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The Deadly Spawn
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The Deadly Spawn More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

This is the kind of horror film that inspires

Author: one4now4 from Ft. Worth, TX, USA
22 October 2003

This movie has a bigger cult following than many might think, and I am proud to say I am part of it. I see this film in the ballpark of "The Evil Dead", "Re-Animator", "Bad Taste", and many other classics of splatter legend. I don't feel the need to criticize the acting (unless you count the first two hapless victims), and this is because this movie does what most movies don't with their characters: it makes them REAL people. The fantastic elements blend beautifully with the boring, frustrating mess of most people's everyday life. Still, this is a fun b-movie, which means instead of depressing us with the real-life stuff, it puts some humorous spins on it. The gore and creature FX are amazing. Don't let that R rating fool you, this is one HARD R, so those with weak stomachs need not apply. The creature FX I was amazed by most of all. I would love to know how they did this with such a low budget! Everything in this looks extremely vivid and real (with the exception of some amateurish backgrounds at the beginning and end that are obviously pictures somebody painted or whatever). Even the computer cartoons of "Jurassic Park" do not hold a candle to these creature FX in the least. This is definitely one of the greatest indie/sci-fi/horror/splatter films ever, and I do wonder why it hasn't got the kind of recognition that movies like "Evil Dead" have (no big-budget sequels maybe?). As for those who call "Parasite" a sequel to this, I don't get it. Not only is this a film far more superior to "Parasite" and was seemingly made by totally different people, there is absolutely no way to connect them unless you're talking genre-wise. "Parasite" is in the far-off future, this one's in the present. "Parasite" is about genetically engineered creatures, this one's about space aliens. This one has a sense of humor. "Parasite" doesn't. In any case, I love "Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn" (no matter what title it's under) for it is the classic that "Parasite" should have been and much, much more.

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A charming film in the realm of Raimi

Author: Edward Shimborske III (
13 June 2003

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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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The Ultimate "Home-Made" Horror Movie

Author: squeezebox from United States
3 October 2003

Extremely low budget, but lively sci-fi horror movie about a group of people trapped in a house full of toothy extraterrestrial monsters, hatched from a fallen meteorite, which look like a cross between a giant salamander and H.R. Giger's creation from the ALIEN movies.

The shoestring budget actually adds to the movie's charm, as it appears to have been written, shot and designed by a bunch of talented kids who had nothing better to do with the weekend (which is actually not far from the truth).

The dialog and performances, in general, are fair at best, but the swift pace, campy atmosphere and enthusiastic carnage balance out the shortcomings. Great music score, too. At any rate, you get the feeling that the filmmakers have a true love of the horror genre. It's creepy, gory, and a lot of fun, and would be a perfect flick for a Halloween horror-thon.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly fun low-budget monster mayhem

Author: Renaldo Matlin from Oslo, Norway
8 November 2003

For some it's probably criminally easy to dismiss a movie like this just because of it's low budget, but "The Deadly Spawn" was somewhat of a cult-hit in it's day and it's easy to see why. The make-up-effects are quite good for a movie this cheap (reportedly it cost just $ 20,000 and ended up making millions), and writer/director Douglas McKeown actually takes time building characters before he lets them die gory deaths (moahahaha).

The monsters are quite effective, at least those small eel-like buggers reminiscent of the chest-burster that ruined everyone's breakfast in "Alien" (1979). It also deserves kudos for - in the end - painting a realistic picture of the traumatizing effects something like this would have on those who survive.

If you like alien-invasion-movies in general, or just love the charm of horror on a shoestring-budget, this might be your cup of tea.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A gory gem straight from the heart.

Author: GraveyardChimp from England
26 February 2004

I'll keep it short and sweet. If you like your horror with a big fat daddy budget, this ain't for you. there's no CGI, There's no a-grade actors, there's no intense orchestral score by Danny Elfman. So, now, for the rest of you that are left - this movie is great. It has the same elements that made Peter Jacksons "Braindead" and "Bad Taste" so good, heart. the people who made this film obviously loved what they where doing and managed to pull off some great special effects and gore whilst doing so. i wish this film had another equally low-budget follow-up because the creatures are really great and after watching it you can almost smell all those 80's creature features looming round the corner. I would be very shocked if the people who made critters hadn't watched this first. So i recommend this anyone who likes mad little flesh eating beasties and lots and lots (and i do mean lots) of gore.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A real horror film!

Author: siektwo from United States
26 October 2004

I really love this flick. It's cheesy, full of gore, has comedy (some intentional, and some unintentional), and cool low budget monster effects.

In other words, it's fun. horror movies are supposed to be fun. they are supposed to entertain us horror fans. this movie is very entertaining.

Made with a shoestring budget, it uses it's budget quite well and at least it wasn't "shot on video" (technique using a camcorder to make films).

The gore is kickin. You get peeled off skin, decapitations, bites, limbs chewed off, and more.

It is a unique film, and a great standout scene includes the monster's "babys" (they look like mean tadpoles with teeth) attack an old folk's home. totally funny stuff seeing a retirement home go into chaos.

If i were an actual film critic, i'd score this movie 4 out of 10. I'm not a film critic though, i'm a hardcore horror fan. Therefore, i'm giving this film a 9 out of 10. It's really one of my favorites because it's just no frills fun...and a great watch with your buddies when you're bored and want to kick back some beers.

NOTE: SPECIAL EDITION DVD RELEASE on October 26th by Synapse video. First time ever on DVD!

9 out of 10 (based soley on horror merits)

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Really good b-movie

Author: depeche-4 from spain
26 November 2000

I can't be objective when I talk about horror movies or something similar... I've been a fan of b movies since I was 4. Personally I think that this is one of the best b movies I've ever seen. And everyone who likes that genre wont be disappointed. The rest of you, you who don't like monster movies and gore, keep away from it and don't kick a genre that you can't stand or understand, you are who will be disappointed (some of you maybe still like it). The genre lovers don't be afraid of it, you'll really enjoy it. I promise you.

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Highly me at least

Author: movieman_kev from United States
5 December 2004

Thank god for DVD, I was waiting for a chance to see this film since I was but a wee pubescent gore fiend way back in the mid '80's when I saw a clip of it when I rented "Terror on Tape" (which was and still IS a much better compilation of horror films then the much better known "Terror in the Aisles, but I digress), while sleeping over my Aunt's house. This film's plot is just alien eats and eats and eats some more people. So was it worth the decades long wait?? Well for the most part a resounding YES. I knew it was going to be low budget and I knew it would have bad acting. But it was still a really fun movie for gore lovers. And i wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fellow low-budget horror film fans.

Synapse DVD Extras: 2 commentary tracks (the first with the director and a few cast members and the second with the Producer); alternate opening; audition tapes; stills gallery; outtakes; a 15 page comic book style prequel; and theatrical trailer

My Grade: B

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

My Favorite Movie, ever.

Author: crabsonweed from United States
14 May 2014

To me what they did with such a low budget is astounding.

This movie entertained me all the way through, which in the year 2014 a movie from the 80's can't do anymore.

Compare it to 10 million dollar CGI snooze-fests and this movie is GOLD.

GOLD I SAY!!! The effects are where the movie stands out.

Usually it's a kid with a bucket of fake blood but when it's there, GOD DAMN it's awesome.

My final verdict 12/10.

Best movie since Dawn of the Dead (1978)

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Legendary alien mayhem with great monsters!

Author: Bogey Man from Finland
24 May 2002

This is one of the best alien/monster slaughtering and splattering movies I've ever seen! It is so funny and creative as the monsters are something I hadn't seen before. They are ugly, disgusting, hungry and have about 7000 teeth! They can also move, but pretty slowly. How they did those monsters with the low budget? They look so fantastic and scary as they actually have nothing but huge mouths and hundreds of sharp teeth in them.

Some alien stone comes from the space and crushes into the Earth with these nasty visitors. Soon they find a new home in a cellar of one apartment, and then the "fun" begins. There is one slow sequence in the middle of the film and it is boring to sit through, but fortunately for most of the time, there is always something going on.

The effects and overall look of the film is so 80's and low budgeted and nostalgic and it really makes to miss those golden days when these were made. Nasty slashers, stupid Conan rip offs, alien clones etc. Those were the legendary days that produced us these gems, that we can now track down and enjoy. The Deadly Spawn is recommended HIGHLY for all fans of marginal cinema and especially monster cinema, because these babies are something new! They bite in a way that no other monster has ever bitten before! They appear also in a form of slithery worms, and it only raises the puke-o-meter and fun-o-meter, but only for those who understand these rare pieces of gold. Others will only feel sick watching these!

This film earns at least 7 ultra gory stars out of ten, and these films will NEVER die, no matter how many stupid mainstream efforts or "modern horror films" are made!

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