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The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Alien creatures invade a small town and four teenagers, along with a young boy, attempt to escape from them.

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(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Charles
Tom DeFranco ...
Pete
Richard Lee Porter ...
Frankie
Jean Tafler ...
Ellen
Karen Tighe ...
Kathy
...
Sam (as James Brewster)
Elissa Neil ...
Barb
Ethel Michelson ...
Aunt Millie
John Schmerling ...
Uncle Herb
Judith Mayes ...
Bunny
Andrew Michaels ...
Camper #1
John Arndt ...
Camper #2
Diane Stevens ...
Nibbs
Darlene Kenley ...
Hilde
Madeline Charanis ...
Ju Ju
Edit

Storyline

Two campers in the New Jersey woods have their outdoor fun interrupted by the arrival of a meteorite crashing nearby. They go to investigate the crater, but are suddenly attacked and devoured by alien parasites who have hitched a ride to Earth. After finishing off the campers, the hungry space monsters head for a nearby town, where they make their domain in the basement of an old house soon begin polishing off one hapless inhabitant after another. Four young teenagers, plus one pre-teen boy, try to find a way to stop the angry space monsters before they reproduce and literally eat humanity. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Mankind vs. the ultimate eating machine See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was almost picked up for theatrical release by Paramount. See more »

Goofs

At the very beginning of the movie when it shows the meteor hitting the earth it is clearly daytime, yet when the campers leave their tent to investigate, it's dark. See more »

Quotes

[Pete picks up a ringing phone]
Pete: Hello? Oh, hi Frankie. Oh yeah... I woke up because the phone was so loud. Oh, that was my aunt. Yeah, my aunt and uncle are visiting. What?
[pause]
Pete: What are you getting so worried about? Look, look... biology isn't exactly my strongest point either.
[pause]
Pete: What about tonight? We can still go. No, I told you... I said my folks have the car today. Not tonight. What about your car?
[pause]
Pete: Oh? Look, if you want to get here by six... six-thirty p.m. as soon as my folks...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

As soon as the end credits finish, the words "Don't try it, Gary" appear. See more »

Connections

References The She-Creature (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

A charming film in the realm of Raimi

I saw this movie in the mid '80s, renting it for a high-school slumber-party I dubbed `Dusk to Dawn' (a marathon of B-movie horror flicks). My jaw dropped - this was intense stuff! I recently watched it again and was extremely impressed by the imaginative film-making by everyone involved. First off, I don't this utterly fantastic piece of low-budget film-making should be referred to as a rip-off of `Alien.' Just because both films share `something' that comes from another world with sharp teeth and kills people doesn't mean they're in the same ball-park! If anything, this film owes a lot more to old Corman pieces and stuff like `Trilogy of Terror,' `Don't Look In The Basement,' the early Raimi pieces, and the reprehensible `Rabid,' starring Marilyn Chambers. If there's any connection, real or feigned, it comes from the distributors, who, hoping to cash in on the rumor of a sequel to `Alien' gave `Deadly Spawn' another theatrical as `The Return Of The Aliens: The Deadly Spawn' (hence the odd title), or `Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn' (if you like Continental's mis-print).

I enjoy this film because it's gritty and real, shot in 16mm over weekends only, filled with the normalcy of everyday life - people prepare breakfast and lunch, they feed the cat, they worry about tests, they talk about plaster giraffes. The director gives us a glimpse into a normal middle-class family with a penchant for hard-work and education, then shows us how they and a surrounding circle of people react (based on their backgrounds). For example, the brainy older brother wants to dissect one of the alien brood; the uncle wants to help his nephew by psychoanalyzing him a little; the younger, imaginative brother wants to defeat the entire pack as a horror-film defender; the little old ladies fight back dynamically - hell, aliens are nothing next to the Depression-era vermin they might have faced! Simply put, this is top-notch amateur acting with a dose of actuality! By film's end, you feel at home in their house, despite the nastiness!

That said, almost all of the actors here are great! `Boring' Uncle Herb (played by John Schmerling) must be where the character of Dr. Frazier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) came from, 'cause he's on the money! Other MVPs include Ethel Michelson as the progressive Aunt Millie, and Judith Mayes as her off-the-wall new-age mother, Bunny. And, unlike the array of idiot characters you get in most horror flicks, these characters seem pretty smart, especially Charlie (played by Charles George Hildebrandt), who comes to breakfast reading a copy of `Famous Monsters') and his scientist brother Pete (Michael Robert Coleman). I like the way director Douglas McKeown juxtaposes their two disciplines (outlooks on life - left brain, right brain) against one another. in the end, science and imagination triumph together in sheer MacGyver genius!

This is an independent film, much like `Evil Dead I/II,' with the same tongue-in-cheek approach, plenty of point-of-view shots, the same good editing (though certainly not as tight), and loads of staggeringly elaborate alien and gore effects (that would make Tom Savini proud). The adult alien is much like Audrey, the blood thirsty plant from `The Little Shop of Horrors,' but has thousands of teeth and an almost-leering grin, while the offspring are part piranha, part mealworm, part eel, part phallus - they like look like something you'd see in a Gwar stageshow or film. None ever seem like puppets! Like Raimi's film, this one has an energy and spirit that surpass the gore-and-horror paint-by-numbers. In fact, while McKeown (with screenwriters Ted Bohus and John Dods) isn't as effective as Raimi in the humor department here, he brings a much deeper social and truth-seeking criticism to the table. He pokes fun at vegetarians amidst man-eating aliens and ends the film in a 'black humor' finale.

A charming film, `Deadly Spawn' overcame some serious distribution problems (imagine that) and eventually grossed something like $320,000 in one weekend (?). Made for less than $20,000, it's since gone on to make several million dollars (wonder who got the dough?). Hooray for the little man!


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