The Deadly Spawn
A meteor crashed on Earth... no one knew the mystery of the mutant spores inside!
Year of Release: 1983
Also Known As: Deadly Spawn, Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn, The Alien's Deadly Spawn, Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Running Time: 80 minutes (1:80)
Director: Douglas McKeown
Charles George Hildebrandt ... Charles
Tom DeFranco ... Pete
Richard Lee Porter ... Frankie
Jean Tafler ... Ellen
Karen Tighe ... Kathy
James L. Brewster ... Sam
Elissa Neil ... Barb
Ethel Michelson ... Aunt Millie
John Schmerling ... Uncle Herb
Imagine a meteor, hurtling through space for a billion, billion years. It smashes into an isolated part of the Earth's surface and unleashes deadly mutating spores. As they grow, the spores only want to do one thing - EAT - anything or anyone will do to satisfy their hunger. Their arrival was unnoticed but their presence was soon experienced by everyone.
The Deadly Spawn... this's sorta like what I figure a female porn star dreams about after wakin' up at 4am an realizin' she's gotta be at work in a coupla hours. I'm sure you've all had these work related dreams that parallel our jobs, the only difference is that us normal folks tend to dream about things like our chainsaws comin' to life in the bed of the crummy or bein' chased around by bipedal cattle at the slaughterhouse who've gotten ahold of our sledgehammers. It can be a little upsettin' if you aren't able to wake up before Bossy lands that final skull-cracker shot. But speakin' of mad cows, Billy Hilliard an I've been holed up here in the house for the last four days with no fire in the stove an all the lights off cause B.J. Wilder's been lookin' for us ever since we tried thawin' out 'er frozen water line. Can't light the fire cause it'll send up smoke signals an we're pretty sure she's got the horsepower necessary to tear the door off its hinges if she realizes we're in here, but I still think she's overreactin'. See, what happened was we dug up 'er water line an tried reheatin' it all gradual like, the way you're supposed to, til she started screamin' about havin' to take a shower cause 'er shift at Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks was startin' to creep up on 'er like a pair of size two granny panties on Kim Kardashian. So Billy grabbed the Acetylene torch outta the trunk of the Topaz an started superheatin' that pipe til the main busted like a hip in a nursin' home shower an ended up sprayin' water about 40 feet into the air like Old Faithful, with one particularly unfortunate stream shootin' straight into the old bug zapper she keeps plugged in on the back porch all year 'round. The situation was further compounded by B.J. utilizin' 'er curlin' iron at the time, which pretty well left 'er lookin' like Fire Marshall Bill from In Living Color after the electricity started arcin' offa the Campbell soup cans she had in 'er hair. This may sound strange, but if you've never met B.J. you might not understand that 'er hair's kinkier'n somethin' you might pick up at Walleye's Topless Dancin' an Bait Shop at 2:30 in the AM, so she's gotta use the curlin' iron just to subdue it enough to get the cans in place. As you might expect, B.J. was a little upset about 'er bathroom smellin' like the incinerator at Cleave Furguson's taxidermy shop after he roasts the scraps at the end of the day, not that we stuck around for long afterwards on account of 'er havin' that look in 'er eyes like The Infected from 28 Days Later. I was finally able to shake 'er off the roof of the Topaz after about five blocks, but we're still not ready to venture outside just yet, particularly after hearin' about sightins of a slatherin' feral woman prowlin' the area that came over the police scanner. We might be in for a long winter.
As for the flick though, unless you can find a better outer space monster movie with creatures that resemble a buncha penises with Great White dentition, shot for $25,000, you just keep your snide remarks to yourself, okay? All things considered it's pretty decent, kinda like somebody rolled The Blob, Slugs, an Critters around in batter an tossed 'em in the deep fryer together. Cept it predates the latter two, so how's that for originality? In light of this, I've prepared some opening educational remarks in the movie's defense for all you judgmental jagoffs out there who seek to suppress evidence of its adequacy. First, vegetarians take great offense to spermatozoa shaped sausage links showin' up at their party an are likely to do even worse things to 'em than the Lady in the Radiator from Eraserhead. Second, outer space penis monsters're pretty stingy when it comes to nurturin' their offspring. Seriously, a severed head ain't got much meat on it an their little teeth aren't developed well enough to chomp through the skull yet, so basically, the Mama monster's a fat selfish slut as far as I'm concerned. Kinda like Mama June from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, cept a little better lookin'. An third, cellars're unquestionably the frightenin', otherworldly places that all children believe them to be, as evidenced by the fact that when the electricity in the house goes out, the bulb in the basement will still work. Likely due to an outside power source emanatin' from the twisting nether or a gateway to Hell. Those're all reasonably interestin', in a mundane everyday life kinda way, but there was somethin' about this movie that bothered me. Now, I don't wanna be vulgar, but lets talk poop for a minute. Everybody poops. We know this cause our Mamas all read to us from the time tested pages of the Everybody Poops trainin' manual while we sat on the pot not listenin' an demandin' to know why we weren't allowed to eat those fancy bath beads she had sittin' next to the Lysol vaginal cleanser. The thing that book doesn't tell you, though, is that space monsters *never* poop. An the bizarre part is that they never poop despite eatin' almost nothin' but human beings who're likely to be so full of pink slime an deep fryer grease that you'd hafta assume eatin' us is not too unlike ingestin' sentient Ex-lax tablets. Now I've been thinkin' neither long nor hard about this, but nonetheless I believe I've come up with a solution for why you never see alien dookage. Seems to me that our skulls're gettin' lodged in their large intestines where they meet the colon an they end up actin' as a large drain trap that plugs the monster's butthole an actually kills 'em over time. Cause as long as they're unable to expel us, their body is actually doin' everything in its power to absorb us entirely, an the abundance of cholesterol deposits end up givin' 'em massive heart attacks an strokes that allow the humans who haven't yet been eaten to kill 'em while they've lost all feelin' in the left sides of their bodies. In light of this revelation, I have only one thing to say... God bless America.
The movie begins with this meteorite crash landin' on Earth next to these two goobs who're out pitchin' tents with each other an it's real obvious that neither of 'em ever saw The Blob or Creepshow when the first thing they do is walk up to it an start pokin' at it like an 8 year old with a plate fulla reheated cabbage til somethin' emerges an we get to watch this silhouette of whatever it is tryin' to digest one of 'em like an anaconda with John Candy lodged in its gullet. The next day, some couple (Sam an Barb) who get up in the mornin' about like a college freshman who stayed up til 5:30am doin' body shots offa the fat girl in the band who plays the tuba, stumble around their house like nearsighted fruit bats with vertigo, til Sam realizes the hot water ain't workin' an goes down to the cellar to look over the water heater like he's got the slightest notion of how it works. He keeps up the charade for a few minutes til he's attacked by what looks like Ron Jeremy's penis with a Langolier face sewn onto it an he ends up gettin' run through the ole bone strainer til there's nothin' left but gnashed smidges of soylent green shrapnel stuck to the manhood monster's molars. Then Barb goes downstairs so she can resemble Shari Lewis an try to find Sam til an arm grabs ahold of 'er shoulder, an when she turns around she sees the toothy todger fistin' 'er with Sam's severed arm. Somehow it's less sexy than it was on their honeymoon, but before she can get 'er butt turned around an become the ma'am upstairs, it sucks down the arm an... well lets just say it puts a whole new spin on needin' to go put on 'er face. While that's goin' on, we've got another couple upstairs (Millie an Herb) who're awakened by screamin' comin' from the TV set of this little booger (Charles) who's determined that everybody's alarm clock wasn't gettin' the job done an decided to use his VHS collection of Linnea Quigley's Scream Queen Theatre on full blast to announce the arrival of morning. Then the phone rings an this older kid (Pete) picks it up an tells his chunkheaded friend (Frankie) that if he wants 'im to carry his under-achievin' ass through the Biology finals they're gonna have to make like Joe Friday an stick to the facts, an that he'd also better quit readin' tabloid newspapers cause the last paper they wrote citin' articles outta the National Enquirer caused their GPA to tank worse'n a Subtlety Rogue in a World of Warcraft raid. Meanwhile, Charles is tryin' to scare the tar outta Millie with a Frankenstein Monster fright mask an a flash grenade an she pretty well ignores it an tells 'im to get his ass to the breakfast table before she duct tapes his eyelids open an forces 'im to watch Care Bears reruns. So while they're all eatin', Unkie Herb tells Charles he's been contractually obligated by Sam an Barb (the kid's parents) to run a psych evaluation on 'im cause he's watched The Andromeda Strain 146 times an they're afraid he's gonna grow up to be a homosexual or somethin'.
So once Millie leaves to go help 'er mother set up for 'er lesbian vegetable banquet/orgy, Herb sits down with Charles an frames the questionnaire as helpin' 'im with research for some shrink convention he's goin' to where a buncha bald guys named Arthur who grew up to marry the airheaded bimbos from high school that the jocks were done with stand around givin' themselves chindian burns tryin' to come up with profound observations about the human condition. After he's pretty sure Charles's swallowed this tripe, he starts askin' 'im things like; "what movie monsters are your favorites?", "how real are they do you?", "do you enjoy scaring people?", an "do you ever think it might be fun to cut off other people's faces an wear them like kabuki masks?" Then the electrician shows up to work on the water heater, so Charles goes down to the cellar wearin' a Dr. Zaius mask to try givin' 'im a mini-stroke an finds blood splattered all over the ceilin' beams an a buncha razor-faced mud puppies swimmin' around in the regurgitated sump water. Fortunately, Charles's pretty desensitized by now cause he's watched Shivers twice a month for the last three years an so he holds it together til Gnawdry 2 creeps forward an belches out the electrician's severed head for the mud puppies to chew on. Meanwhile, on ground level, Frankie shows up with the Morton salt girl (Ellen) who's got one of the shiv-toothed sperm guppies in 'er backpack, an pretty quick she flips it out into the sink like a tampon in a truck stop bathroom an suggests they carve it up like a Thanksgivin' turkey to see how bad it stinks. Course, Frankie's one of those guys that watches Trauma: Life in the ER an passes out like one of those asscrackaderms that ride around Wal Mart in the electronic carts when they hafta stand up to reach the Pringles cans on the top shelf, so he stands outside the operatin' room til he thinks he's seein' more of 'em crawlin' around the carpet like crabs on a $3 hooker. Pete an Ellen ignore Frankie cause they know that anybody dumb enough to need their help can't be that sharp to begin with, an spend the next few minutes dick wavin' about which one of 'em has the least imagination with regard to the origins of the expired ejaculate. Then Pete tells Frankie to go grab his Dad's stash of National Geographics from under his parents' mattress cause he's certain that if he can spend enough time leafin' through 'em he'll find out what the thing is, an while Frankie's gone Pete an Ellen's hate hormones get the better of 'em an they start makin' awkward dork makeout. Elsewhere, Millie's lubin' up the cucumbers an stringin' together a rod of rutabaga anal beads as the blue hair brigade shows up at 'er Mama's house.
Unfortunately, one of the little dick dribbles crawls up outta the drain in the sink an starts explorin' what turns out to be the final frontier when it drops into a blender fulla vegetarian smoothie ingredients, an pretty quick the blender skins it right round baby, right round. You'd think that it'd be impossible to make a broccoli based beverage taste any worse, but apparently the secret sauce gets the job done an after all the guests take a big pull offa their spinach smoothies, they just kinda look around at each other like they're tryin' to figure out who slipped the icky into their drinks. Then Millie goes to call Herb an can't get through cause the lean peen mother from outer space's chewed through the phone lines, an when she gets back into the livin' room all the old meat hatin' lesbians're bein' attacked by a wad of cock creatures an she hasta start mutilatin' meat like Joni Ernst durin' castration season. While that's goin' on, Pete's finally agreed to show their gutted glopola monster to Unkie Herb, only when they find 'im he's been chewed up like a VHS tape durin' a power surge an has little beef burrowers buildin' condos in his chest cavity, an they hafta go hide in Charles' room an pray the little beasties aren't cannibalistic enough to eat dork. Then queen mother Chewcracca hauls 'er ass outta the basement an joins the chase while Charles chastises 'er an tries tellin' 'er the wimps upstairs're only gonna go to 'er hips, but the effort proves futile as it's abundantly clear that Charles is not in charge. So when screamin' at 'er don't work, Charles puts this ear splittin' opera on his boombox til Eatey Piranha gets P.O.'d an chomps the stereo an ends up catchin' fire like Ferguson, Missouri. This is the moment Frankie's girlfriend (Cathy) chooses to show up, an she barely makes it upstairs after runnin' into the monster an makin' a rude remark about how it looks like the doctor that birthed it took a little too much off the top durin' the circumcision before gettin' dragged into Charles' room by the other teens. By this point, Pete's gettin' pretty P.O.'d, an he's gettin' real tired of all these mugga fuggin' trouser snakes an this mugga fuggin' rain an they all decide to make a break for his room since it's got a phone, cept when they open the door the queen of the mushroomhead kingdom bites Ellen's head off like Ozzy Osbourne an pitches 'er body out the window. Pete ends up havin' to climb out onto the roof while Frankie an Cathy hole up in the attic, an once Pete sulks on the roof awhile an gets pretty well waterlogged, he decides to come back in an rejoin the movie. Now Pete's extremely P.O.'d, an starts threatenin' to go downstairs an stuff a giant condom over the churlish choad so he can watch 'er suffocate, til she eventually sticks 'er head through the door like Jack Nicholson an starts slurpin' up the oxygen like Hannibal Lecter checkin' out Jody Foster's perfume. Gonna cut here, even if you prefer your outer space penis monsters uncut.
Alrighty, well, this's one of those movies where if there were any justice, it'd get a higher rating after all things've been considered, cause the budget for this thing was only $25,000. It really isn't fair to do that, but I feel like that deserves a mention because I've failed my share of movies with million dollar budgets and every one of them could have learned something from The Deadly Spawn, even though it's ultimately just decent. Tremendous heart being shown here though, and there's absolutely no singular area that drags it down as you might expect from a movie with such a small budget. I think the one particularly bad thing that sticks out is just how blunt-forced some of the script content is when it comes to foreshadowing and creating segues. They go into great detail and spend a lot of time explaining things like the Uncle wanting to give the kid a psych evaluation and why that is, and that's pretty expedient when compared to the phone sequence with Pete early on where the writer's beating us over the head with the fact that all the kids are Biology majors so it'll make sense later when they start analyzing the mud puppy corpse. You've actually got several shots that drag pretty bad in addition to those two, where if they're even relevant at all, they could've easily been compacted into about 30 second sequences. So even with an 80 minute runtime, it still manages to drag in multiple places, which dings the overall score fairly hard. I'll give it this at least, the slow parts are spent establishing the backgrounds of the more important characters. Another problem that seems like it could be attributed to disorganized writing, but that really shouldn't, is the fact that they spend a fair amount of time establishing the Ellen character and her significance, even though they kill her off later. The reason this isn't actually a flub is that, originally, she wasn't intended to be killed off. The actress ended up getting another job that made the shooting schedule impossible and they had little choice but to kill her off after they'd shot all the previous scenes, so that really isn't anyone's fault and kinda makes for an unexpected twist. But even after considering those problems, I still keep coming back to the fact that this movie cost less to make than the sticker price on most cars these days. Realistically, for what they could afford to do, everyone involved with this flick should be proud of what they were able to accomplish, even though it's a bit unpolished in certain areas. And I think that word, "unpolished," describes it far better than "bad" in nearly every respect.
Okay then, lets swallow this thing and see how bad the indigestion gets. The plot is classic, and thus, one that's been used many, many times. Fact is, many basic elements of this movie are borrowed, but it's the same basic premise originally used in The Blob, the "Weeds" segment in Creepshow, and several other titles over the years. So it succeeds in the sense that it had the good taste to borrow ideas from good movies, even if it doesn't get much credit in the way of originality. The acting is probably the low point, though all the areas I look at when rating a movie are really well balanced on this one. There isn't any one thing that sags badly below the other elements, though the acting is prolly a little worse than the other areas and somewhat sub-par in general. It's not atrociously bad, or even close to it, but it's just very unpolished is all, with the actors seeming generally inexperienced. Richard Lee Porter is probably the worst, as Frankie. Though, he does get some of the more amusing personality traits. I particularly liked the fact that what concerned him most about finding this little monster corpse was that after listening to Ellen and Pete discuss it, he was fixated on the fact that he was undoubtedly going to bomb his Biology exam. Here's who matters and why: Tom DeFranco (Fear, Dr. Alien, Alien Nation), James L. Brewster (Maniac), Judith Mayes (Dead Mate, Carnage 1984), Ted A. Bohus (Vampire Vixens from Venus, Regenerated Man, The Amityville Curse), Robert Bohus (Vampire Vixens from Venus), Garbriel Bartalos (Spookies, Day of the Dead), Joseph Haggerty (Cannibal Taboo, Tales from the Grave Volume 2: Happy Holidays, Deadly Scavengers, Evil Sister 2, Witchcraft 9 & 11, Camp Blood, Hollywood Mortuary). The only member of the cast to ever really make something of themselves was Gabriel Bartolas, and he did it as a special effects guy, not an actor. He worked on quite a few decent horror flicks over the years, including; Friday the 13th Part 6, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, From Beyond, Dolls, and The Outing. So the acting's a bit ineffectual, but not crippling.
The special effects, for the money they had, are great. But without budget limitations being considered, they're hit and miss. Occasionally you'll catch a glimpse of a rod being used to control the smaller puppets, and I think the best way to sum up the quality of the effects would be to say that, the bigger they are, the better they look. The smaller creatures aren't terrible, but their movements aren't exactly smooth or fluid and sometimes you get unflattering camera angles on them, or a lingering shot that highlights their inadequacies. The "mother" creature is actually pretty good, and interesting to behold, though it's somewhat derivative of Audrey II from Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors. The smaller creatures, too, are similar to the ones used in David Cronenberg's Shivers, but again, they borrowed from good movies when they borrowed. You've also got a few severed body parts, including heads, which are okay mainly due to the fact that the editor knows when to cut film. I suspect that any lingering shots wouldn't have been as eye-pleasing on some of these items. But all things considered, the special effects are definitely a plus for the score. The shooting locations for the most part are pretty boring, with the exception of the leaky basement which reeks of authenticity, and prolly asbestos. All the scenes that were filmed in the basement have an air of realism that rings true and helps bolster the atmosphere, though the rest of the house is pretty dull, even factoring in the kid's room with all the horror posters on the walls. The opening shot of the house in the distance is an obvious miniature, though it's more forgivable and understandable once you've seen the ending. The soundtrack I kinda like, but if you're asking whether it does much to improve the mood of the movie, I dunno that I'd say it does. There's a fair amount of synthesized tracks in it, including the opening sequence and credits, which is tough to make work. About the only soundtrack I can think of off the top of my head with a heavy synth track that actually comes off as creepy would be the one from Halloween III, so it's a dangerous path to tread if you're looking to create something genuinely unsettling. That opening sequence kinda reminded me of the Wizards and Warriors soundtrack on the NES, if that helps to better illustrate. There are scenes later that don't have that heavy synth feel to them, and they come off a little better as far as something that benefits the movie, though I do personally like the soundtrack even if it's not all that appropriate at times. Overall, a great effort for an inexperienced crew with a pitiful budget, and I'm gonna pass this one even without giving it special treatment for that reason. Check it out if you're interested in cheesy science fiction flicks that don't take themselves too seriously.