Creepozoids (1987)

Wow, this was bad. And not just compared to normal, big-budget action-horror movies; even compared to the sort of garbage we normally cover at the ISCFC, this stinks. It’s yet another effort from Full Moon Pictures, who we’ve covered repeatedly over the last five-and-a-bit years, and their house director David DeCoteau, who achieved internet notoriety a few years ago when the trailer for “A Talking Cat?!” was noticed by a few big comedy websites.

Looking back over DeCoteau’s oeuvre, I…well, like most other people who write about this stuff, I’ve been accused of being a wannabe director. Not particularly, honestly, but if I was offered the career he’s had, I’d definitely have turned it down. Would I want to be known as the man who made “The Brotherhood”, the “1313” series, “The Great Halloween Puppy Adventure” and a bunch of movies with “Christmas” in the title that are so bad Hallmark Channel wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot barge pole?

I could go on (“please don’t”, I hear you cry) but let’s discuss “Creepozoids”. We’re in the post-apocalyptic situation of 1998, although the only evidence of this comes in the text info-dump right at the beginning. Humans most dodge gangs of mutants, apparently, and while it might have been fun to see some humans fighting some mutants, DeCoteau isn’t here to entertain! What we see is a few empty streets and a very small amount of the acid rain that’s a constant companion of the nuclear future. Five soldiers – among them “legendary” scream queen Linnea Quigley and Kim McCamy – desert from the army, although I thought society had fallen apart, and try and eke out a living.

ASIDE: As every other review of this movie has mentioned, McKamy, under the name Ashlyn Gere, would go on to a long career in porn, winning a number of awards while still doing bits of mainstream acting (she’d appear in a few episodes of “The X Files”, for instance). Evidently, there are people who watch porn the same way I watch old horror movies, as there’s a lot of interest in this because it was filmed before McKamy had breast implants. I feel vaguely sleazy just from knowing that information, but there you go. McKamy actually refused to go nude for this movie (good for her) but Quigley obliged, because you can’t have a B-movie without exploiting at least one woman.

The series of ideas they ripped off become apparent around now. There’s “Mad Max”, “Dawn Of The Dead”, a little “Day Of The Dead”, “It’s Alive” and “Alien”, and not a lot you could call original. But again, original isn’t that interesting to Full Moon; although, if you look at the computer diary one of the characters finds, it appears computer game “Fallout 3” might have lifted a little of their aesthetic.

The five of them find refuge in an oddly unguarded, well-stocked scientific base, and they discover that the experiments within related to…er…something to do with making it so humans don’t need to eat any more. Perhaps they ought to have aimed for nuclear weapons that don’t leave the planet an irradiated dump after you use them, but I’m no science-guy so what do I know? Anyway, the scientists inside all died, and there are some giant monsters, the creepozoids of the title (I presume, it’s never really mentioned. Plus, they don’t creep because they’re enormous).

For a movie which clocks in at 72 minutes with a lot of credits, it’s almost unbearably slow. If I wanted to see five unappealing actors stood around for an hour, I’d stop writing reviews of B-movies and see a doctor; and you can add to that the criticism that the women in “Creepozoids” do basically nothing. While the men go off and sacrifice themselves bravely, the women stay behind and wring their hands! This happens over and over again and is just stupid.

Talking of stupid, that’s the illness most of the cast dies of. At about minute 50, you discover they’ve had lazer pistols this entire time (!) and just haven’t bothered using them – add that to the “let’s keep going down this dark corridor no-one returns from” sort of behaviour and you’ll spend a good portion of the time, well, the time you’re not just sat bored and wishing you’d picked something else, shouting at the screen.

It’s just lazy and stupid, top to bottom. I’m mostly annoyed that this cobbled-together bit of z-grade garbage was considered worth making or releasing. There’s no development of the post-apocalyptic idea at all, there’s no drama, barely any action and some of the special effects (the giant rat, particularly) would be embarrassing if they were done by a group of broke school students. There are no supporting cast members, at all (the only person other than the main five in the entire thing is the base’s chief scientist, credited as “Woman” and on screen for two minutes at the beginning – she dies in a stupid way too) and nothing worth looking at.

I’m just looking at the VHS cover to this now. “Shake with terror – at the birth of the creepozoid baby!” I mean, if it had been released in the 1950s, that line would still have sounded cheesy, but even though it looks sort of gross for a minute, it’s just another monster that gets killed then mysteriously revives just before the credits roll (thank heavens they never made a sequel).

Wow, Full Moon wasted a lot of good will in the 80s and 90s.

Rating: thumbs down

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Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

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This is perhaps the Troma-est movie ever released by a company other than Troma. Directed by David DeCoteau (some of the Puppet Masters, Full Moon regular), it was originally called “The Imp”, but was given what sounds like a very typical Troma title. But I need you to brace yourselves, sit down in a comfy chair, or otherwise prepare for momentous information.

The title actually makes sense! There are babes, they’re from a sorority, the majority of the movie takes place in a bowling alley and there are plenty of slimeballs! I was as surprised as you, I guarantee it. Full Moon, continuity-phobic as they are, at least make sure their titles sort of roughly describe the movie.

They also could never be accused of rushing the plot. There’s a leisurely first half hour, which involves a group of horny college-esque guys breaking into a sorority house to watch the initiation of two new pledges. There’s an extremely long spanking scene near the beginning, which could have been interesting (one of them discovers she’s into it, or really hates it) but it’s just…there. Anyway, for some reason they’re sent to the local bowling alley to steal a trophy, along with the boys, who were caught because their plan was stupid.

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One of the bowling trophies contains a magic gremlin of some sort, who claims to want to grant wishes, but actually is much more like the Wishmaster than he is a classic genie. He’s a bit of a jive-talking fellow, and almost immediately decides he wants to kill the group who’ve broken into the bowling alley, and locks up the building with his magic genie powers, setting the scene for some murdering and so on.

I’m making this sound better than it is. David DeCoteau, an out gay man, seems like he was trying to hide that fact here, as the boys stay fully clothed and the women disrobe almost constantly. There’s a shower scene in that tedious first half-hour where there’s full frontal female nudity for what feels like forever…it’s a movie of curious choices, none of them particularly interesting.

This film has a peculiarly high number of positive reviews, most of them mentioning Linnea Quigley. She’s known as one of the “scream queens” of the VHS b-movie era, and has the sort of devoted fanbase that indicates she spends a lot of time at conventions being nice to people; but the sheer quantity of folks who adore her and her co-stars Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer indicates that I’ve still not scratched the surface of this world. Or that they’re all very easily pleased, because I would struggle to tell the three of them apart from any three other random 80s horror actresses.

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Aside from the title, it does have a lot of that standard Full Moon feel to it. There’s plenty of humour (although it’s not particularly funny, you can at least tell they’re trying), lots of nudity, and a love of horror tropes (this movie seems to be a bit inspired by “The Monkey’s Paw”). It’s certainly got a lot of fans from its repeated broadcasts on USA Channel’s “Up All Night” strand of programming back in the 80s and 90s, people who love its cheesiness and poor quality effects – if you’re in a forgiving mood and really, really like softcore nudity, you’ll at least have an okay time with this one. But there’s so much better movies to choose from, even if you’re specifically in the mood for a cheesy 80s horror comedy – the also-Quigley-starring “Return of the Living Dead”, for one. But I think a lot of the fond memories tied to this movie come from it being on really late at night and viewers being tired, or drunk, or both, or from people who slept through the first half-hour.

Rating: thumbs in the middle