Follow TV Tropes


Film / Night of the Creeps

Go To
Thrill Me.

Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here.
Sorority Sister: What's the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They're dead.

Night of the Creeps is a 1986 horror film written and directed by Fred Dekker. Night of the Creeps stars Tom Atkins, Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow. The film is notable as both an earnest attempt at a scary horror film as well as a comedic spoof of the genre. While the main plot of the film is related to zombies, the film also mixes in takes on slashers and Alien Invasion films.

In 1959, an alien experiment crashes to earth and infects a fraternity member. They freeze the body, but in the modern day, two geeks pledging a fraternity accidentally thaw the corpse, which proceeds to infect the campus with parasites that transform their hosts into killer zombies.

The classic B-movie Plan 9 from Outer Space is first referenced and then later watched by a character in the film. According to The Other Wiki, this is an intentional reference to the fact that the plot of this film is itself similar to Plan 9. The film finally saw release on DVD and Bluray in October 2009 after years of fan demand.

Has a Shout Out page.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Precursors: Averted. Alien scientists did create the brain slugs, but they never meant for them to cause harm. The alien who sends the capsule to Earth is zombified itself, although this only becomes clear to the audience after the brain slugs' influence on humans is shown. In the DVD ending, the aliens track the slugs down and get ready to purge them all.
  • Action Girl: Cynthia goes from meek to murderous in about the time it takes a zombie to amble down the sorority house sidewalk. Her weapons include both a 12 gauge pump and a flamethrower, both used before the night is over.
  • Actor Allusion: Dick Miller plays Walt, named after his character from A Bucket of Blood.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Detective Cameron quickly fashions one of these after handing off his flamethrower to Chris.
  • Apocalyptic Log: James Carpenter 'J.C.' Hooper leaves an audio recording for his friend explaining how the alien leeches get into your head and incubate before he kills himself so that he doesn't become a zombie.
  • Ballistic Discount: Heroic example; Detective Cameron points a shotgun in the face of the police armory officer and demands a flamethrower. Needless to say, the officer quickly complies.
  • Battle Couple: Chris and Cynthia.
  • Berserk Button: When Detective Cameron is surrounded by some zombies, he suddenly spots a photo of his high school sweetheart hanging on the wall. The sight causes him to freak out and empty his revolver into every single zombie.
  • Bury Your Gays: J.C. Hooper outs himself as gay and tells Chris that he loves him in his final recording before he kills himself and tries to kill the slugs that have infected him.
  • The Can Kicked Him: J.C. is attacked by a zombie carrying slugs when he goes off to take a leak.
  • Catchphrase: Detective Cameron asks people to supply information by telling them "Thrill Me". Chris says the phrase as he escapes the sorority house where Cameron is about to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by blowing up the gas main.
  • Description Cut: When the cryogenically frozen body goes missing, Detective Cameron exasperatedly exclaims "Corpses that have been dead for twenty-seven years do not get up and go for a walk by themselves!". Cut to the corpse doing exactly that.
  • Door Handle Scare: Subverted during the climax. Zombies surround the outside of the sorority house of girls. Detective Ray Cameron yells for one of the girls to lock those double back doors. She then looks at the doors and the camera goes back into a long view shot as she focuses at it already frightened. Already having two scary incidents earlier in the movie with the same doors. The music goes quiet and she slowly approaches the door. The knob doesn't turn from the outside, as she reaches down to lock it with the key already inside. And then the music soars out as a zombie's hand crashes in through the glass of the door grabbing her wrist.
  • Driven to Suicide: After having to kill the zombie of the axe-wielding maniac whom he revenge-killed in high school for killing his sweetheart, Detective Cameron has a minor psychotic break and sets up his apartment to kill himself via a gas leak from his stove. Chris's arrival disrupts that plan, and instead he goes for a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the brain slugs and their zombies.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: J.C. confesses his love to Chris in his Apocalyptic Log.
  • Flashback: Detective Cameron has a few of these when remembering a old case about a escaped mental patient who murdered his girlfriend. They're Deliberately Monochrome, too.
  • Fiendish Fraternity: Every fraternity member is portrayed as a Jerk Jock, especially Brad. Even Chris, the apparent hero, is ultimately responsible for the alien invasion because he was trying to steal a corpse to get into the fraternity.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Cynthia's weapon of choice, and the best means of dispatching slugs.
  • Furnace Body Disposal: JC is infected by the zombie slugs and figures out they're vulnerable to heat. He tries to get to the school's basement furnace and lure as many of the slugs as he can down there after him, intending to put himself in the furnace after they infect him so he can wipe them out and avoid becoming a zombie himself. His attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice fails, but he earns an A for effort.
  • Girl Next Door: Cynthia.
  • Good News, Bad News: Refer to the quote at the top of the page as Detective Cameron warns the sorority house sisters of the impending zombie invasion.
  • Handicapped Badass: J.C. not only figures out what destroys the zombie creatures, but uses his last few minutes in control of his body to inform Chris and to lure as many away as possible
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Detective Cameron locks himself in the basement of the sorority house with the slugs and blows it sky-high.
    Chris: Detective... thrill me.
    • Before that, J.C., Chris's friend, attempted to lure as many slugs down to the furnace room in the basement, but he dies before he can finish the job.
  • Improvised Weapon: Chris, being attacked by zombies in a gardening shed, comes out with... a lawnmower? He pivots it towards a crawling zombie, says "Later, dude!", lifts the front wheels of the mower up and rams the spinning blades into the zombie's face.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Chris manages to reach Detective Cameron in time at his house where he had planned to kill himself with gas.
  • Jerk Jock: Brad, and to a lesser extent the rest of the fraternity members.
  • Karma Houdini: Chris is responsible for releasing the alien slugs in the first place as part of an attempt to ingratiate himself with a fraternity by stealing a corpse. He never gets any comeuppance for this, and emerges as the big hero at the end after a few dozen people have died.
  • Kill It with Fire: The only way to kill the alien slugs.
  • Large Ham: Everything that comes out of Detective Cameron's mouth is pure awesome.
  • Make-Out Point: Where the axe murders in 1959 happened.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The final death toll of the film amounts to two women getting axed to death by a crazed killer, one sorority girl becoming a zombie, an infected cat and dog, and over a dozen human men, ranging from fraternity members to grown adults, who become zombies.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two versions of the film's ending.
    • The version tagged onto the theatrical and subsequent VHS release ends with Chris and Cynthia watching the sorority house burn down when the dead dog returns. The scene ends when the dog opens its mouth and a slug jumps out at the camera, presumably infecting Cynthia.
    • The Dekker-preferred ending on the DVD: The scene of Chris and Cynthia standing in front of the burning sorority house moves to the street where cop cars race down the street. We then see the charred and zombified Cameron shuffling down the street when he suddenly stops and falls to the ground, his head explodes and the slugs scamper out and head into a cemetery. However, the spaceship from the beginning of the film has returned with the aliens intending to retrieve their experiment.
  • My Greatest Failure: Detective Cameron is haunted by his former high school sweetheart's axe-murder.
  • The Nicknamer: Detective Cameron refers to Chris and J.C. as Spanky and Alfalfa respectively.
  • Not a Zombie:
    • Type 1 occurs with the sorority sisters initially failing to realize that there's something seriously wrong with their dates before Detective Cameron steps in to correct their mistake. It also occurs earlier when a cop fails to look up from his report and see a naked corpse shambling down the hall, and even gives and offhand greeting to it.
    • Type 2 occurs with two police officers cornering the reanimated axe-killer and firing numerous shots at it to no effect before Detective Cameron steps in to correct their mistake. With a shotgun blast to the head.
  • Not-So-Final Confession: A drunk Detective Cameron tells Sparky what he did to a serial killer late one night on a deserted highway. Later we see Cameron inside his house with the gas running and the cracks sealed up. Sparky comes by and convinces him to help save the town from the slugs.
  • Orifice Invasion: The slugs' preferred method of taking over their host is to bury themselves in the brain by sliding through the mouth.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "It's Miller time!"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Detective, Thrill me.". In this case it is Chris referring to Detective Cameron's impending Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The brain slugs.
  • Raising the Steaks: Zombie cats and dogs are integral to the plot. A zombified cat infects the only sorority member to become a zombie, whilst a zombified dog causes the fatal bus crash that allows it to then infect Chris and J.C's fraternity members with slugs for the final assault.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Detective Cameron's weapon of choice.
  • Shell Shocked Detective Detective Cameron
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Wielded by Detective Cameron and Chris to expose the slugs planted in the zombified mooks.
  • Straight Gay: J.C. Hooper
  • Taking You with Me: Detective Cameron and the slugs in the sorority house basement.
  • Terror at Make-Out Point: Opens with two aliens racing to keep an experiment from being released by a third member of the crew. The seemingly possessed third alien shoots the canister into space where it crashes to Earth. Nearby, a college man takes his date to a parking spot when they see a falling star and investigate. It lands in the path of an escaped criminally insane mental patient. As his date is attacked by the axe-wielding maniac, the boy finds the canister, from which a small slug-like thing jumps out and into his mouth.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: J.C. mentions in his Apocalyptic Log, with a minor amount of glee, that as a side-effect of being infected by the slugs he was able to walk normally for the first time in his life.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The sorority's house mother who just sits and stares as the reanimated corpse of the axe-killer breaks through the floor and eventually kills her.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The brain slugs.
  • Vigilante Execution: Detective Cameron tracked down the axe-murderer who murdered his high school sweetheart and took a shotgun blast to his head. As it turned out, once was not enough.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used comically when the Detective tells a sorority girl to lock the doors.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Subverted in that it wasn't much of an apocalypse since the slugs only manage to infect a handful of people, but still.
  • Zombie Infectee: A given for the genre, though it's rather impossible for any infectees to hide their condition for long. Happens notably to both J.C. and Detective Cameron.