I don’t think I’ve done a cheesy 80’s monster movie yet and man The Deadly Spawn was a great one to pick. I actually bought this DVD completely on a whim because I’d seen some clips and thought holy hell yes, I have to see that. I recommend that everyone reading this make a similar decision. Ok maybe you don’t have to run right out and buy the DVD but if you ask me real nice maybe I’ll let you borrow mine.
The Deadly Spawn has a very simple premise. An alien creature crash lands on earth and holds up in the basement of a family’s house. Then the thing eats some people and humans don’t like that so they have to figure out a way to stop it. Sometimes that’s all you really need in a story.
The creature itself is quite impressive looking when you consider the ridiculously low budget of this movie, rumoured to be no more than $20,000. I mean yeah of course it looks fake at times but it’s all just part of the charm. There’s one large central worm creature and then he can create all these tiny little slug creatures that run around and eat people as well. It actually reminded me a lot of the more recent movie Slither, which I’m now convinced was paying tribute to this movie. The main creature doesn’t move around a lot, and often you can see the slug creatures sitting completely still in the background of a shot, but you see it far more often than I expected and again, it’s pretty cool looking.
One surprising thing, and this again could be due to budget limitations, is that the movie actually takes it’s time ramping up and lets you get to know the characters a little better than you would in your average monster movie. I mean you’re not going to get too attached to them but they’re a little more fleshed out then you would expect going in. It’s a short movie though so by the time things start to ramp up, you’re in the final twenty minutes. Thankfully there’s enough going on to keep your interest.
The main kid, although I hesitate to call him that because he’s gone for long chunks of time, is one of those horror movie kids who is crazy into monster movies. He watches them all the time, makes his own masks and costumes, and his room is full of awesome shit like Godzilla action figures and old posters. This kid was not my favourite. In an early scene, an electrician comes to work in the basement and this little asshole decides that he’s going to dress up in a costume and go scare him. Who the fuck does that?! It’s two seconds into that idea before you realize how big a dick it would make you, but nope, this kid plans to go through with it. His plan does fall apart though when he encounters the creature and it pukes up his mom’s head at his feet. Dick move or not, he probably doesn’t deserve that. He then spends about 15 minutes of the movie just standing there and watching little worm things devour his mom’s severed head. It’s dark, but just a wee bit funny too.
You may have already guessed it based on my last sentence, but holy shit when someone gets eaten in this movie, they REALLY get eaten. The gore effects are consistently impressive. Heads are devoured, flesh is torn off faces, it’s quite something. Normally fake effects could detract from a movie like this, but they look good, and it’s always awesome to see practical gore effects.
The Deadly Spawn is a quick, fun, monster movie with impressive effects and cool creature design. And a whole lot of face and head eating, something that has been sorely lacking from the other movies I’ve watched this month. It also has a pretty unique ending in that (slight spoilers); it actually shows that if you went through an experience like this, you would be quite fucked up. No laughing and “ooooo man that was intense huh?”. Just blank stares and silence. So kudos on that as well Deadly Spawn.