, I liked MATINEE. Of course they didn’t like it, how many of them give a shit about William Castle? To the nerds, horror cinema began in the 70s.

  51. Joe Dante not getting a lot of work is a real fuckin’ crime.

  52. thanks gents. horror seems to be the only genre that can really get away with these type of homages without being too corny. anyway I’d better drop the horror film thread as my knowledge is truly pathetic…nice to find a place where people love film and talk about it with a good sense of humour

  53. Dante’s got some 3-D movie coming out soon about kids fighting monsters in their house. Sigh…

  54. You might change your opinion of Joe Dante when you see the clip from this thing called “Splatter” that will be on Netflix. It’s fucking brutally terrible.


  55. Holy shit everyone, I just watched I KNOW WHO KILLED ME. W…Why…. why didn’t anyone TELL me??!?

  56. I have seen I Know Who Didn’t Actually Kill The Person Who Isn’t Technically Me and I suspect I will watch it again someday. It’s the kind of horrible that will age well.

  57. Vern – There is another reason to give MONSTER SQUAD a shot. Not much of one really, but PETER HYAMS was a producer.

    You know, the OUTLAND, 2010, THE RELIC, TIMECOP/SUDDEN DEATH, RUNNING SCARED director. I mean you know, that must count for something.

    Bad news, ROB COHEN was another producer. He’s trying to remake it. Of course you’re not as harsh on him as most are so who knows?

  58. Mr. Subtlety – I can’t tell from your reaction if we should stage an intervention or jump right to calling 911. Didn’t the use of the phrase “avant retarde” in Vern’s brilliant review serve as a red flag?

    Brendan – I appreciate your GOONIES comments. I’ll just come right out and say it: I don’t like E.T. either. I can appreciate that it is a well-crafted film with excellent performances, but I also think that it’s manipulative and cliched.

    The films I remember favorably from that era are WAR GAMES and LADYHAWK and Eastwood’s FIREFOX. I haven’t seen those since they were in the theaters. I wonder if they’ve held up. Probably quite poorly.

    Mr. Majestyk – I was going to propose some righteous theory about the re-make craze being nothing more than an exercise in product branding, but your remarks call such a simple interpretation into question. I mean, if most of the audience has no idea they’re watching a new version of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, what sort of brand recognition could they be hoping for? Likewise, I don’t think the “run out of ideas” theory is entirely accurate. More likely, they just did a cost analysis of the process of script writing and realized that they wouldn’t lose any money if they threw only the minimum resources at that aspect of the production.

    There’s also the possibility that we’ve reached a point where the primary influences on todays filmatists are video games and Michael Bay. If that’s the case, there’s no hope for any of us.

    Vern – It’s entirely possible that I’d be an ideal test subject for WONDER YEARS nostalgia; I’ve got this unbearable soft spot for Winnie that makes me utterly vulnerable for a weekend of binge dvd watching of the show. What is it about that kid’s face that is so damn sad? But I haven’t given into it yet. You get to a certain age and that sort of behaviour is just wrong.

  59. Here’s another reason to watch Monster Squad: Rob fucking Cohen is one of the producers. Yes, that Rob Cohen. There, I just blew your minds.

  60. Consider me blown.

    Wait, that came out wrong.

  61. Brendan – Pfft, I blew everyone before you!

    No irony there.

  62. But anyway, let’s not debate Goonies here. It’s been a long time and maybe I’ll give it another shot some day. Maybe. But I’ll definitely watch Monster Squad soon.

    Same thing, audition-style.

  63. So, yeah. Ready to talk about it now. I KNOW WHO KILLED ME is the single most idiotic work of unfettered genius that I’m personally aware of. I mean, I almost turned it off about 20 minutes in, thinking that it was so profoudnly stupid that by watching it I was making not just myself, but everyone in my neighbor exponentially dumber. Then. Then, they faded to black. all the way to fucking black, and faded back in at the police investigation (?) inside the library or YMCA building or something (do they not have a police station? No, they do, we see it later) and the main cop takes a sip of coffee, looks right at the camera, and says “well, I hope our little investigation doesn’t interfere with bingo night.” and the camera lingers on him for just a second as he stands there, akwardly, and then fades right out to black again, as if to say, “well, that explains everything”. It was then, friends, that I realized this wasn’t just a dumb movie which happened to get made by a few professionals with some money.

    This was the single greatest thing ever.

    The sleaziest, stupidest, weirdest, most pretentious, most patronizing, most inexplicable, most akward, most uneven, most inept movie I’ve ever seen that also happens to be kind of great. I call it the best movie Dario Argento has made in years, even if it’s not quite as sickly imaginative as he usually is. Gorgeous photography and classy musical cues combine with stunningly stiff, inexplicably acting, bizzaro editing, and one of the worst screenplays I personally have ever heard spoken aloud to produce a very Argento effect in all the right
    ways. Dreamy, weird, kind of unsettling and claustrophobic. There’s absolutely nothing scary or tense that every happens, period. In fact, as Vern astutely points out, there’s no stalking or cat and mouse or anything, we always just jump straight into the killer already being inarguably in control.

    But somehow the thing is just perverse enough to aquire a disturbing atmosphere which somehow, against all odds, makes it a surprisingly effective… something. I’ve truly never seen anything quite like it. If this thing doesn’t end up with a cult following, then there is no justice in the universe. I’ll get the robes.

    Oh, and btw, until I read Vern’s review a few minutes ago, I had no idea we were supposed to recognize the killer (who’s just listed in the credits as “blue man” and whose weird shit is absolutely never explained or even touched on). I just figured he was some guy. I kind of liked it better that way, honestly. And yes, I realize I made it all the way through my rant without ever touching on Lohan herself. Oddly, she’s fine in the movie (at least compared to the other actors) but nothing special. However, her shared history with the world just makes everything which was already sleazy and creepy about the proceedings even more so. I mean, christ, I saw her as a cute little girl in Disney films, and the film’s runtime is probably 25% lecherous stripping scenes and a icky, icky awkward sex scene (if only it had Seagal in it…). I felt like John Cusak in WAR, INC.

  64. And then there’s the robotic hand. You ever see that YouTube video, The Battle of Kruger, where all these water buffalo go all Braveheart on these lions and chase them away from one of their calves? It would have been the most amazing nature video ever if that was all there was to it, but halfway through, a crocodile comes out of nowhere and gets into a tug of war with the lions over the calf, bumping the video up into stratospheric realms of awesomeness. The robotic hand is the crocodile of I Know Who Killed Me.

  65. Robotic Hand, Art Bell on Youtube, the fact that she could easily produce a driver’s liscence and prove who she really was, the helpful owl who apparently doesn’t have much to do with his time, the dozens of extraneous characters, the inexplicable guy on the bus who tells her thet “somtimes people get cut,” her baby-stealing dad, the endless, endress non-stripping, the nonsense title which becomes even more hilarious in context when spoken aloud enthusiastically (she’s knows who she is AND no one was actually killed) … but yeah, the super-strong robot hand is just so damn glorious that it rises above the ample competition. Your crocodile analogy is spot-on. It just makes it perfect. You can’t parody something like that, it’s already taken as far as something could possibly go. And it’s dead serious about it.

    like this picture:


    If I get to heaven and Jesus doesn’t have a robot hand, heaven will not be heaven.

  66. Vern, there’s a movie out there that I’m sure you’d enjoy – it’s a weird, little-known film name of Terrorvision. And, it – is – wondrous.

  67. Last night I FINALLY watched this after more than two decades of us missing each other like ships in the night. I’m a little bummed that I wasn’t on board from the get-go, because I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I wouldn’t have loved the shit out of this movie. You guys were 100% right on this one. Better late than never, I suppose.

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