Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Apocalypse Is Near?

Who would have thought it would happen? Seriously. Going back years fans have wondered if we would ever see official releases of Fred Dekker's 'Night of the Creeps' and Joseph Rubin's 'The Stepfather'. Now it has happened. What is next? We're running out of movies that we demand be released. Not only did these two get released but within about two weeks of each other.

'The Stepfather' has been a cult classic for the longest time. A lot has to do with the incredible performance by Terry O'Quinn who more recently has become known from his role on TV's Lost. There are two ways to play out this story of a new old fashioned stepfather who the stepdaughter thinks there is something wrong with him. Something sinister. Do you play the mystery card never quite knowing until the end if he is some lunatic? Or do you just set it up from the get go that this guy is nuts and you're waiting for a) people to find out and b) for him to knock someone off? Luckily they decide to just let you know from the beginning with an amazing establishing shot. It helps make the performance of Jerry Blake by O'Quinn all the more effective because you know what he's capable of and his little hints here and there work so well.

The daughter, played by childhood crush Jill Schoelen ,does a nice job of thinking he's off his rocker to maybe being wrong about him. There's a great moment early on when she overhears something he says at a picnic. Her reaction is perfect. A very underrated performance. 

If you haven't seen this film definitely check it out. I know a remake is coming out soon, or maybe it already came out, but it looks really cheesy. I could be wrong but ... yeah. If you want a good thriller that does have an underline of dark comedy then you really should check out 'The Stepfather'. Especially now that it is out officially. I bought my copy at Best Buy(!). Plus it has a commentary and a new making of. So great to finally add it to my collection.

One film that has been long requested has been 'Night of the Creeps'. I am sure I speak for many of us when I say that we all had bootleg DVD's to hold us over. I believe most of them were basically the old laserdisc burned on DVD. Finally those bootlegs can be turned into coasters because we have a great release.

Fred Dekker's horror comedy has been a cult classic since its release. I think no one knew what to do with it at the time but very quickly when horror fans saw it on video we all fell in love with it. I remember wanting to go see it in the theatre but if I couldn't convince my dad to take me to a movie then I had to wait for video. I was there on release day though waiting to rent it. I think I watched it like 4 times that weekend before having to take it back.

Starring the man himself, the great Tom Atkins, about an alien experiment which lands on Earth in the form of these little slugs which get inside you and lay their eggs until they are ready to hatch into more slugs. In the meantime your body dies turning you into a zombie during the process.

The first body which holds the initial slug is frozen in suspended animation from when the alien tube first crashed back in the 50's before being released thanks to a failed college prank from Chris (Jason Lively) and J.C. (Steve Marshall). Atkins plays Ray Cameron, a detective with a past who gets called to the scene and starts releasing that something very odd is happening. Something that may even involve his past. And Jill Whitlow (another childhood crush - a running theme with these two films?) plays Cynthia who Chris is lusting after but is the first to see the walking dead at her window. Which is where I'd be too so I can't blame the slug infested zombie.

The blend of horror and comedy is always a tough one. So when it is done well it deserves to be noticed. There were rights issues that supposedely held up the release for so long. Personally I don't care because we finally have it in a special edition to boot. Not just on DVD but on Blu-ray as well with a great transfer.

 Go out and get this film. Make a blind buy. If you're disappointed then you must be among the walking dead already.

I know some people may disagree with me but the 80's marked the last great horror decade. That's not to say we haven't had great films in the 90's and 2000's but there was sort of a golden era back then. It was also the last decade where we still had these movies play in the theatres. I guess you could call them grindhouses or whatever you want to say before they died out in the 90's. It's great to see these two 80's classics finally get out there to find a new generation of fans. Part of me is still a bit stunned as they have been in demand for so long and then all at once here they are. I hope the end isn't near because I'd like to watch them again.

*As I am sure is evident but the frame grabs from 'Night of the Creeps' were "borrowed" from the awesome website I go there everyday for news on upcoming blu-rays and reviews. I recommend it. Also hope they don't get mad at me if I admit I took their stills. Er ... borrowed. Not took. Yeah.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Happy happy joy joy!