Your flesh will crawl right off your bones.
Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 71 minutes (1:11)
Director: David DeCoteau
Richard L. Hawkins ... Jake
Linnea Quigley ... Blanca
Ken Abraham ... Butch
Ashlyn Gere ... Kate
Michael Aranda ... Jesse
Deep beneath the surface of the desert, something horrible is trapped and hungry. A mysterious substance in a subterranean lab has gruesome effects. One man mutates into a revolting cannibal insect, driven to devour the lab, a rock slide seals the entrance and their fate. The chitinous creature stalks its fresh prey, starving for its next course of flesh and blood. The four are easy targets in the monster's lair, but they're determined not to die in its dripping jaws.
Creepozoids... ya know, if nuclear armageddon means gettin' to shower with Linnea Quigley, maybe we really did elect the right candidate to the presidency. Somebody get on the horn to Trump an tell 'im that fat kid with the bowl haircut just blew up one of his golf courses in Guam, it'll TOTALLY be worth it.
An speakin' of a barren wasteland, that's about how my fridge started lookin' after I ran outta deer burger this past week, an the leftover concession stand food from the Grime Time just doesn't seem to be stretchin' quite like it used to (Juanita used to give it to me for free until Skunky found out an started takin' it outta my pay). In retrospect I guess I prolly shouldn'ta left 'em on the kitchen table while I was unloadin' the lawn chairs, cause by the time I came back Shankles' face was in the bag an he'd already packed away about three quarters of it. Dumbass got pretty sick tryin' to digest those onion rings too, serves 'im right. I'd run completely outta provisions by Thursday afternoon, which was also about the time I found out that Reverend Dollarhide apparently instituted a "no heretics" clause in the food bank charter. They had a "do not donate to" list an everything, just like the "do not accept checks from" notices they post next to the cash register at the Jiffy Mart, it was damned embarrassin'. But the thing that really hurt was how after 35 years of loyal artery cloggin', Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks refused to take an I.O.U. for an Agony of Beefeat burger. I did at least have about an eighth of a tank of gas though, so I called Billy Hilliard's mama to see if she'd whip me up a batch of 'er famous carp casserole if Billy an I brought 'er back at mess of 'em an she said she would so long as we promised to leave the guts at Outhouse Creek cause the last time she made it 'er backyard ended up lookin' like the set of Stephen King's Sleepwalkers. Billy don't seem to appreciate a home-cooked meal the way most of us professional bachelors do, but he wanted to go anyway after I told 'im Irv Knox'd reported a sightin' of the Chickawalka Stalka not too far from our fishin' hole. Personally I think anybody who believes in that thing's drivin' around with a blown head valve, cause everybody knows The Stalka died in 1999 after gettin' into Silas Tankersley's whiskey still an electrocutin' itself tryin' to climb the power transformer out by The Woozy Canary Mine.
So anyway, we motored on down the Roadkill Loop access road to shave a couple miles off the travel time just in case the gas gauge was bluffin' us, an I diemed some carpes while Billy went out lookin' for Stalka Gawkas (that's what eyewitnesses call themselves) to interview. Course we took Apollo with us too, but he disappeared about 4 seconds after I let 'im outta the Topaz an I didn't see 'im again until it was time to head for home. Actually I *smelled* 'im before I *saw* 'im, cause apparently his idea of a good time is to go swimmin' in the sewage lagoon up the road an... well, that was about the worst thing I'd smelled since Shankles ate that pile of grouse guts before I could get 'em in the burn barrel. Started repeatin' on 'im about two hours later an lemme tell ya - that kinda thing breaks up a poker game real quick. Course, Apollo comes strollin' right up to us, proud as can be, covered with tampon strings like he was bein' attacked by a swarm of albino leeches, an completely dumbfounded as to why nobody wanted to be his friend. We ended up havin' to make 'im run alongside the car until he was at least dry, but the difference between soggy sewage an dry sewage is barely perceptible, just in case you were wonderin'. Billy an I hadda drive the whole way with our heads out the windows just to keep from projectile vomiting down the heater vents in the dashboard, which's damned unpleasant when you drive through a swarm of gnats. So we dropped Apollo off at home, I got my casserole (plus enough leftovers to last until tonight when I can restock on Grime Time corn dogs an grease burgers) an spent the rest of the night tryin' to hold it down while I scrubbed Apollo with a brillo pad out in his kiddie pool. Go ahead an ask me how that went sometime.
Anyhow, got a pretty cheesy flick for ya this week, about a giant mutated cockroach who likes to inject people with toxic insect spittle that makes 'em bloat up like beached catfish til they start spewin' gallons of lung tar out their mouths an melt into people puddles, which, from what I was able to deduce, seems pretty scientifically accurate. The only problem is it looks like they ran outta money after about the first half hour, so sometimes they're not able to spend the kinda time they woulda liked to reinforcin' the flick's more salient points. That's alright though, cause I've picked out a few of my personal favorites to share just in case you're havin' trouble followin' along with all the dynamic storytellin' an spellbinding shower scenes. First, all movies, regardless of genre, stand to benefit from the services of that unsung hero of the film crew: the nipple tweaker. His contributions definitely perked this one right up. Second, keeping a diary is lame enough, but if you keep one on a 5 1/4" floppy disk you're pretty much guaranteed to die a virgin even before the monster attacks. An third, when a movie reaches a certain threshold of cheesiness, it's bound to attract giant radioactive rats.
But somethin' I've noticed before an continue to notice about these Survival Horror/Apocalypse Then flicks is that the bigger an better shelter you find, the more screwed you are attemptin' to occupy it. Seriously, just to name a few examples you've got the shoppin' mall in Dawn of the Dead, the prison from Walking Dead, the department store in Night of the Comet, an the grocery store in The Mist, an it *never* works. Why is it that every time the world ends the survivors start havin' delusions of grandeur? I'll tell ya where *I'll* be when the world finally goes tits up an the mutant vampire lepers inherit the Earth: inside the ugliest, smelliest, most pitiful excuse for a lean-to I can find, an the reason is NOBODY ELSE WANTS IT. You'd think people would've figured this out by now, but no; they want the bowlin' alley or the movie theater, an it's straight up SUICIDE. Maybe it's cause we figure it's our one chance to be a big shot, I dunno, but I'm here to tell ya: if you wanna survive the night of the inbred extraterrestrial zombies, think dilapidated shack, not Radio Shack. Just trust me on this, I'm almost sure this makes sense.
The movie begins with this lady scientist workin' in the lab late one night... a little too late for the monster next door, who can't seem to get to sleep with all the test tube solution sloshin' an file jostlin' she's doin'. Normally he wouldn't kick up a fuss, but he's gotta get up early to drive to Midian the next day, an so he starts scratchin' on the door but nobody answers. So he scratches an scratches but it takes 'er forever to finally come to the door, an by that point he really couldn't care less if the other tenants lodge a complaint with the landlord cause it's time to do the monster gnash. Next thing we're lookin' at a computer screen that says it's now 1998 an that "the superpowers" done blowed up the planet like a buncha maniacs an now all that's left're scattered bands of survivors an mutants who fight to the death for control of the corner booth at the Waffle House. One such group (Jake, Kate, Linnea Quigley, Butch, an Jesse) is negotiatin' what looks to be either the ruins of Los Angeles or an average Tuesday in Detroit, until it starts rainin' down acid like the contraband barrel exploded at a Jimi Hendrix concert. So they duck inside an abandoned building an decide that since it's at least as nice as your average Super 8, they might as well scarf down a few continental breakfasts while they wait for Charlton Heston to come rescue 'em. Butch an Linnea hit the shower an start playin' Quigley Down Under, while Jesse screws around on this Commodore 64 until he's been denied access so many times that he starts havin' flashbacks to high school an hasta stop. Then he hears a noise comin' from the ventilation shaft an goes crawlin' around in there like Lames Bond until he finds this chamber that's dustier'n the bible in a Las Vegas motel room, an next thing you know he gets speared through the neck by this gigantic, drooly, Mandible Lecter thing that looks like The Predator romanced a dung beetle.
Doesn't kill 'em or even seem to harm 'im though an the next mornin' he shows up for chow just like everybody else, only when he digs into his powdered Egg McMuffin he starts burpin' up Kikkoman soy sauce all over the place while his appendages melt into nacho cheese, an it ain't long before he collapses face first into his grand spam breakfast. I guess that's why they call it the mess hall... an good luck gettin' Kate to cook for ya ever again. So now Kate hasta do all the computer hackin', an after pokin' at the Coleco Adam awhile she discovers that they're actually in a containment facility designed to keep *somethin'* inside, an that whoever was rentin' the place before they showed up was tryin' to create a human body capable of producin' its own amino acids so's we wouldn't need food anymore an could finally stick it to big grocery. Apparently that's why Jesse came down with a bad case of Apocalypse Bowel when he started eatin', protein overload or somethin'. So now Jake an Butch hafta go crawlin' through the ventilation shaft (cause that worked out just dandy for Tom Skerritt in Alien), an while they're in there listenin' to their farts echo throughout the ductwork, Kate casually mentions to Linnea that there mighta been some rifles in the warehouse. It goes without sayin' that since Kate's the brains of the operation it'd be stupid to send her after 'em, so Linnea heads for the warehouse to grab 'erself a semi-automatic mutant mangler with pistol grip an cobalt barrel, an by the time Butch catches up to Jake in the chamber of secretions he's slumped against the wall mumblin' about how he don't think the monster actually wants to kill an that it just needs a Snickers cause it ain't itself when it's hungry, or somethin'. Then Kate an Linnea're doin' science stuff involvin' spare parts from the previous crew, only pretty quick the lights go out in Goregia, an when Butch goes to check on the generator he gets attacked by one of the leftover props from The Killer Shrews. A giant genetically altered boll weevil with digestive problems is one thing, but the H.G. Wells rodents're apparently where these folks draw the line, so they decide to send an S.O.S. signal to the army over the CompuServe dialup connection askin' 'em to send RAID.
But when they try Atom Ant shows up an carapisses all over the Apple II an reduces it to Applesauce, before punchin' Jake out an draggin' Butch back to its lair where it hoses 'im down with more beetlejuice. Meanwhile, Kate an Linnea are gettin' attacked by another one of Cary Elwes' rodents of unusual size, which eventually latches onto Kate's jugular an gives 'er a Steven Tyler sized hickey before Linnea can pull it off an do The Twist on its head with 'er spiked high heels. Then Jake an Linnea try to rescue Butch, only by the time they get 'im outta the blobby lobby his head swells up into a chunk of pulsatin' produce an starts gushin' Pennzoil 10W-40 everywhere until he looks like an enchilada smothered in expired guacamole. As if that ain't bad enough, when Linnea goes to check on Kate she's gone Pazuzu in the meantime, so Linnea hasta kick the crap out of 'er an tip a bookshelf on top of 'er to pin 'er down an force all 83lbs of 'er adorable little frame onto the top shelf an use it like a guillotine blade that pinches Kate's head off like a stubborn turd. So you could say she got decapikated. I wouldn't say that cause it's pitiful, but, ya know, some people might. Anyway, without Linnea's strong, pencil-like arms to protect 'im, Jake's gotten 'imself mugged an drugged by some kinda icky mutant mickey, an by the time Linnea's able to find 'im Papa Roach lurches outta the shadows an plunges an appendage through 'er appendix. Jake wakes up just in time to see Linnea's innards become outards an hightails it over to the storeroom where he locates a syringe an fills it up with Deep Woods Off!, only before he can use it Exo-skeletor catches up an puts the airplane spin on 'im an dumps 'im on the ground like a horse turd at a 4th of July parade. This goes on quite awhile until Jake finally manages to jab it in the shoulder just as it's about to hit the Ball Breaker on 'im, causin' it to collapse into a heap an seep a bunch more of that black lagooze creature crud onto the concrete. I think we'll go ahead an cut the summary here, but ole Parasite Steve ain't licked just yet, an he's got one more surprise up his... well, tellin' ya where he keeps his surprise'd kinda ruin it, but trust me, if you've made it this far you won't wanna miss what's comin'.
Alrighty, well, for bein' such a small outfit that produced movies over a relatively short period of time, Empire Pictures somehow managed to maintain three distinct tiers of overall quality in their flicks. You had the unqualified successes like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Troll, the serviceable, but less than exceptional titles like Ghoulies, TerrorVision, and Trancers, and the underfunded crapola, produced for seemingly no better reason than to pad the total number of pictures in the Empire library. The latter designation included titles like Robot Holocaust, Mutant Hunt, and of course, Creepozoids. These flicks tended to suffer from budgets that never broke six figures and shooting schedules that seldom cracked three weeks, thus resulting in grade-z drivel with running times short enough to accommodate the inevitable Mystery Science Theater 3000 host segments without ever needing to trim the movie. It's difficult to follow the reasoning of Charles Band with regard to why certain titles got bigger budgets or were assigned to specific directors (as Band seemed to be generally flying by the seat of his pants much of the time), but it certainly looks as though David DeCoteau wasn't one of Band's favored few, as he got stuck with titles like Dreamaniac, Creepozoids, and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, before finally getting the opportunity to direct Puppet Master III (which had a decent budget and turned out to be one of Band's best productions). Now, the biggest problem with Creepozoids is not that it's just another poorly funded Alien clone, rather, it's just another poorly funded Alien clone that literally looks as though it wasn't finished. Granted, it's not unusual for a low budget movie to feature a subplot that ultimately doesn't go anywhere, but between the extremely short running time on this flick (71 minutes for a movie produced in 1987) and some very detailed bits of ultimately fruitless exposition, it *really* looks like there was supposed to be more to the story, but that they either ran out of time or money and were unable to finish it. Take the last journal entry on the floppy disk for instance, wherein the author says "No one suspects a thing. Covered my tracks like a pro. The blood was a bitch to clean." That seems like it's supposed to go somewhere. You've also got the "I don't think it wants to kill" line from the primary protagonist, which makes sense at the time it's delivered, but makes zero sense half an hour later. I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine that the monster was supposed to be revealed as one of the scientists that'd been working on the project (probably the one writing the journal entries), but that that particular plot point simply ended up being dropped when the production ran into budgetary problems. Having multiple setups like that which don't go anywhere would tend to suggest an unfinished movie, although it could just as easily have been half-assery if the crew started taking heat from the higher-ups for going over budget or missing their deadline, so it's impossible to say. Bottom line: regardless of how it happened, it's kinda sad.
So, on that note, time to break this thing down into itty-bitty pieces and find out if those "building blocks of life" they were talkin' about were really the building blocks of death. The plot isn't too bad, and surprisingly, *does* kinda make sense, as the human body in fact cannot produce amino acids (at least not the kind we get from food), and would greatly benefit by not needing food to survive in a post apocalyptic world where it's scarce. That said, it definitely has its share of subplots that lead nowhere, and minor contradictions, like the part where the building is supposed to be a "containment facility", only its one of those containment facilities that can be breached by one swift kick to the door. Still, even though the plot has some problems, it's far from the biggest drag on the movie's point total. The acting, on the other hand, is. There're only six characters in the entire movie (counting the scientist in the pre-credits sequence), and two-thirds of them give pretty bad performances. Richard Hawkins is probably the worst, which is especially unfortunate given that he's the main character, but Linnea Quigley and Ashlyn Gere are also pretty bad, much as I hate to say that about Linnea. Funny thing too, Gere was apparently asked to do a nude scene but refused, after which Quigley agreed to do it in her stead. Then, three years later, Gere's makin' porno movies. That can't be good for the ole self-confidence when the gal destined for porno-stardom refuses to get nekkid in *your* movie. The other two actors, Ken Abraham and Michael Aranda, are actually okay, even though Aranda gets killed off pretty early, but they're only the third and fifth most important characters, respectively.
Here's who matters and why (less Linnea Quigley: scream queen of the '80s): Ken Abraham (The Forgotten, Girlfriend from Hell, Terror Night, Vampires on Bikini Beach, Hollywood's New Blood, Vampire Nights, Hobgoblins, Dead End City, Deadly Reactor, El Chupacabra), Richard L. Hawkins (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Ashlyn Gere (Willard 2003, Evil Laugh, Lunchmeat, Dreamaniac).
The special effects could probably be considered good when judged upon nothing but the movie's budget, but I can't just go cuttin' a movie slack based upon bein' impoverished. That'd be like Commienism, or something. The rubber monster suit is certainly not the worst you'll ever see, and its wisely hidden much of the time, but you can see enough to know it's lackluster. It also seemed like the guy inside it was havin' a hell of a time getting it to move the way he wanted it to. You've also got the giant rats, and they're not *too* bad when they're supposed to be dead, but ask 'em to move like a living creature and it's pretty hilarious, because they're so stiff that they resemble taxidermied capybaras. There's also a severed head (which *really* sucks), the mutating appendages and heads (definitely disgusting, but don't look especially real), a ripped out throat (blood's too bright, but the consistency is good), the Ashlyn Gere zombie (the face is okay, but it's one of those deals where the actress' hands don't get any makeup applied and don't match) and the blood pouring out of Linnea Quigley as she gets gored off-screen (way too much of it, and way too thin). There's also one more critter that joins the movie after I cut off the summary, and it's actually pretty cool. Very decent animatronic for 1987, and easily the coolest thing in the movie. The shooting locations are less than stellar in depicting a world ravaged by nuclear war, although that's to be expected with a $70,000 budget. The opening scenes were shot in Los Angeles (without a permit), and are definitely the best of the movie, as the area is pretty run-down. The interiors were shot in Marina del Rey, and do very little to bolster the idea that there's been a nuclear holocaust. The building just looks like a warehouse, which is precisely what it was, and that does squat for the movie's atmosphere. The soundtrack is difficult to grade, because if it's being evaluated solely upon its catchiness and enjoyability, it's hands down the best thing about the movie. On the other hand, the point of a soundtrack is to strike a tone consistent with the theme and events of the film, and I really don't see this soundtrack fitting this particular movie very well. I like it a lot, it's damn enjoyable in the tradition of 1980s synth music, but it's just a little too cartoonish even for a movie this cheesy. Overall, the final five minutes are definitely worth watching, but you've gotta ask yourself whether it's worth sitting through the first 66 to get there. I'd probably still recommend it to die-hard post-nuke enthusiasts and fans of Alien clones, but that's about where I draw the line.