Movie Review: Night of The Creeps (1986)

There’s something so pleasing to me about 80’s cheese horror. I don’t know if it reminds me of shite my babysitters used to let me watch or if it’s just the overall aesthetic, frequent partial nudity, the inevitable jock vs. nerd duality,or the awesome female characters who always seem to pop up.

In this CLASSIC film, directed by Fred Dekker (Monster Squad, Robocop 3) we flashback to 1959 on Sorority Row. Masterfully pulled off in black and white. It’s only slightly tongue in cheek when a blonde bombshell out for a ride with her date, Johnny. Johnny hears a noise and goes to investigate. Which is where the alien brainslug turns him into a murderous zombie.

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In 1986, two dweebs pledging a fraternity so that a former Griswold can have a chance with his dream girl find the cryogenically frozen corpse of Johnny. The are supposed to dump to corpse on the steps of another fraternity. Instead, they freak out- but still unthaw the corpse and the brainslug is passed on to a new host and soon the whole campus is in peril ..and so is Chris’s dream girl. The original zombie peeps on Cynthia and Det. Cameron is called in. Cameron (Tom Atkins, who is is still making films and starred in 1951’s Thing From Another World) had helped take down a zombie axemurderer in 1959.

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Tongue in cheek nods abound to horror greats throughout the film, including the character’s names. Sgt Raimi (Sam Raimi), Chris Romero (George, obviously), JC Hooper (named for both James Cameron and Tobe Hooper).

Cynthia joins team nerd after uberjock fratbro trips the physically disabled JC. JC is my favorite character, he’s picked on for his physical abilities but he’s more self assured than Chris, he’s a great wing man, he stares down the cool kids, he doesn’t take shit from anyone and he lights a brain slug on fire without hesitation. Shortly after Cynthia recounts seeing a zombie’s head explode and slugs crawl out to Chris, JC gets turned. But instead of turning murderous: he fries himself and his brainslugs, before he does he leaves a tape for Chris explaining brainslugs, telling him that he loves him and good luck with Cynthia.

Meanwhile, the cops are zombie hunting. Det. Cameron confronts the original with a venomous, “I already killed you. You son of a bitch I already killed you.”

Chris meets up with the Detective and gives him the news. Then they head out to the homecoming party with flame throwers, Chris hands Cynthia a 12 gauge saying “Hold this, you’ll feel better.” Then they switch and Chris shoots and Cynthia lights ’em up. Going from near catatonic to certified badass with relative ease.

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The ensuing scenes are GOLD. Flame throwers made out of cigarettes and hairspray, running a zombie over with lawn mower, “It’s Miller Time”, infected science experiments. Nothing groundbreaking here, but damn if this isn’t enjoyable as all hell.

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Extant- Episode 6

This is super abridged because I couldn’t/didn’t want to concentrate on the live tweet with the injustice that is Ferguson, MO right now. It took over my twitter, which is good, since Boston news ain’t covering shit.

Man (“top scientist”) gets circles in his head and gets all crazy over Molly’s baby/fetus that’s incubating in a fish tank and murders someone and destroys thousands of dollars worth of equipment..

Ethan is having dreams even though John didn’t invent that yet.

Julie flirts with a babe at the gym (who checks out her stellar bionic legs). She was part of the team that designed her new friend’s bionic joints. And this is the kind of thing that I like, that she’s a woman of science but can use it to flirt -not with her married coworker. 

Molly goes off to the office to nose around. She asks Sam for another session, there’s a security breach. The male astronaut (the other one affected by the spores) is the one who caused it. Molly listens in and hears the dirt that Alan has on Sam. 

Odin, Julie’s crush sees Ethan at the lab. Odin comes in to get his joints checked. Ethan creeped out Molly by breaking all of the pencils to draws those circles. Julie brags about the work she did designing Ethan, and Odin agrees.

Meanwhile, John, Krieger and Molly have a meeting of the minds about “the circles” Krieger thinks it’s a distress signal. Krieger then separates and gets flogged by ISEA’s head of security.

Sparks’s daughter was impregnated by aliens and died on another ship. She ejected herself into space. Molly somehow concludes from this that the baby is still alive. That makes no sense.  

And there will be 2 hours of this next week. ohhh boy.

There are things I enjoy about this show, but the pacing is weirdly slow especially in the past couple episodes. And I wish we would get to the part where things start to make sense… like whose fucking baby is this? And what does it have to do with Sparks’s daughter.

Also I hope that Ethan stopped killing birds. 

Extant- Episode 5

Molly has all manner of crazy dreams involving her, Marcus and “their baby” one ends with an accident, the other ends with a crying baby and a dead Marcus. But Molly was not super pregnant and enjoying morning OJ. Molly is found by John knocked out in the woods. Ethan is intact (which John verifies before tending to his unconscious pregnant wife).

Molly is taken to the hospital where they tell her that she was never pregnant. There is no fetus. There are no pregnancy hormones. They tell her it was a hysterical pregnancy …they tell John it was a con.

Molly wants to see Sam. Sam knew. she did a scan. But she pretends not to remember any of it. The scan, the baby, that she called Molly and told her to run. At John’s workspace, Ethan is not waking up. Julie makes interloping and irrational comments written to sound as if she is under the impression that she is the robot in a coma’s mother. John questions Molly ever being pregnant. Yup. That’s right. Then John tries to wake up Ethan too early to see if Ethan knows what happened to Molly.

But Molly gets a bright idea: when she was at her father’s house a dog bit her and her blood is on a towel. She tests it (the blood on a towel thats been dry for greater than 16 hours) and finds her DNA mixed with someTHING else’s (that can’t be right). The DNA has tentacles. And then John is disappointed that the baby is not his (when a moment ago he didn’t even believe that there was a baby).

Molly goes back to work and some filter that a tech nerd invented sees why all the worms in her sample died. When Molly applies this filter to the footage when Marcus was on board a crazy web of spores is revealed.

Well, that’s weird. 

This show is creepy and atmospheric. But the characters are largely unsympathetic. I like Molly. And that’s about it. John doesn’t even know what to be mad about. Julie flirts with John too much, while simultaneously being ambivalent to his life falling apart. Molly’s bosses are cut out “secretive bad guys in suits.” Marcus is creepy. The other astronaut guy is probably dead. Sam sold her out. I don’t know what’s up with Ethan and birds but it’s fucking weird.

The season got shorter and so did the season finale 

Extant- Episode 3

John comforts Molly with science after her miscarriage. He had already been working on an android and decides that they should raise the program. Molly, in her grief, volunteered to go into space. Molly is remembering all this while she lays in bed.

John wakes up and proposes that they throw Molly a birthday celebration since she missed her birthday in space.

Ethan is nervous about orientation. Molly is going for an invigorated run, her health monitors encourage her to slow down, she sees a spaceship blast off. Orientation doesn’t go so hot, There are angry villagers there who call Ethan “a toaster.” 

Molly tries to see Harman but he’s not there, he’s drawn weird circle patterns (like the one that appeared on Molly’s stomach) on the wall. Sam is disappointed that Molly still hasn’t told John about the pregnancy. She says some version of, “the timing isn’t right.” 

At the party Sam takes Molly’s blood (which is weird). Molly’s dress is fantastic.

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Then Molly collapses and sees herself in space with Marcus. A bit later, John’s lab tech tries to flirt and insert herself into their family structure, but John pays no mind. Marcus’s brother arrives at the party, and Molly has a misunderstanding when he says that he sees Marcus everywhere.

The power goes out. John finds something moving in a box and finds it’s a chicken that Ethan caught earlier. Ethan doesn’t understand what things need food or water. John says, “no more birds and no more secrets.” That prompts Ethan to say that “mom says secrets are okay if you don’t want someone to worry.” John confronts Molly. Then she confesses.

Sparks said that the ISE implanted something in her without her consent. Which is gross and weird. 

As the party wraps up Molly looks for Tim (Marcus’s brother) to say goodbye. Her husband keeps saying that he is not there. She remembers him next to her in a group photo, which is on a screen… but there’s a empty space next to her. SO YOU ARE TELLING ME: THAT NO ONE STOOD NEXT TO HALLE AT HER OWN DAMN BIRTHDAY PARTY?! John tries to calm her but she says she’s losing it, she insists she saw Tim there, saw him talking to other people. The secrets all come out and she manically recounts her hallucinations. She goes off with Sparks because Sam will be there and something bad is happening and she trusts Sam.

Sam tries to go to her office but is held up by security, she sneaks around and shee’s that they are taking her files. Knowing they can’t be trusted she tries to call Molly, she gets John, expresses concern and then texts Molly to get out of the car. 

Molly goes for might over cunning. I thought she would fake morning sickness for sure. Anyway, Molly grabs the wheel, the car swerves and she gets out and runs as we see weird circles protruding on her torso. John is behind them and picks her up.

This show is getting serious. So much craziness, and what could ISE be up to? Halle Berry is just so phenomenal. Her/Molly’s meltdown after discovering the truth about Tim was astonishingly painful to watch. She has no idea who to trust and those she trusts are in danger… with still no clue as to why. And the plot doesn’t center around Ethan. And for Molly the baby she is carrying isn’t even the main focus., she wants to know why she has been betrayed, not gushing over possibilities. 

Which is good, because it’s majorly sick that they implanted something in her against her will and caused her to have abnormal brain scans and jeopardized her physical and mental well being as well as her family life and career ENTIRELY. 

Is Harlan real? 

I hate that Julie is being written as a romantic rival for Molly. I enjoy that John entertains none of it (and that he is supportive of Molly even when dealing with insane situations). Julie being flirty toward John and catty towards Molly her behavior makes it seem as though she is infringing on thei parenting and inserting herself into their family situation. But rather Ethan is her life’s work, too. Not just John’s.It would be nice if she was portrayed as John’s colleague and not a potential hook up.

Extant- Episode 2

Molly is still adjusting to Earth-life. She gets spooked by sneakers in the dryer, Her husband is going out of his way for her, making coffee, planning a fancy meal, picking up a gift for a birthday party for her son’s friend. 

Yasimoto’s money has provided Humanix with a new and glamorous office.

Mr. Woods pitches again to the woman he argued with at the meeting. She still thinks that sharing “humanity” with androids will ruin personal connections. She doesn’t understand why Yasimoto is funding him.

Molly starts having pain/contractions and an expressionless Marcus (her former flame astronaut friend who passed and who came to her on the ship) tells her “it’s ok.” She collapses and Ethan finds her on the floor with crop circles appearing under her shirt.

Molly’s doctor Sam comes to see her at the museum. She has abnormalities in her brain scans. She tells Sam that Harmon is alive, that he didn’t kill himself. Their brain scans were similar. Molly thinks she has hysterical pregnancy and demands an ultrasound to be sure.

Ethan runs off from the museum group and sees and evolution exhibit, he is puzzled by what species he is. Molly finds him and they vow to keep each other’s secrets. Ethan won’t tell John that Molly fell down and Molly won’t tell that Ethan ran off.

Harman is stalking them in the museum and we see a flashback to his pass over the solar flare where he sees his dead mother, Molly returns to work and tries to access Harman’s security footage. She can only view the experiment cameras, She sees him barricading a door but can’t see from what. She removes her “monitoring tether” (a chip which tracks her health and location) and Harman is waiting to pick her up.

Harman and Molly share their stories about seeing someone dead. Molly confronts her employer, the employer tells Yasimoto and Yasimoto says “Then they are already here” and says that it will be harder to hide or dismiss now that Molly is pregnant.

Molly forgot dinner with her husband who has no idea about the world of trouble she is in and is understandably pissed off. Ethan ominously draws a family in a spaceship being saved from extinction.

So much weird stuff is happening but it works well because everything is tied back into each other. But if it’s aliens how are they able to decide which person to disguise as? If the motivation was to impregnate Molly, why did Harman see his mom and not a romantic figure? Why do they only duplicate dead people? So many questions.

Live tweeting the new episode tonight! @Skeletongrrl <–follow me

Under the Dome- Season 2 episode 4

Rebecca and Jim (now on his way back to the darkside) are deciding who of the townsfolk are not work the resources. I repeat. This is less than 3 weeks in. Everyone’s just hysterical because they can’t check facebook.

Melanie gets a name. Norrie acts more civilized towards her now that she might be a person, Norrie teases Barbie when he shows up in last night’s outfit. The kids tell Barbie about the emails they received. They head back to where they got the signal so that Barbie can try to contact the outside world (unlike Norrie; who checked twitter).

Junior breaks out Lyle, but cuffs him.

Barbie is not impressed that Melanie knows the combo to Angie’s locker or that she thinks she went there in 1988.

All of this seems kind of moot since Rebecca is jumping over the hypothetical need to “thin the herd” and is planning to infect the town with swine flu.

Barbie and the kids go through microfiche, Junior presses Lyle for info about his mom. Why he went to her funeral, how she knew about the pink stars. Lyle says she thought the dome would follow her and spare Junior.

All of this pales in comparison with the fact that Rebecca is about to poison the town to see who survives.

Even Big Jim thinks that she’s nuts but she’s so damn type A that I don’t think he can handle it. Why is the science woman so crazy and Julia who quickly falls for the woo woo is seen as pure and good? Religion good, science bad? Well, there have been bad religious freaks; the Rev and Lyle. (Lyle who is helping Junior sort through what Junior’s mom said would happen next.

The kids and Barbie go to the spot where they had previously found the mini dome. Melanie flashes back to the 80s (where she kisses Sam, who obviously know who she was, then) they had found a “meteorite,” Melanie had picked up the mini dome egg and some one pushed her, she got knocked out. And died.

Rebecca projects that everyone in town will be starving to death in 2 weeks and resorting to cannibalism, which seems swift… but whatever.

Barbie finds the meteorite and Melanie’s story is validated.

Big Jim is really going to kill all these fuckers.

But Julia and Sam stop him. Then he calls the a slut and a drunk (respectively).

But he doesn’t even have the virus, Rebecca does.

Julia and Sam run off in pursuit and Lyle gets the drop on Junior and escapes. Honestly that pair up was the insane leading the crazy, so it’s probably for the best.

Rebecca’s plan is to poison the Holy Water, but she reconsiders (maybe seeing baby Alice, maybe that the virus mutated) Julia jumps Rebecca from behind, Rebecca responds to her  like she’s a bothersome dog… which was pretty funny. Sam and Julia lock away Big Jim and Rebecca saying that they will let the town decide their fate.

Dome kids and Barbie find Junior knocked out cold and speculate that Lyle killed Angie and maybe Melanie. Barbie shows up at Julia’s to warn her but Julia says “not tonight” and slams the door on him. Barbie sees Sam and retreats. Sam tries to kiss Julia bet she pushes him away. Smart move since we see scratches on his shoulder consistent with marks that a dying Angie would have left.

Julia’s “I thought I knew you!” attitude towards Barbie (who killed her husband) is dumb. I’m glad that she took some space over starting a romance with Sam. A rare moment where I liked Julia.

Joe ditching Norrie to hold hands with Melanie is terrible. Norrie reminds me a lot of myself. Maybe not, maybe just as more of a “real teenager.” She doesn’t know how to express what she’s going through, she’s had to grow up too fast, she wants to be a good friend but doesn’t know what to say. Someone with a sweet disposition and kind words looks more appealing then the more caustic teen. But I like Norrie, I like that she’s trying to make friends with Barbie rather than seeing him as a random adult who helps them and I like that she’s purposefully distrustful. 

I don’t get Rebecca. I wish she’d find a happy medium because they could use someone more practical than Julia to help out. Julia is living in a dream world. And staying with a murderer. I bet Barbie saves her and they hook up again. 

Under the Dome: Season 2 episodes 1, 2 &3

Episode 1- This one is written by the man himself, Stephen King. And there are so many preposterous things that occur. We lose and gain characters. But we begin our episode with Dale Barbara at the gallows as Julia drops the egg in the lake. Suddenly most of the gathered crowd collapses as a bright light shines across the dome and a mysterious girl appears in the lake. And from there on we have a typical UtD chain of nonsensical and frustrating events.

Julia jumps in the lake to save the drowning girl. She’s shot in the shoulder, so it seems unlikely that she’d be a strong swimmer at that particular moment. A man runs out of a house and helps Julia do CPR, then he asks her if she can walk. Umm.. she’s shot in the upper body and playing life guard. That made no sense. Junior poises himself to be a hero and refuses to hang Barbie. Linda threatens to shoot Big Jim, which is good since she’s the law and Jim is framing a man and publicly executing him. Very reasonable.

The four go investigate at “the dome” (which is making a perimeter around the whole town… it’s not one spot) where Linda dies saving Barbie. Anyone other than Junior, Big Jim or Barbie would have been reasonable. Her oath was to protect and serve, but another woman being cannon fodder, being a reason for male characters to have a change of heart. Boooo Barbie and Big Jim tussle and he runs off to steal a car from local Science teacher Rebecca Pine, another WoC who will probably have a short life span given this show’s track record of repeatedly victimizing women.

Julia and Junior’s uncle Sam tend to the alien who escapes and Angie, Joe and Norrie save Carolyn from flying kitchen accessories while Big Jim hallucinates Dodee telling him off again. Shortly after, Angie and Junior resolve to kill Big Jim. But then they collapse during a magnetic wave. Ms Pine creates a way to offset the magnetic charge. Barbie and Julia reunite and make out around an ocean of collapsed townsfolk. Big Jim finds Junior collapsed and freaks out, then he hallucinates Linda while Junior has a coma dream about his mom. Stricken with fear and concern for his son, Big Jim decides to hang himself but he can’t pull the lever. Julia says that she’ll do it but immediately has a change of heart. So he stomps on the trapdoor and Julia with lightning fast reflexes has a knife open in her hand and cuts the rope. 

Julia and Rebecca immediately quibble over whether magic or science stopped the dome’s nefarious magnetism. Because women can never be friends on TV.

Big Jim tells Phil that Barbie didn’t kill Dodee, then he invites Carolyn, Norrie, Joe and Angie to stay at his house. Yeah, that’s a safe place for Angie in particular… Norrie is prepared to tell him to fuck off but Carolyn says to keep your enemies closer. Angie still wants Jim dead. Good for her. Sam, Junior’s Uncle shows up at the diner, Big Jim is not pleased. Angie closes up the diner alone, she’s taking out rubbish when she sees that alien girl that Julia saved go into the school. Angie follows her but the other girl runs off. Angie sees that her locker is open and the gets an axe to the back. Welp, 2 deaths + 2 replacements + another straight white male added to the main cast. Fuck. Add to that the waffling that the characters do about killing Big Jim… dude’s crazy and a murderer. And now Junior being on board and Angie commending Junior for having her back after keeping her chained up (“to protect her”) last season… oh fuck that. Abuser turned hero is the worst trope.

Episode 2-

Ms Pine wants to reopen the school, Big Jim sets Junior off to check out the school where he finds dead Angie. At the diner Rebecca Pine tells Jim that butterflies are munching their crops. And Barbie and Jim speculate about who would do this. Phil is there and still suspicious of Barbie. They find a bloody shoeprint. Jim thinks it’s Junior, Junior thinks it’s Big Jim. Norrie and Joe are off in the woods oblivious when they find the mysterious girl from the lake. They pass by the school and Joe whose stages of grief are acceptance and anger. Barbie and Julia are discussing the new girl when they see a fire. Rebecca is burning the crops. Joe is upset and Norrie tries to comfort him to little avail. Norrie expresses the same suspicion that Barbie has about the girl from the lake. Because women on this show all hate each other on sight. Rebecca says that she burned the wheat to stop the caterpillars from infesting other crops.Big Jim decides that “this is a test for him”

Barbie’s like: Big Jim’s like, “This plague was sent as a test for me, Barbie.”

Julia goes to talk to Sam to find out is he’s holding anything back about the new girl and he finds out what’s happened to Angie, Julia finds out that Sam is Big Jim’s brother in law. Sam comes to examine Angie’s body for evidence and Junior reveals that he got blackout drunk because the vision of his mom threw him off guard. But he doesn’t think he would have hurt Angie. Barbie and Jim decide to rain pesticides on the remaining crops and they quibble over who will fly the plane and get the credit. Should they let Barbie- the former military pilot!? tough choice. Joe and Norrie bring weird girl’s shoe to Phil and it’s a match, Julia is pissed that they’re holding her… ummm… it seems reasonable. Less reasonable is hung over and emotional Junior switching gears from looking for something damning on Big Jim to wanting to kill the new girl in the span of 30 seconds.

Barbie damages the wing of the plane on the dome, he thinks he’ll run out of gas but Big Jim had a spare tank. Julia and Sam “clear” the girl from the woods when they find a man sized handprint on Angie. Umm… two people working together is a thing. And Julia and Sam go to free her while Joe points a gun at her. Julia and Barbie recap their day’s event and Julia goes on and on about Rebecca and how she’s too Team Big Jim and that Rebecca “doesn’t know everything about the dome.” Newsflash: no one does, at least she’s doing things that will help Chester’s Mill residents. But the fact that Rebecca was in Barbie’s proximity makes Julia see her as a threat… when she was with Sam all day and Barbie didn’t tee off like a 15 year old… makes female characters look dumb as hell. Angie’s funeral is the following day –it’s majorly inappropriate that Big Jim gives the Eulogy, mind you. She wanted him dead, he’d threatened her before. Really any other person was a better choice. Right before, Joe has a melt down while he’s looking for her bracelet, Barbie consoles him and then Junior finds that he has the bracelet and heads to Sam’s to confess that he thinks he did it.

Episode 3

Barbie and Julia are sheltering the young alien girl and Barbie catches her going through his things. She asks him where he is from and he asks her where she is from. Julia accuses him of interrogating her. Oookay.

Big Jim goes to get a haircut and some cologne from Dwight Yoakam. who is a religious nut bag… but that comes later.

Ms Pine decides to get all the teenagers together to help build a windmill. Joe still has the specifications on his school tablet. Norrie and the new alien aren’t exempt from this task. Julia tries to get new girl out of it, but the mystery girl says she would like to help. Norrie is not amused. And this time I don’t blame her. She didn’t get to be sheltered, she’s been through a lot with losing her mom and was never into the school thing. Now she’s being forced into educational activities and the chipper goody two shoes that she thinks may have killed HER FRIEND ANGIE (even though they don’t allow Norrie any time to grieve). 

They head off to the school to get the tablet, Junior is already there after talking to Sam about his blackout and Sam says that his mom used to go into fugue states but that sometimes if she tried to retrace her steps she would start to remember.

It starts raining what looks like blood but is really a chemical/algae rain that burns people’s skin. That might be worse than blood. Lyle (Dwight Yoakam) and Rebecca face off over religion and science.

The school has wifi again somehow and they have gotten messages from the outside. Including a message to Joe from his dad: his parents miss him, “now he’s the man of the house, take care of Angie” WTFF? Joe is the YOUNGER brother. Angie had lived on her own and is an adult. What kind of patriarchal BS… *sigh* Joe starts crying, worried what he’ll tell his parents, worried that they’ll all die in the dome… and he’s comforted by the new girl. Norrie hates it. She gives Junior her tablet and  stomps off. Junior has a message that says “I can help you James” (which is how so many emails in my spam box begin), and he finds a video by his mother. She confesses that she’s alive and tells him that Lyle has answers.

Then alien girl knows Angie’s locker combo… turns out she had the same locker in 1988! There’s no way schools keep records of that for that long. There’s no way that the combos weren’t changed. It’s so fucking pointless.

Meanwhile Rebecca and Big Jim head out to treat the water and stop the red rain. Suddenly a figure blocks the road and Jim crashes to avoid him, the disoriented Jim is tossed from the car and Rebecca is abducted by Lyle. Jim radios for help. Rebecca gets tortured. Barbie, Junior and Julia bust in to save Rebecca (except Junior who is looking for answers from Lyle). Lyle like Julia because she believes in the higherpower of the dome instead of science and she nearly talks him into letting Rebecca go. Rebecca doesn’t wait, she douses Lyle with the acid rain. Julia exclaims “Why did you do that?” Let me answer… she’s been caused pain and forced to fear for her life at Lyle’s hands all day. It’s obvious.

Anyway, Rebecca fixes the water. Lyle goes to jail, Junior lets him out. And Rebecca goes back to the crazy talk about “thinning the herd.” Maybe in time it would be necessary,  the acid rain killed some pigs, butterflies destroyed some plants but it’s been less than 3 weeks. And a bunch of people have already died anyway. Julia gets to be self righteous and outraged. Rebecca gives no fucks.