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Night Of The Creeps – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory like to fashion themselves on housing many John Carpenter films, but they are also looking like a library of iconic actor Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween III: Season of the Witch). And now they are doing Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps. This cult classic has been on Blu-ray for a good many years, but is finding an enhancement in joining the coveted Collector’s Edition line from Scream Factory. There’s even an edition you can order that has a TOM ATKINS ACTION FIGURE with it. How awesome is that? They are adding loads of new interviews for extras as well as porting over the ones from the other edition. Its a monster release from a label known for bringing monsters to their finest releases. This one came out on June 25th, so you can order whenever you’re ready and willing to enhance your movie collection with this little slice of alien/zombie-esque action horror comedy.

Film 

Fraternity pledges (Jason Lively, Steve Marshall) pull a prank with a frozen body and let sluglike creatures loose on campus. These alien brain parasites enter humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie. Along for the ride to help fight them off is Ray Cameron, played by none other than TOM ATKINS!

We talk loads of our love for legendary thespian Tom Atkins, who the uninformed may purely know as “the guy from Halloween III: Season of the Witch” or “Hey, wasn’t he in Lethal Weapon?”. While both are true, there is so much more to the man and appreciate and the seminal piece of why is more than likely Night of the Creeps, his opus. I open with this, because once the man finally gets on the screen in the film, he commands the movie, drives it and gives it all the energy. He makes everyone around him better and the film just continually feeds off of him. Fred Dekker knows what he’s doing, but so does Atkins and their wavelength is pretty much that makes the magic happen here and why this movie is beloved and not just some kinda cool movie someone might dig up. Its not just the cool lines, its how Atkins delivers and even down to his swagger and how he reacts without speech. Its a fantastic display and the best of what the film has to offer.

Fred Dekker’s film also deliver a pretty fun, 1980s zombie action/comedy horror film. It works almost well enough as just a dumb, lazy college comedy in its own right (A compliment, mind you) that an alien invasion of sorts just injects itself into. Creeps gives us a solid foundation of characters, likable or not, that just have us keep rocking and building toward a big finish. That the zombies and stuff are sort of background and sparsely used til the final 30 minutes but this movie is still wildly entertaining is just how good Dekker is with these characters and their non-zombie drama. He’s got things going in a way that you can say “Yeah, I get how he and Shane Black are collaborators.”

Night of the Creeps is beyond just some horror movie and just being some relic film of the 1980s that could only have been made during that time period.  Things just come together perfectly. This is a great party movie. I’d love to see it in a theater surrounded by other fans. I’m betting it would be a riot. Fred Dekker’s movie is one you can help but keep a smile on your face watching it. In the vein of something like Return of the Living Dead, this one takes that loose comedic angle and does its own thing with that kind of freedom. I love picking up Night of the Creeps again as you know how fun it is, but you really lose sight until you’re sitting and watching it play out again and sucked in by Tom Atkins’ scene chewing. It’s Miller Time!

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: No information is provided on the transfer used for this release, so its assumed that Night of the Creeps – Collector’s Edition was culled from the same one used on the 2009 release. That one was pretty good, but this film could have used a little update or tweaking. There are some details throughout and its a crisp picture, but there is plenty of room for improvement and that transfer from before is 10 years old now.

Depth:  This one has decent spacing but is just above average. Movements are cinematic with very little in the way of having motion distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep and can be consuming during much of it as details can be lost or streamlined into the darkness of the image. There are some instances of crushing throughout unfortunately, but that was present in the previous release as well.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty solid and much of the 80s fabrics and such do have a little pop to them. Gore and flame throwers provide some burst on the image.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from star to finish of the film. Details are pretty much limited to close-ups and closer medium shots for facial textures and such.

Noise/Artifacts: No real issues aside from the slight crush mentioned above.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Night of the Creeps contains the same 5.1 track as before, but this is a good thing. This one really feels the impact and has a good high pitched sense of loudness when things get intense. It lacking a hair in the low frequency department but it makes up for that in many other aspects. The channels are all playful and fun contributors and the score of the film really really shines and pulls the film in full force.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: As mentioned, the sub is a bit light but does grab onto some punches, crashes, engines and gun blasts in the best way its able.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix on this film has a lot of fun and many different slug squeals emanate from random speakers and sound travel feels free and natural as it occurs.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are plenty clear a with a hint of its analog roots a little present in the mix.

Extras 

Night of the Creeps – Collector’s Edition is a 2-Disc set that has a reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design. Two cuts of the film are featured, Disc 1 carries the Theatrical Cut and Disc 2 has the Director’s Cut.

Disc 1 – Theatrical Cut

Thrill Me! The Making of Night Of The Creeps This is the wonderful documentary from 2009 Blu-ray release.

  • Birth of the Creeps (HD, 10:42)
  • Cast of the Creeps (HD, 15:58)
  • Creating The Creeps (HD, 10:33)
  • Escape Of The Creeps (HD, 11:35)
  • Legend Of The Creeps (HD, 10:59)

Tom Atkins: Man Of Action (HD, 19:55) – From the 2009 Blu-ray, a career retrospective interview with the man himself.

Deleted Scenes (SD, 7:39)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:32)

Disc 2 – Director’s Cut

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer/Director Fred Dekker
  • With Actors Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, and Jill Whitlow.

Real Good Plan (HD, 10:46) – Interview with actor Jason Lively. We find he auditioned for a different part. He talks his appreciation for Dekker’s script (Homages to horror icons in their character names) who he calls a “great director” and how he still has a relationship with Tom Atkins and others he worked with on the film.

The Bradster (HD, 7:42) – Interview with actor Allan Kayser. Laughing and smiling through the interview, he talks about having lifelong friends from this movie and how he wanted to make a charicature of the role as he doesn’t like guys like this in real life. Kayser also shares an embarrassing story on set when driving off in the mustang.

I Vote For That One (HD, 10:12) – Interview with actor Ken Heron. He talks how his experience had people very keen on the details. This is a more matter of fact interview and he discusses how they kept from making the film too tongue in cheek and took the effects and the like very seriously.

Worst Coroner Ever (HD, 6:28) – Interview with actor Vic Polizos. He was working on St. Elsewhere when he was offered the film and finds horror films to be fun. We find out he was professionally trained. Polizos remarks that he does get noticed, but people usually can’t pin where he’s from or who he actually is.

Answering the Door (HD, 4:00) – Interview with actress Suzanne Snyder. She did this after Return of the Living Dead and Killer Klowns From Outer Space and says she probably wouldn’t have done the film, but was told about Fred Dekker and was convinced. Snyder mentions she had another scene that was cut.

Final Cut (HD, 11:21) – Interview with editor Michael N. Knue. He met Fred Dekker when working on House (Knue funnily enough also was working on St. Elsewhere). Knue considers horror and comedy similar in his world and goes over some good detail and ideals on putting together an effective film.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (HD, 10:56) – A look at the film’s locations today. With your host Sean Clark in his “Tom Atkins Rules” shirt. Fred Dekker (Also sporting a Tom Atkins shirt) and Jason Lively show up for a portion as well.

Summary 

Night of the Creeps is a confident film that truly lives up to thrilling people. Scream Factory takes the previous Blu-ray release of the film and bulks it up, carrying over already terrific extras and bulking up with more informative and fun interviews. There is also the theatrical cut on Blu-ray for the first time. If extras or having another cut of the film don’t entice, the edition that you probably already own will have to suffice as the audio and video here is virtually the same. Though, I do say try and snag a buck or two off of it and upgrade to this beefier edition for sure.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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