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One of the All-Time Great "So Bad It's Good" Movies
on 24 October 2014
This is an early 80's horror film, which had a minuscule budget ($8000), and was released in cinemas on the same day as Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. It came out in the time of banned VHS video nasties, although this one wasn't actually banned.
The film clearly has it's roots in 1950's B-movie horror and sci-fi pics - the basic story is quite similar to Steve McQueen's The Blob. A small alien life-form crash lands on Earth, in a small, quiet American town, and takes up residence in the underground basement of one of the locals. The creature looks like a cross between the flesh-eating plant in Little Shop Of Horrors and Ridley Scott's Alien. Just like in The Blob, the creature preys on humans, and it grows larger and larger. It also has offspring, which look like tadpoles, and which infest the local community.
The special effects (latex and prosthetics, not CGI), are risibly bad, although the monster does have a pretty impressive set of gnashers, which would put Luis Suarez to shame. The sound quality is vaguely muffled, but you can hear what the actors are saying. The film score is deliciously over the top. The film editing is haphazard and the camerawork is awkward. The acting is wooden infested with woodworm. There's certainly a lot of gore - in one scene a woman has her face ripped off by the monster, but the F/X is just so resoundingly bad that, instead of being blood-curdling, it's simply ludicrous. The scene where a group of juvenile deadly spawn attack some middle-aged ladies in a lounge, had me laughing with tears. Completely inadvertently, this film is full of big belly laughs.
So, all in all, this is a truly awful film, a shining beacon of one stardom. And yet, I do have a real soft spot for it. It's production value is so unrelentingly amateurish and inept, that you can't help but be entertained by the sheer awfulness of the movie. It's right up there with the likes of The New Barbarians, The Ice Pirates and Basket Case. Indeed, if you fancy a double-bill of trashy, early 80's schlock horror, The Deadly Spawn combines very well with Basket Case.
The DVD release is by Arrow Video. The packaging has some nice, eye-catching artwork, and the film comes with a 23 page booklet, giving a very detailed and informative history about this "masterpiece" of the macabre. Highly recommended if you want a monumentally dumb film which will put lots of smiles on your face.
Here are the links for the other films I've mentioned - The New Barbarians [DVD] Ice Pirates  Basket Case - The Trilogy (Limited Edition 3-Disc Steelbook) [Blu-ray].
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