The Deadly Spawn (1983) Poster

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This is the kind of horror film that inspires
one4now422 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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The Ultimate "Home-Made" Horror Movie
squeezebox3 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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Surprisingly fun low-budget monster mayhem
Renaldo Matlin8 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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An average horror movie with surprisingly innovative effects
jadavix4 November 2017
"The Deadly Spawn" is a classic example of a horror flick made on a shoestring budget which is nevertheless worth watching due to the ingenuity of its creators.

The plot is basically non-existent. An alien comes to Earth in a meteor and hides in a family's basement. It starts picking people off and having little babies that look and behave like land-based piranhas.

The characters and dialogue are all completely forgettable. The enthusiasm that went into the creature and gore effects obviously didn't rub off on the cast.

But that's not what you watch it for. You watch it to see what a talented crew can do with little money and on that score, "The Deadly Spawn" more than delivers.
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Legendary alien mayhem with great monsters!
Bogey Man24 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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A charming film in the realm of Raimi
ES-III13 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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Before the Slugs, Slither n Night of the Creeps, there were these slimy creatures with hell lottuva teeth. Watch out for the decapitation n defenestration scenes.
Fella_shibby14 June 2019
I first saw this in the mid 80s on a vhs. Revisited it recently. The initial kills r offscreen with jus blood on the ground, on the spectacles, on the bulb n on the wall with lots of slurping noise but the film does get gory later but nowhere tensed or fast paced. A woman's face gets munched upon by an alien suffering from bruxism. An old uncle gets devoured by the aliens offscreen. A teenager gets decapitated by an alien's teeth n the aftermath defenestration scene of the rubber body will make u lol. The salad scene from the film Slugs was inspired by a similar scene from this film. Inspite of the running time only 82 mins, the film gets tedious considering the old ladies' chit chat n the teenagers conversations.
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Highly me at least
movieman_kev5 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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Unexpectedly great, no budget monster flick
Leofwine_draca10 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
What this film lacks in budget and professionalism it certainly makes up for in terms of special effects; I would say that these are some of the most inventive, imaginative and damned good effects that I've ever seen in an amateur film. Okay, so some effects, like the miniatures at the beginning and end, are predictably awful, but the actual alien creatures themselves here definitely do not disappoint.

The plot is a typical one involving an alien invasion which begins with a meteorite crashing into the woods (hmm, where have we heard that before? THE BLOB maybe?). Scores of little worm things are released into the countryside, and some take refuge in the open basement of a house, where they quickly develop. The family members are then picked off one by one by the horrible creatures. So, to put it very basically, a group of people, trapped in an isolated location, are menaced by a toothy beast. I guess the makers of this film saw ALIEN when it came out four years previously.

The acting is, as you can imagine, really bad, with people either reading the lines off their cards or simply not bothering at all. It's not really, really, bad but it's quite laughable. There's nothing in the way of scenery or atmosphere, and the amateur nature of the film is noticeable at all times. And, sad to say, towards the end it all gets rather silly indeed, with our young hero employing the same methods as Roy Scheider did in JAWS to get rid of the monster.

But...there are some real stand-out moments here which just have to be seen to be believed. Some notable gore moments include a corpse with worms wriggling from the eye sockets and bursting from the sockets, and a head being pulled off and the decapitated body being thrown through a window. There's another hilarious moment where the worms attack a group of old ladies having a party. The creatures themselves sometimes look bad, sometimes look real enough to be convincing, especially during an impromptu dissection on one of them.

The highlight of this film for me, and I'm sure for many others, comes when a young boy ventures into his basement. He wanders through the darkness before his torch lights something up in the gloom. It's the alien, a multi-headed creature with rows of sickly-looking teeth, something which could almost be Lovecraftian in nature. At its feet (or should I say tentacles) lies a half eaten body. Then, from its jaws, falls the head of the boy's mother, all mutilated. The tiny monsters then proceed to tear the flesh from the head in graphic detail. Let me say, this scene is absolutely PERFECT. It immediately repulses, horrifies and scares, setting out exactly what it was meant to do. The effects work, because the basement is dark and the darkness hides any joints. There's no CGI, this monster has body, texture, you can almost smell it. I'm actually inclined to say that this one scene is one of the best I've ever seen in a monster movie; in this one moment everything falls into place and it actually becomes better than ALIEN, the film which it was ripping off. Therefore, it has to be watched because of this, just to watch this totally unexpected, graphic and shocking moment. And the rest of the film isn't that bad, so why not give it a go?
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A gory gem straight from the heart.
GraveyardChimp26 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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The F/X Make It Worth Wathing
ryan-100755 June 2019
Some deadly aliens have landed on planet Earth. Soon they are hiding in the basement of a normal middle-class American family. The two brothers Pete (Tom DeFranco) and Charles (Charles George Hildebrandt) must outwit the killing aliens if they want to survive.

Supposedly made for only $25,000. It is the effects or the look of the aliens that in my book are excellent given the shoestring budget. The acting as well is better than you are expecting, but please remember its not like any of them were robbed on Oscar night. There are also a couple dialogue heavy scenes that maybe could have been rewritten to add some spice to those scenes, but it doesn't make me not recommend this to any fans of gory, low-budget horror flicks.
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Spawning death.
morrison-dylan-fan22 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
After being told by a fellow IMDber that UK DVD company Arrow was having a sale on Amazon Uk,I decided to take a look at the titles on sale,and I spotted a fun-looking, slimy alien monster movie,which led to me getting ready to see death spawned.

The plot:

Whilst camping in the woods,some campers notice an meteor fall nearby.Going to investigate the crash site,the campers discover that aliens have landed on earth,who brutally kill them the moment they get their first glimpse of the campers.Living near the crash site is a family consisting of Sam,Barb and their 2 kids Pete & Charles.After his mum and dad have gone on holiday, (talk about good timing!) Sam decides to check if a recent rainstorm has flooded the basement.Fearing that the basement has been flooded with rain,Sam soon discovers that the basement has been flooded by murderous aliens.

View on the film:

Before I get to the title it self,I have to mention that Arrow have given the film a terrific transfer,with the natural grit of the Video being kept,whilst offering a clear soundtrack and filling the DVD with detailed extras.

Covering the full cost of the title at just $18,000,co-writer/(along with Ted A. Bohus/John Dods & Tim Sullivan) director Douglas McKeown takes advantage of shooting the film on video by covering the movie in low-lights,which along with building a creepy atmosphere for the aliens,also emphasises the fuzzy grain that the format offers.Along with displaying the video dirt,McKeown also runs down the film with ultra-gory alien/monster killings which McKeown presents with a real glee,which go from the delightfully rubbery,mega-tooth "final boss" to the surprisingly creepy, eel-like mini aliens.

For the screenplay the writers attempt to cross mad alien/monster antics with teens in a mysterious peril.Whilst the writers do well in slowly increasing the horrific nature of the outrageously grisly murders,the teens in peril/mystery sadly slows the whole film down,due to the cast being shockingly flat,and being unable to express any sense of terror in even a mildly convincing manner,which leads to this spawn not being as deadly as it should have been.
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Really good b-movie
depeche-426 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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A real horror film!
siektwo26 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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My Favorite Movie, ever.
femboi14 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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The Deadly Spawn
Scarecrow-8825 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Alien monsters, with their mouths full of razor-sharp teeth, ride a "meteor" into the Earth harvesting in the basement of a nearby house. During the film, those who live in the house, unknowingly become lunch to the beasties when they enter the basement. The basement, however, will not hold them forever and we watch as many smaller alien monsters venture outside attacking a vegetarian dinner party full of older women gathering together. When the parents are eaten by the monsters, their sons, young horror movie fan Charles(Charles George Hildebrandt)and older astronomy student Peter(Tom DeFranco)will have to defend themselves or else perish. Pete's pals Frankie(Richard Lee Porter), love-interest Ellen(Jean Tafler)and Kathy(Karen Tighe)come over and find themselves also in a battle for survival.

75% of viewers who watch this flick will probably find it repellent and laugh at the rubber monsters, but this film is intended for a certain audience. I think, in essence, it's an old-fashioned "aliens attack" creature feature" except for the splatter-gore. The film is loaded with disgusting violence such as how we see the monster attack victims, often chomping down on their heads and flesh. I think creature feature fans, used to fake-looking rubber monsters from yesteryear, will embrace this flick for that's part of it's charm. For a LOW budget( was indeed a good idea to set most of the film in the central location of one house), the gore effects are quite impressive. Cheap photography might also add to it's charm. The cast is littered with no-names whose acting is adequate, but in a gruesome B-flick sci-fi horror, that doesn't much matter. The ending twist is wonderfully inspired.
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Critters gone frenzied
PeterMitchell-506-5643646 February 2013
I love these cheaply made horror flicks of b grade status, that go straight for the gore. Such is, The Deadly Spawn. Simple plot: A meteor crashes against a fake beautiful backdrop that's 'spose to be real. First sign of a b grade flick. Two campers, one of them, their first uttered line, as his head peeks out from a tent "What was that". I tell you what it was, hundreds of alien like little monsters (think Critters, but bloodier) who are here on earth, with big appetites as they feed on human flesh. Unfortunately for one family who we get to know a bit of, these little fu..ers take residence in the basement of their house, the little boy, who comes across 'em, stupefied. These horror flicks that have unknown casts, and deliver big on gore are great. One by one, the owners, and neighbor friends, are taken by these swine, where it comes down to some intellectual teens, two of who'm are in love (oh, it's all so cute too) and that young boy, to exterminate these swine. The Deadly Spawn is clever with buckets of gore, even though the creatures looks as fake as, but what did you expect. Horror fans, this is one, you should sink your teeth into.
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Must love the 80s
acedj7 November 2019
The 80s put out a lot of cheesy movies, and here is an example of one of the best. A meteor lands on Earth, bringing with it some very tenacious and toothy aliens. That is about all you need to know of the plot. This is a movie made well before CGI, so the effects are all practical, and GREAT!. There is a lot of gore here and, well the movie is just fun. The acting is of course terrible, but who would expect anything different?
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Big Mouths Full Of Big Teeth...
azathothpwiggins15 May 2020
Warning: Spoilers
THE DEADLY SPAWN is about a young, monster-obsessed boy named Charles (Charles George Hildebrandt), who is far too imaginative for his brainiac brother, Pete's (Tom DeFranco) taste. Well, these brothers are in for an adventure, after a meteor crashes nearby, releasing a hideous creature that lives only to eat human flesh and reproduce!

In short order, mum, dad, an uncle, and the poor electrician have been devoured! Charles has no idea that the insidious invader has set up shop in the basement, sending hundreds of tadpole-like offspring throughout the house!

This movie is a great, low-budget, ultra-gory slime fest for the true monster fanatic. The toothy aliens are very well constructed, and an example of what imagination and practical effects can produce. The story is pretty basic, but who cares? It's all about the monsters!

BEWARE: If you're squeamish, the "face-ripping" scene may send you scurrying for cover!...
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I Don't Want To See A Movie Like This
PaJRJ26 May 2018
When I used to go to the local Mom and Pop video store I would be confronted by cheap pieces of film disguised as entertainment such as this. One look at the cover tells you all you need to know. The correct reaction is "I don't want to see THIS movie!"

Bingo. If you're like me, that is incomplete. I don't want to see this movie. I NEED to see this movie. I will do whatever it takes to buy this movie which I am now enjoying on my copy on VHS with the oversized case.

A labor of love produced on a $30,000 To $50,000 budget backed up by a serious love of old time schlock cinema.

Ted Bohus did graduate to some better budgets, such as Vampire Vixens from Venus which via friendship with Fred Olen Ray did include Michelle Bauer in the cast, but this work including nobody you ever heard of is one of the best cult movie classics you can get a hold of.

As usual with reviews of this type of movie, do not expect high art. Just turn you brain off and enjoy the ride.
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Pretty good low budget monster flick from the 80's.
Aaron137512 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
If you've seen the film "Don't Look in the Basement" you will know it does not deserve that title, but rather this film does! Okay, the monster does get around a little bit...that being said this film is not too bad for a film that stars no one of note, as it actually has some really good gore and some decent monsters. Heck, it even does rather good as far as miniatures. With all the good it does have bad as with the budget and time they shot this, no way is it going to be a flawless production.

The story, meteor lands and two campers die in the pre-credit sequence, poor dopes! Well the monster makes its way to a family's home. Whose family, heck if I know. I think the mother and father are the ones who get killed right off the bat so it must be their house. There is also another couple staying there and they seem to be related to the others killed. Two boys are there too and they refer to the two surviving couple as aunt and uncle so I think I'm right about who is who. Well the alien starts spawning aliens so soon the house is infested with the little tadpoles of varying size. One child stays in the basement an absurdly long time right in front of the beast and so he is able to discern its weaknesses while the older brother refuses their existence even as the love of his life gets her head bit off!

The movie predates Friday the 13th part 4, but the two movies share a few things in common. Both feature a house in the woods and both feature a young boy obsessed with horror and masks and both feature said boy saving the day. I wonder if it is coincidence...I would say a resounding yes, but the whole mask thing is just a bit too similar.

As I said the thing is not perfect as there are a couple of dialog scenes obviously meant to pad the screen time that offer nothing to the story and the fact the monster is dispatched with electricity when the power has been shown to have been knocked out. Still, it can be forgiven as the very green cast does their best and that whole strange dinner party is just crazy! The film was known as Return of the Alien:The Deadly Spawn when I saw it as a child, glad to see they ditched that first part, which was obviously trying to trick people into thinking this was a sequel to Alien.
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Highly enjoyable 80's Alien monster gore fest.
poolandrews8 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn starts as two campers (Andrew Michaels & John Arndt) witness what looks like a large meteorite crash to Earth & land nearby, they set of to find it & they quickly realise that the meteorite also brought a large toothy flesh eating alien to Earth with it. Cut to the next morning & in a large house nearby Sam (Brewster) & his wife Barbara (Elissa Neil) check the their basement after a vicious thunderstorm the night before & become the latest victims of the huge hungry alien creature that has hidden there, the alien monster spawns lots of slimy tadpole type offspring who also spread out in search of food & they definitely aren't vegetarians...

Written & directed by Douglas McKeown this is a terrifically entertaining splatter film from the early 80's, an era when independent filmmakers could turn in a decent horror flick for very little money. Originally just called The Deadly Spawn until someone decided to cash in on the success of Alien (1979) by adding the 'Return of the Aliens' prefix I admit it right now I think this is a fantastic film which I first saw in the early 90's & having watched it again many times since, I can honestly say I've throughly enjoyed it each time since. At only 78 minutes in length (75 if you don't watch the end credits) it moves along at a nice pace, it doesn't outstay it's welcome, it lags in a few places but not for long & it has plenty of 80's gory excess. The character's are basic, the dialogue is as well although to be fair they behave & talk like normal people, you know they read the paper over breakfast, they make small talk, discuss school & things like that just like the average person might do. To be honest the only reason anyone is going to watch this is because of the alien & it gets plenty of screen time & it's satisfyingly one minded, basically it wants to eat everything that moves rather than 'stalk' teenagers or have any elaborate plans to conquer Earth & I liked this simple yet effective motivation! There's a great sense of fun here, there's plenty of gore & alien action & considering the entire film takes place in one location it doesn't get repetitive. I really liked this & there are many memorable scenes including a load of the small alien spawn attacking a party of old women & I even liked the ending which could have lead to a sequel.

It's probably an achievement in itself that The Deadly Spawn was even finished, shot over a period of a couple of years sometimes on weekends in what seems to be a single location on grainy 16mm film. For a start I'd rather watch a film shot with 16mm film than digital video like most low budget horror filmmakers do these days, there just isn't an effective substitute for the look of film in my opinion. Everything considered the special effects are mightily impressive, don't take that statement to mean they are on a par with the likes of Starship Troopers (1997) because that's not what I mean but taken in their own right they look good. The main alien is a huge toothy thing which is well made & operated, the little tadpole things are also impressive & move very convincingly in a lot of shots. The special make-up gore effects are also very good, there's severed limbs, a decapitated head which has it's flesh picked off, someone has the skin on their face torn off, the little tadpole aliens bite someones eyes out & there's plenty of satisfyingly thick red blood splashed around. There are a few imaginative scenes like when Barbara is in the basement looking for Sam & he appears to tap her on the shoulder from behind but it turns out that it's just his severed arm in the aliens mouth as it eats it.

Unbelievably The Deadly Spawn had a minuscule budget of about $25,000 which to my eyes is incredible, how on Earth could they make a complete film with so many good special effects, edit it, score it & distribute it for so little? While The Deadly Spawn isn't as polished as a big budget Hollywood effort it's surprisingly well made, it has an The Evil Dead (1982) & Bad Taste (1987) guerrilla film-making feel in the sense all three films were made on low budgets over a period of time largely by people who had little more to offer than enthusiasm. The acting isn't that great but everyone gives a functional performance if nothing else.

The Deadly Spawn (I hate the 'Return of the Aliens' prefix) is a brilliant, gory monster flick from the 80's made for practically nothing. I loved it the first time I saw it & still do now, a real gem & lovers of exploitative 80's gory monster films should get hold of a copy as soon as they can.
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"How big can they grow anyway?"
Bezenby30 October 2014
Yes, this has got crap acting, barely any plot, and an out loud shoddy budget, but the crazy alien effects and high gore level make this one a total buzz to sit through. This is yet another film I remember being advertised when I was a kid, and it didn't disappoint.

The plot, as it were, involves a meteorite falling to Earth and disgorging an alien that kind of resembles Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors, only much more toothsome, bigger, and deadlier. It also seems to reproduce rather rapidly as we see it set up shop in a family's basement and start chowing down on the parents of our heroes, Charles the teenage horror fan and his brother, whose name I've already forgotten. Also present to be eaten are Aunt and Uncle, and some friends of the older brother, who, in a departure from films of this ear, are hard working students rather than pot smoking hedonists.

So it's a 'people trapped with killer aliens film' with plenty of the red stuff on view. Folks have their faces ripped off, hands severed, we see a poor fellow bisected with aliens feeding on him, and some poor girl has her head bitten clean off. This is all good to sad people like me who enjoy this kind of thing.

There's also a mass spawn attack on a bunch of old ladies too, for variety. It's not rocket science by any means but who can hate a film like this? The killer ending is both a) a head scratcher and b) most welcome in a dumb kind of way.

Also, the teenage son had a Tales from the Crypt poster in his room, which was the film I watched directly before this one. Nice.
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The Return of Aliens, The Deadly Generation; The Danger is on Earth!
Fernando-Rodrigues9 May 2021
THIS is the proof we can still make fun and entertaining films with a low budget! It's surprisingly good, trashy, and delicious, even tho its story is simple and short. A lesson in good bad taste.
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Endearing low budget schlock.
Hey_Sweden21 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"The Deadly Spawn" is very likable, earnest stuff, and one can tell that it's made by fellow fans of the sci-fi and horror genres. Made for approximately $25,000, and filmed on location in New Jersey, it's done in a fine old school style, with use of obvious matte paintings and the kind of practical effects that people like me thrilled over during their introductions to this kind of thing. Its story deals with a meteorite that crashes in the woods, a meteorite bearing a disgusting species that basically looks like a many toothed, very phallic version of Audrey II. (The miniature versions of the monster definitely will have viewers thinking along sexual lines!) After gobbling up some dumb ass campers, the creatures find a nice comfy home in the damp cellar of a nearby house, and during the course of the next (rainy) day, find an assortment of human victims on which to snack. Now, "The Deadly Spawn" is likely not going to quite be for everybody, as it takes its time preparing for its wild finale. One may grow impatient as the people inside the house go about their business completely oblivious to the danger down below. For a movie running a mere 82 minutes, there is some slow pacing going on, to be sure. But it's too hard to really knock a movie featuring such characters as a horror junkie kid (Charles George Hildebrandt) who's got enough smarts to figure out a way to destroy the monster (Give this kid credit, also, for staying so cool when he sees what remains of his mom.), his science obsessed teen aged brother (Tom DeFranco), and their psychiatrist uncle (John Schmerling) who takes the time to interview his precocious young nephew about his interest. The writing isn't completely predictable, with a nasty fate in store for a rather amiable character. There's lots of splatter tossed about, and genre lovers will be delighted once the attack is finally underway and our human cast starts getting munched on. It's never, ever taken too seriously, with the tongue in cheek tone emphasized strongly with that priceless "it ain't over yet" final shot. The acting is admirably sincere, and the shoestring budget, and absence of excessive slickness you'd get from a studio picture, makes "The Deadly Spawn" a pleasing, unpretentious, and simply fun experience, flaws and all. Seven out of 10.
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