Vacation Day 2: Night of the Creeps (1986)
April 22, 2019

You've seen "The Price is Right," correct? You know how the bidding usually goes. Someone comes up with a really killer price, like $700 for some cheaply made, overpriced chandelier. However, the final contestant bids $701 and the previous bidder gets left in the dust. That's sort of how I feel about Night of the Creeps.

This is an '80s movie in which a college campus gets invaded by parasitic, alien slugs that leap into people's mouths annd lay their eggs in their hosts' brains. While the eggs incubate, the person becomes a zombie and walks aimlessly. Eventually, the eggs hatch, the offspring gorge themselves on gray matter and burst out of their host's skull, looking to infect another unfortunate mouthbreather. It's a solid premise, pieced together with some humor and self-awareness, though the finished product doesn't entirely measure up to other fun horror movies from the '80s and beyond.

Don't get me wrong; I still dig the movie. However, so many better "zombie mayhem" films have come out since 1986 that it's hard to appreciate it as much as I did as a kid. Yeah, it has that intense closing act, where the protagonist, his girlfriend and the detective who's helping him out fight off a swarm of frat zombies with a flamethrower. They even belt out some great, cheesy, self-aware lines like "It's Miller Time!" and:

"I've got good news and bad news. The good news is your dates are here."

"What's the bad news?"

"They're dead."

The thing is Creeps's closing act just doesn't measure up to the intensity of its descendants, or even some of its contemporaries. 1985's Demons did a bang up job delivering action and horror in equal measures, while pouring on a liberal helping of camp. Plus, it had killer practical effects for its time. Braindead/Dead Alive, Dead & Breakfast, Shaun of the Dead and a whole slew of other movies have offered more bonkers closing sequences. Creeps ends up feeling kind of anticlimactic in comparison, though the movie still hits enough of the right notes to matter.

I still have a soft spot for the movie, even if its $700 bid got beat out by a $701.

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