The Creeps (1997) review

The Creeps posterDirector: Charles Band

Starring: Rhonda Griffin, Justin Lauer, Bill Moynihan, Jon Simanton

“You’re history, you little pervert! No, you’re archaeology, as in old garbage!” (Anna, The Creeps)

Full Moon Pictures is one of my favourite B-movie horror studios. Established in the 1980s, it was well-known among horror fans for its cheesy low-budget efforts.

Some, like Puppet Master and Subspecies, were so popular they went on to spawn their own multi-sequel franchises. Others, like Dollman – in which an intergalactic bounty hunter crashlands on space only to realise he’s ten inches tall – weren’t.

Full Moon continues to this day, and while most of its recent output retains all of the cheese, it leaves out most of the charm. Titles like The Gingerdead Man and Dangerous Worry Dolls sound like they should be superb slices of low-budget larks (well, they do to me at least) but ultimately they end up in the TWABM Hall Of Shame.

A great example of how it used to be is The Creeps, a Full Moon pishfest that was given a DVD re-release this week.

Cheer up missus, you've got a face like a smacked arse
Cheer up missus, you’ve got a face like a smacked arse

Anna (Rhonda Griffin) works at the rare books section of the local library. Guests have to fill out a bunch of forms before they can even see the books on display, and even then they have to wear a mask and gloves so as not to damage the already fragile tomes stored there.

One day a nervous-looking portly chap comes in asking to see the original manuscript for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. When Anna lets him have a look, he waits until he’s no longer being watched and steals it, swapping it for a fake duplicate with blank pages.

When Anna finds out the book is missing she realises her lesbian boss (trust me, it becomes relevant in the film) will fire her if she doesn’t recover the book, so she hires seemingly useless detective Raleigh (who works in the back of a video shop which conveniently stocks a lot of Full Moon titles) to track the big fella down.

What they don’t realise is that the man in question is actually a scientist. He’s already stolen the other original manuscripts for The Mummy and The Wolfman (um, even though those were original movies, not based on books) and now all he needs is Bram Stoker’s Dracula to complete his fiendish plan – the resurrection of the four greatest monsters in literature, ready to do his bidding.

Look! It's Dracula! Um, except something's not quite right.
Look! It’s Dracula! Um, except something’s not quite right

When he returns to the library to nick Dracula he’s confronted by Anna, at which point he remembers he also needs one final ingredient: a naked virgin sacrifice. Story of my life, mate.

Kidnapping Anna and tying her up in his dungeon (leading to the horrendous quote you see at the top of this review), the scientist only gets halfway through the ritual before Raleigh turns up and rescues Anna. Hooray and such!

Nevertheless, the ritual is too far along to stop, and so Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy and the Wolfman are all indeed still brought to life… as midgets.

BOOM! There’s the twist, son! They’re mini monsters! And they’re mini pissed off, with Dracula in particular (played by the little beardy guy who was Roland the troll in the Sabrina The Teenage Witch TV series)  eager to capture Anna again to complete the ritual and bring them back to full size.

Because let's face it, a dinky Frankenstein and Mummy just won't do
Because let’s face it, a dinky Frankenstein and Mummy just won’t do

If the pitch above isn’t enough to get you interested in The Creeps, then maybe I just don’t want to be your friend any more. This is Full Moon silliness at its finest, a delicious slice of mental midget mayhem.

A word of warning, though: the acting is atrocious. I know bad acting is par for the course with this sort of film but I’m talking truly horrendous at times. If you’d grabbed a random woman off the street and made her act in this film, chances are she’d deliver some of the lines better than Rhonda Griffin does.

Personally, the fact I run this website should make it clear that I’m very much of the “the worse it is, the better it is” persuasion, so it doesn’t bother me. But if a cringeworthy script and even worse delivery aren’t your idea of a fun time then you might want to give this a miss.

Fans of Grade A cheese will definitely want to give The Creeps a go. Everything about it suggests it should be rubbish – the acting, the budget, the soundtrack, the ending – but in this case multiple wrongs somehow do end up making a right.

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HOW CAN I SEE IT?
The Creeps was recently released on DVD in the UK as part of 88 Films’ Grindhouse collection. It even comes with the classic Full Moon Videozone magazine programme that was included at the end of the original VHS version, and also includes a ridiculous bonus ‘film’ called The Best Of Sex And Violence. It’s a brilliant package overall and can be bought here.

The US DVD version comes with the Videozone programme too but doesn’t include the bonus film. Americans can buy it here.

SHOW ME THE TRAILER:

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