I've been away from Full Moon movies for a while, so I have to admit that I got weirdly excited when I put on the company's new Blu-ray of The Creeps -- aka Deformed Monsters -- and I realized pretty quickly that it comes from a time when Full Moon movies -- and all low-budget horror movies like it -- were still shot on film. I was immediately nostalgic for not just the Full Moon of the past, but for a time when the lines between "real" movies and little direct-to-video cult movies like this were much more blurred. They could rightfully sit next to one another on the video store shelves.
There's almost too much plot in The Creeps, which spends a great deal of time on the capture of a second woman (Anna's boss at the library, played by Kristin Norton), as well as Anna and David running around in circles and bickering in an uninteresting way. The little monsters -- a staple of Full Moon Features -- are the real draw here, and they're handled pretty well. I may not love the interpretation of Dracula by Phil Fondacaro (he of Bordello of Blood fame), but I appreciate that he plays the material more or less straight, which works to bring out the comedy. Yes, The Creeps is meant to be a horror comedy, which I suppose could be inferred when I mentioned the whole "3 ft. tall monsters" thing. I appreciate that the tone is less silly and broad than many of Full Moon's more recent horror comedies -- the Evil Bongs and the Gingerdead Mans and their respective crossovers -- but just because the movie doesn't go for easy, stupid jokes doesn't mean that it's funny. The most comically entertaining moments in the film come from the monsters, which are pretty well-realized in their makeups and physicality, especially for a movie of this scale and budget. As long as they're on screen, The Creeps is kind of fun. The bad news is that they're not on screen a whole lot.
Maybe my two biggest obstacles to enjoying The Creeps more than I do are the score by Carl Dante, which is juvenile and runs over seemingly every frame of the movie (I have never missed Richard Band more than I did watching this), and the performances. I won't make an impassioned argument that the acting in Full Moon Features has always been their strongest suit, but I also know that the movies have starred actors like Jeffrey Combs, Andrew Divoff, Barbara Crampton, Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Lance Henriksen, Seth Green, Denice Duff and many, many others, all of whom are talented and who elevate the material with said talents. Even some of the casts not made up of genre stars have worked in Full Moon movies because they know the movie they're in and pitch their performances in just the right way to make it fun. The actors in The Creeps, however, just don't quite work for me, with Griffin relegated to mostly screaming and Lauer in full-on "funny guy" mode. They generate hardly any chemistry together. Bill Moynihan, playing the movie's de facto villain, does a version of a mad scientist by way of community theater; he's saddled with some dialogue that might be challenging for any performer and clearly makes some choices in the way he approaches the role, but comes off more as an actor trying for something than a convincing character.
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