Friday, April 14, 2017

CREEPOZOIDS (1987) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Full Moon Features
Region: Region-FREE
Rating: R
Duration: 72 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: David DeCoteau
Cast: Linnea Quigley, Ken Abraham, Michael Aranda, Richard Hawkins, Kim McKamy, Joi Wilson

Synopsis: Blending key elements of genre hits MAD MAX and ALIEN (while also incorporating elements of Band's PARASITE and METALSTORM) but produced on a tenth of their budgets, CREEPOZOIDS tells the tale of five Army deserters who wander the post-apocalyptic, post-industrial LA landscape seeking shelter from an increasingly toxic environment and poisonous rain. They end up in an abandoned laboratory where they explore, have sex and eventually run afoul of a cavalcade of genetically engineered creatures including mutant rats, a monstrous baby, a massive, bloodthirsty H.R. Giger-esque beast…and something even more malevolent.

This cash-strapped, lo-fi Alien (1979) knock-off opens with a band of army deserters in the then (1987) post-apocalyptic future of 1998, the leader of the rag tag group is Jake (Richard Hawkins, Close encounters of the Third Kind), his second in command Butch (Ken Abraham, Terror Night), scientist Kate (porn star Ashlyn Gere (as Kim McKamy, Evil laugh), badass Bianca (Linnea Quigley, The Return of the Living Dead), and tech-nerd Jesse (Michael Aranda, El Chupacabra). They're wandering through the downtown L.A. ruins and find shelter from the deadly post-nuke acid rain in a seemingly abandoned laboratory. The place seems too good to be true, stocked with food rations and hot running water! However, it turns out the place was a science lab of some sort used for weird amino-acid experimentation, and a rubber-suited creature is on the loose, as are menacing mutant rats of unusual size, both of whom pose a danger to the AWOL deserters. 

This movie is so cheap, shot in 1200 square foot sound stage, it feels claustrophobic, which I guess works well for the bunker location, and there's some nice smoky atmosphere, I also enjoyed the cool retro green-glow of 80s computers, vintage floppy disc, the blue zap of a laser gun, and plenty of gooey and slimy creature effects and gore. Also adding to the entertainment factor is a softcore shower scene of Quigley nude in her prime, it seems to go forever, but any 80s Quigley nudity is always appreciated, and that's the sort of padding I don't much mind. 

I've watched Creepozoids (1987) in the past, or at least I thought I had, but apparently I never made it through to the end (those past DVDs looked like shit), which was a shame, because the finale is where the low-budget gold is hidden away, with the mutant offspring of the creature rampaging through the facility, a hideous baby creation that was awesome, a lot of what came before was cheesy, but that baby sort of made up for a lot of it

That being said, the movie is ultra-stupid, even my Full Moon standards, but DeCoteau and the crew managed to make a fun Alien knock-off on a shoestring budget, and I love it. At times the movie feels a lot like an Italian 80s post-apocalyptic knock-off, particularly Bruno Mattei's Rate: Night of Terror (1984, a film which also features band of apocalyptic survivors taking refuge in a abandoned research bunker, plagued by mutant rodents, and if you haven't seen that one, do yourself a favor and double-feature these together. 

Other cool factors include a cool 80's synth score from Guy Moon (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama), some atmospheric colored gel lighting, and the much appreciated Quigley sex appeal, but there's no hiding that this production was anemic, the cast is uniformly awful, even Quigley, who is fun eye candy, but c'mon guys. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I loved it, I have a soft spot for these 80s Alien knock-offs, and this one even has a decent chestburster styled scene. Despite the padding and low-budget, they do manage to cram in some good icky stuff, including a decent decapitated head scene, black alien-spew, and a creepy killer baby that is nightmare inducing, good stuff for those who love the bad stuff

Audio/Video: Creepozoids (1987) arrives on Blu-ray from Full Moon Features framed at 1.78 widescreen, cropped on the top and bottom from the original (1.33:1) framing. It looks solid, grain can be a bit chunky at times, but fine detail is nice, there's some nice depth and clarity to the image, this is a huge improvement over the Full Moon Grindhouse Collection DVD from a few years back. The new cropped widescreen image looks good, it never looks crowded, if you'd never seen the fullscreen version you would probably assume this was the original aspect ratio. Audio, as per usual with Full Moon HD releases, is limited to a lossy Dolby Digital presentation, with choice of stereo or surround. For a lossy track it sounds solid, not the most dynamic, but the Guy Moon (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) score sounds wonderfully 80s sci-fi, good stuff. No subtitles are provided. 

The disc includes a brand new audio commentary with DeCoteau who is very candid about his second film, his first being Dreamaniac, which he calls a disaster. He speaks about the limited resources and budget, trying to make the slimy sci-fi horror film on a shoestring budget in a 1200ft space with only two doors, both seen ad nauseum inthe movie, haha. He also speaks about actress Kim Mckamy refusing to do nudity in the film, then being shocked a few years later when he found out she went into porn under the name Ashlyn Gere (Anal Secrets, Sorority Sex Kittens 2) with a new set of tits. DeCoteau has had a long and storied career, love listening to him on these commentaries, always a blast. 

Also on the disc are fourteen-minutes of Full Moon trailers, though oddly, the Creepozoids trailer is an older fullframe trailer in SD, but it does serve as a nice comparison to how awful the movie looked on DVD previously. There's also an image gallery of behind-the-scenes photos courtesy of producer Gary P. Ryan.   

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Director David DeCoteau 
- Full Moon Trailers: Creepozoids (2 min), Ravenwolf Towers (2 min) HD, Killjoy Psycho Circus (2 min) HD, Puppet Master 2 (2 min) HD, Puppet Master 3 (2 min) HD, Head of the Family (2 min) HD, Spectres (2 min) HD 
- Photo Gallery (2 min) HD 

Creepozoids (1987) is certainly a trashy movie, but it's trashy lo-fi fun and if you're already a Full Moon fan you're well-primed for this sort of 80's schlock. The new Blu-ray looks terrific, there's a nice depth and clarity to the image that past presentations lacked, if you love 80's low-budget schlock then this is worth a watch. 2.5/5