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Film / The Deadly Spawn

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They're here and they're hungry.
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A low-budget horror film from 1983, and part of the post-Body Snatchers remake wave of sci-fi horror. It's a lot of fun.

Eyeless hungry man-eating aliens with lots of teeth find their way on our little Earth, and start munching locals. A bunch of old ladies, four college kids, and a boy obsessed with horror movies must now find a way to save themselves.


This film has the examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Everyone who makes it to the end of the movie alive. Particularly Charles and, surprisingly, Aunt Millie.
  • Agent Scully: Pete's entry-level understanding of the scientific method makes him into this, a bit irrationally skeptical when it comes to the unexplained. He has a really hard time accepting that the weird tadpole-like creature that Frankie and Ellen found is an alien — which, of course, it is.
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  • Agony of the Feet: When two tadpole aliens attack Aunt Millie, one takes a hold on her foot.
  • Alien Blood: The aliens have magenta blood.
  • All in the Eyes: As Charles stands still and quiet in order to not to get the aliens' attention, he looks behind at basement's window on the ground level, with his eyes framed by the light.
  • Bioweapon Beast: According to Word of God, the worm-like aliens were created as bio-weapons for another alien race.
  • Came from the Sky: The very first shot of the the movie is a meteorite falling out of the sky. When it lands, it turns out to be crawling with nasty little monsters.
  • Cool House: Very much averted with Bunny's house, which is the epitome of that '70s-early '80s kitschy decorating style that we associate with grandmas. Millie looks physically pained to see that her mother has bought yet another porcelain animal statue.
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  • Creepy Basement: Where the aliens take refuge, and where their first three victims come across them.
  • Destination Defenestration: The main alien bites off Ellen's head, and the headless corpse is thrown out of the window.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: There's a lot of scenes of the characters discussing the scientific method, horror movies, vegetarian food, and other stuff.
  • Eat the Bomb: Charles constructs a makeshift bomb, and tricks the main alien into eating it.
  • Eye Scream: Pete's and Charles's uncle Herb, who falls asleep in an armchair, is found dead later with aliens crawling in his empty eye sockets.
  • Facial Horror: The lead alien monster tears the skin off of the face of Charles' and Pete's mother in a fairly gruesome scene.
  • Final Girl: Subverted. The level-headed Ellen looks most likely to be the Final Girl, but dies in the last 20 minutes and is replaced by another girl who arrived shortly before two-thirds of the way through the film, and whom we only knew from references by the other characters.
  • Genre Throwback: The movie is very much an ode to the Sci-Fi Horror of the 1950s (the sort of movies Charles is obsessed with; see below under Unabashed B-Movie Fan), though the level of gore shown is more in line with the contemporary '80s horror scene.
  • Gentle Gorilla: Briefly discussed by Bunny, who points to gorillas as an example of how vegetarian food can make you very big and strong.
  • Heroic BSoD: After realizing his parents and Ellen are all dead, Peter has a breakdown, going Laughing Mad and actively trying to get himself killed.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: One of the aliens crawls into the blender of the vegetarian luncheon and gets mixed into the salad. From the ladies' shocked expression, it tastes absolutely foul.
  • Kid Hero: Ultimately, it's young Charles who saves the day.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Discussed by Uncle Herb, a child psychiatrist who is studying the impact of scary movies on children, using his horror-obsessed nephew Charles as a case study. He seems fairly open-minded about the whole thing, and while he never gets to finish his research because the aliens eat him, the implication we get from their conversation is that Charles is a perfectly healthy, well-adjusted kid, and probably the bravest and most resourceful character in the movie.
  • Living Motion Detector: The aliens hunt by sound. After learning this, Charles uses this fact to trick them on several occasions.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The big alien eats one of the little ones at the climax of the movie as part of a fake-out: for a second, it looks like it ate Charles.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The aliens have rows and rows of teeth.
  • Mouth Cam: Two shots are from behind the main alien's teeth.
  • Off with His Head!: The aliens bite off Ellen's head.
  • Phlegmings: Drool drips from the main alien's teeth as it gets dangerously close to Charles.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Charles tries to give Aunt Millie a scare by wearing a mask, and using a flashlight to highlight its features. She isn't scared, but is impressed by the effort.
  • Sense-Impaired Monster: The alien spawn have no eyes on their face, only rows upon rows of fangs, and hunt prey by sound. The Genre Savvy Charles is able to avoid being eaten by the aliens in the basement by standing completely still, and later tricks one into attacking a radio, causing an electrical fire that burns it.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: This happens to the second of the two men who first found the alien's meteorite; and when Sam is eaten in the basement, it is shown by the shadows on the tent and wall, respectively.
  • Shout-Out: Charles is naturally full of references to old monster movies. He names Frankenstein (1931) and It! The Terror from Beyond Space as two of his favourites, and he also mentions The Thing from Another World and The Mole People in conversation. His Poster-Gallery Bedroom also proclaims his love of Frankenstein, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, King Kong (1933), Earth vs. the Spider, Tales from the Crypt, The Valley of Gwangi, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The She-Creature, The Green Slime, and Monster On The Campus. He also has an action figure of Godzilla.
  • The End... Or Is It?: When the threat seems to be over, an alien the size of a small mountain bursts out from a hollowed hill.
  • To Serve Man: The aliens' entire goal is to eat humans.
  • Unabashed B-Movie Fan: Charles is utterly nuts about '50s Sci-Fi Horror movies, as well as the even older Universal Horror stuff. It's clear that the filmmakers are too.

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