If you’ve ever really wanted to create a movie, but wondered if you had the chops; if you’ve ever doubted your ability or means or just figured your idea was a little too over the top–go watch Night of the Creeps.
And be inspired.
Much like its ancestral stinkers Plan 9 From Outer Space and Santa Claus Versus the Martians, Night of the Creeps is proof that regardless of just how bad a film is, there will always be an audience who will not only watch it, but clamor for it.
A veritable cult classic amongst horror fans, NOTC is another schlock fest from the same era that brought us goof gore like Basket Case and The Toxic Avenger.
It sticks its very large tongue into its very large cheek and fills the tiny surviving subspace with alien leeches that have the power to cannabilize brains and leave zombies in their wake.
But it also leaves us with a convicting faith lesson. So stick around as we suck the lifeblood out of Night of the Creeps…
And then go dust off that Cowboy-Ninja Exorcist script you finished last winter.
A randy frat brother was this close to finally realizing his conquest of his blonde squeeze back in 1956 when he ended their date by pulling his convertible into make-out point. But in the heat of the moment, he failed to heed the radio broadcast that warned of a homicidal killer who’d escaped form the local sanitarium.
When he started hearing odd noises coming from the woods, he got out to investigate–and left his helpless girlfriend all alone. She loses her head over the killer (or, more appropriately, at his hands) and when her clueless beau returns, he inherits his own batch of problems. That’s because he walks up to the scene, he fails to notice the canister on the ground–a canister that had been dropped to earth by a group of star trekking aliens. And before our hero can escape, a slug from a distant galaxy springs out of the canister, jumps down his throat and turns him into a mindless zombie.
Fast forward thirty years later. Naive fratboy wannabees Chris (Jason Lively) and J.C. (Steve Marshall) are ordered to raid the lab biology lab of Corman University as part of their bogus initiation into Phi Omega Gamma. When they get to the lab, they find the cryogenically preserved body of the 1959 zombie and accidentally revive him.
Chris and J.C. flee, leaving the nutty bio professor in charge of the project to fall victim to the corpse’s alien-leech–zombiefication. He begins terrorizing students and it isn’t long before the entire campus is in jeopardy.
Local cop Ray Cameron (horror movie mainstay Tom Atkins) takes the lead on the case and quickly recognizes the macabre MO. He lived through it thirty years prior. He was the cop who first came up on the scene of the psycho-convertible attack. The really bad news? The zombie fratboy’s date was actually his girl. So on the same night that he discovered her infidelity, he also witnessed the grisly aftermath of her murder.
Once Cameron connects the dots, he stops at nothing to destroy the creatures that destroyed the woman he loved.
And in order to save Corman U. and possibly the world, he sacrifices himself, going down in a blaze of glory with the remaining space leeches.
Of course the obvious theological parallel would be Jesus (the correct answer to 99.9% of all children’s sermon questions). But there have been a few other sacrificial characters in the Bible…none who transformed into zombies after alien leech incubation, mind you. But they can still teach us a lesson (as can Night of the Creeps). And perhaps no other Biblical character went down with the ship like Samson.
Bad boy Samson, much like … , never played by the rules. In fact, he bucked them entirely, not holding up his end of the contract as a Nazarite (a set of Gods’ chosen few who were to remain pure and become his standard bearers). Instead of remaining unblemished, Samson breaks several of the cleanliness decrees outlined in Leviticus and then begins fraternizing with the pagan Philistines–a big no-no. He loses his God-given super-strength when Philistine fox Delilah tricks him into telling her the source of his power (his hair). She shaves him bald as he sleeps, leaving him powerless to fend off her countrymen, who quickly apprehend him. They blind him, then chain him up like a trained monkey in the center of their dining hall, demanding that he entertain them. Samson prays for God’s help one last time, asking that his strength be returned so that he may destroy the Philistines. God hears and answers, allowing Samson to bring down the house. Samson goes down with the ship, but takes 5,000? Philistines with him.
Both Cameron and Samson die, trying to make amends for their past failures–Cameron for his impotence; Samson for his overindulgence. And it is in their death that they find absolution, and more importantly–victory.
Their destiny is a lesson for us all, but the good news is we don’t have to physically lay down our life–in order to win the final war, we must be simply be willing to die to self and embrace–in faith–the salvation Christ promises. It’s not always easy; in fact, it never is. But that’s why we have Jesus. He’s the ultimate role model for what self-sacrifice actually looks like. He’s lived (and died) it. And His grace can sustain us if we will but lay our living-dead-lifestyles at his nail-scarred feet. For behold, He makes all things new.
Die to self.
Don’t be a creep.