starring Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins
written and directed by Fred Dekker
by Walter Chaw A childhood favourite, Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps generally underscores the danger of revisiting childhood favourites with a jaundiced eye; this and his sophomore feature, The Monster Squad, show that Dekker was rejected from the USC and UCLA film schools for a reason. I realize it's all supposed to be a cozy, funny-scary homage to the terribleness of low-budget B-movies as a genre unto themselves, but the picture is terribly edited and disastrously paced--the very things that effectively kill both comedy and horror. Unconvinced? The first misstep might be its choice to leave a charming, 1950s-set black-and-white prologue in favour of a faux-Hughesian '80s fandango that, like most of the era's mainstream teen dramas not made by John Hughes, lacks an ear for how we actually talked, and insight into how we actually felt. In any case, it's hopelessly incongruous to go from Ozzie & Harriet to leg-warmers and Wall of Voodoo, resulting in something that isn't a spoof of bad filmmaking so much as an example of it. Night of the Creeps joins The Goonies for me as one of those cult classics I just can't wrap my head around. I remember sort of loving it when I was twelve, meaning only that twelve-year-olds are idiots.