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Friday, May 5, 2017

Creepozoids


Creepozoids
1987
David DeCoteau

It is 1998 and the bombs have dropped, the planet is a wreck and a band of military deserters are looking for somewhere to hide from the (literal) acid rain. They come upon a seemingly abandoned underground laboratory, stocked with all the food and water they need for an extended stay. How and why this place was abandoned so quickly doesn’t concern most of the refugees, but the throwing up black slime and dying part does grab their attention. Something is lurking in this base and the survivors have no way out.

Creepozoids is a perfect low budget mishmash of other bigger budgeted films; the gruesome body horror, isolation, and claustrophobia of, The Thing (1982), a monster design lifted from Alien (1979), and the introduction of baby monster for no reason just like in the horror classic, Three Men and a Baby (1987). Throw in some nudity, slime, giant rat attacks, and a synthesizer score, and you have some legitimate b-grade fun.

Creepozoids doesn’t take any chances (at least not until the end), but it does follow the well-trodden Alien-clone formula with an earnestness that just wouldn’t happen in modern film. The acting might be wooden, the sets cheap, and the rats stuffed, but doesn’t stop everyone on screen from trying to sell their plight as serious business. I think anything less and the whole enterprise would have become to tedious to watch. If Creepozoids has one major flaw, it is sending the characters endlessly running up and down the same ill-lit corridor while the audience waits for the next monster attack.

"This rat is whispering sweet nothings in my ear."
Linnea Quigley is the star of show, she delivers all the nudity, and screaming that made her a cult icon. Everyone else in the cast are interchangeable non-entities, but I don’t really see that as a problem, the viewer interest lies in the monsters and Linnea. DeCoteau is a smart enough director to keep plenty of both on screen.

The special effects are surprisingly ambitious, if not always successful. The scenes of various people half-mutating and vomiting black slime are shocking and well realized. The giant rats are just stuffed toys that are kicked around like fuzzy footballs, amusing but not scary in the least. The main monster looks great in tight shots, but the second the viewer gets a good look at its full body, it looks awkward and bulky. For some unexplained reason, a mutant baby serves as the film’s final boss. The animatronic is expressive and the whole special effect is wonderful for such a small film. Watching an actor wrangle with it borders on slapstick comedy, but it is also very entertaining.

Baby's Day Out 2: The Reckoning
Creepozoids is cheap looking and derivative, but it is also very evocative of the small screen thrills that the height of home video era could bring. It offers low rent gore, sexuality, a smattering of science-fiction, and it’s all wrapped-up neatly in a short run-time.  As is tradition, the best thing about Creepozoids is its box art.

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