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Directed by B-movie maestro David DeCoteau, Creepozoids is a 1987 post-apocalyptic monster flick with more than a few noticeable similarities to James Cameron’s Aliens, which was a massive hit only 1 year prior. Made on a budget of somewhere between $75,000-$150,000 over a span of 2 weeks, and only the 2nd non-pornographic film of DeCoteau’s young career, Creepozoids definitely doesn’t have the budget, acting, effects, or grand sense of scale as any of the films in the Alien franchise, but it does have its share of stimulating moments. However, the film’s monster is not responsible for most of those.
The film opens in a laboratory the size of a personal storage facility. And really, that’s a more than fair assessment as the film actually is shot primarily in the same room of a personal storage facility. And you thought I was just being a judgmental prick.
A scientist is seen working on some sort of project. It’s not clear just what the “project” is, but judging from the specimen tanks, beakers, and machines surrounding her, it’s most assuredly “scientific” in nature. Soon, she hears a sound at the lab door. She opens the door to find a creature that is not only obviously “inspired” by the Xenomorphs of Alien fame, but is also quite obviously not on the same set as her. The woman screams as the monster lunges at her and the film then cuts to its title sequence.
Taking place in 1998, only 6 short years after nuclear annihilation has turned Earth into a shit hole overrun with mutants and plagued with torrential acid rainstorms, and set to a driving synth score that sounds better suited to a Sega Genesis game, a ragtag group of military deserters scour the wasteland (aka downtown Los Angeles) in search of who knows what? Shelter? Food? Whatever it is, it surely isn’t bras for the film’s female leads. And why should they be? Those “puppies” are where the money is at!!!
The approach of more lethal acid rain clouds forces them indoors for shelter. They find a random building and force their way inside. Little do they know that it is the same building that houses the lab seen in the film’s opening sequence.
The squad splits into groups under the pretense of exploring the building, but it’s really just an excuse for “Blanca”, Quigley’s poorly defined character, and “Butch”, the muscle-bound meathead that she’s teamed with, to explore some flirting and sexual innuendo. While the other group finds some wreckage and a few signs of bloodshed, Linnea finds a shower. As an apocalyptic vagabond, she desperately needs one as she’s really quite filthy and looks as if she smells of a pungent combination of trash and old chicken soup.
In what may be the film’s pivotal scene, Linnea breaks out the “money makers” and takes that shower. However, before you get too excited by the prospect of yet again seeing her “perkier” side, do know that she is accompanied in the shower by Butch. So, honestly, there are now 4 large breasts on display. Besides Linnea’s ubiquitous boobies, the scene is made infinitely more memorable when Blanca forcibly informs Butch that he “is going to come…. and soap my backside”. Oh, the way that she lingers with that little pause.
Reviewer’s Note: Look for Roger Corman, Forest Ackerman, and “Chuck” Band among the names of the lab’s staff.
Eventually, the creature resurfaces to pick off the cast one by one. As if the creature’s physical appearance weren’t a close enough carbon copy of Alien (and Aliens), there are plenty of dark, claustrophobic spaces, such as ventilation shafts and poorly lit supply rooms, for the creature to hide in and wait to pounce on its prey. It wastes no time in doing just that as its first target is promptly attacked.
There is what seems like an almost fleeting notion of further developing the romantic involvements between characters, but the idea is quickly dropped when the creature’s first “victim” surprisingly resurfaces showing no visible signs or memory that anything even happened. That is, until he has an “incident” at breakfast that would only be more of a rip-off of Alien had something actually burst out of him.
The crew soon form a theory that the creature isn’t actually trying to kill them, but they have no clue as to just what it is trying to do. However, they regrettably forget to inform the creature of their “theory” because it does indeed try to kill them… multiple times. There’s also a giant mutated rat that shows up to pick up the Creepozoid’s slack. Oh, and the rat mutates whatever it bites. That’s important. Possibly. Maybe not.
As for the monster itself, the body suit is bulky, yet still looks somewhat flimsy. That said, it’s still quite amusing to watch, if only for its inadequacies. That’s not to be taken as a total “slam” against the monster suit. God love ’em for trying and succeeding in creating something arguably screen-worthy. Credit goes to the creature’s creator, Thom Floutz, for having to crawl around on all four in the suit. I’m sure that couldn’t have been an overly comfortable experience.
Instead of the guns-blazing showdown that one might normally expect for a sci-fi actioner, the final confrontation plays out more like a one-sided fist fight. The film pulls out its most overwhelmingly successful effect in its closing act. Sure, it’s ultimately superfluous “kitchen sink” mentality, but who cares when it’s so much fun to watch.
The majority of the performances are “ho-hum” at best. Kim McKamy (Dreamaniac, Evil Laugh), later known as adult film star “Ashlyn Gere”, gives a better performance than the film arguably deserves. However, she was still in the early stage of her career where she refused to do nude scenes, which still stupefies this reviewer as only 2-3 years later she would be starring in films such as Club Head and Shifting Gere. Luckily, Linnea Quigley had a much better understanding of what it takes to “sell” a film and offered to fill that duty in her stead. What a champ! That said, the film undeniably loses some “steam” once Linnea puts her top back on, but there is more than enough randomly placed “smoke” and “fog” to make up for it.
Creepozoids was remade by Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, The Alien Dead) in 1997 as Hybrid, starring Brinke Stevens (Nightmare Sisters, Slumber Party Massacre) and Robert Quarry (Count Yorga, The Deathmaster). Also worthy of mention, the film’s soundtrack was composed by Guy Moon, who would later provide the music for DeCoteau’s next film, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. If Moon’s name sounds familiar, then there’s a very good chance that you have children (or you are one yourself and are far too young to be reading this website), as Moon would later provide the music for popular cartoons such as Danny Phantom, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents.
The HD transfer presented on the Full Moon blu-ray release is a marked improvement from previous releases of the film. The upgrade in detail undoubtedly reveals more of the flaws in the effects, particularly the monster suit. As I enjoy the occasional hokey monster, this just adds to the charm. Overall, this is a highly satisfying transfer for a lower budget and generally overlooked film.
Grain is present throughout, but gets “soupy” in outdoor daytime scenes, or in the fog/smoke used in brighter shots.
Features a Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which means nothing to me since I don’t have a 5.1 sound system. Using my department store level soundbar, I was quite pleased with the range presented in the audio track. Music has weight to it, and sound effects are sharp. Dialog remained clear throughout.
Commentary with DeCoteau: In this new commentary track recorded for the blu-ray release, DeCoteau discusses the making of the film… or he would if he weren’t constantly distracting himself. Each story that DeCoteau tells reminds him of yet another story. Unfortunately, he usually tends to start the next story mid-way through the last, making the entire commentary more than a little muddled.
Quite a few interesting and unique recollections are shared, but don’t expect DeCoteau to go too in-depth on any one particular topic.
Also includes a photo montage and trailers for other Full Moon releases.
Creepozoids is a fun, but flawed time killer. It’s not particularly “deep”, but it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to be entertaining, and at that it undoubtedly succeeds. The film has received a HD transfer that looks significantly better than what you would have probably expected, as well as provides a decent audio upgrade as well. Recommended