Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Deadly Spawn

If there’s ever a low budget monster Hall of Fame, the creatures from the Deadly Spawn absolutely deserve to be among the first inductees. On a budget of roughly twenty five grand, Douglas McKeown and company crafted some of the greatest looking monsters in film history, easily besting the lame CG monsters we often get in films today. Seriously, go check out, say, the monsters from the Underworld movies, and then come to this film, and tell me which look better to you.

This is a good thing, since the film operates on more of a premise than a plot. The story: aliens crash on earth, initially looking like large tadpoles with lots of teeth, and just growing more and more the longer they stay on the planet. Enter a small, relatively peaceful New Jersey family, whose cellar the alien fiends set up shop in, and who wind up getting chewed on a lot. The End.

So yeah, on paper it doesn’t really look like anything particularly special, but it’s simply a very fun, fairly gory 80s monster movie, in the grand tradition of the old 50s monster movies. The main character is a young kid, raised on such movies, who creates his own monster masks and is surprisingly well-equipped to deal with this onslaught. Somewhat less well-equipped are the boy’s parents, but hey, someone had to get eaten, right?

The eating, by the way, is easily the best part of the film, as it should be. Most movies like this, the actual violence is almost non-existent, or looks like shit. Not here. These bastards go around eating people’s heads, invading a vegetarian party full of old ladies (one of the best set-pieces in all of horrordom), and making blood splash all over the damn place. It is pure, unadulterated mayhem, and even though McKeown never went on to make anything else, this film shows he could easily have hung with horror standards like Craven or Hooper, had he wanted.

Rating: ***

No comments: