DVD Review: CREEPOZOIDS (GRINDHOUSE 4) (1987)

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Review: Creepozoids (Grindhouse 4) / Cert: 18 / Director: David DeCoteau / Screenplay: Buford Hauser, David DeCoteau / Starring: Linnea Quigley, Ken Abraham, Michael Aranda / Release Date: January 14th 2013

Take the claustrophobic menace of Alien. Add the shape-shifting terror of The Thing. Then subtract cash and technical know-how and shoot the whole shebang for $75,000 in a basement. And hey presto, you have Creepozoids (1987). Oi, stop sniggering, this is serious.

It's a post-nuclear 1998. (Sorry, when? Oh, right, '80s film.) Society is in ruins. Deadly poison rain pours from the sky. Fleeing the next band of bad weather, a small gang of army deserters seeks refuge in an abandoned underground laboratory. With its shelves of provisions and hot running water, it's a sweet hideout. But no piece of real estate is absolutely perfect, and this one's infested with giant rats and home to a fish-face lizard-man who likes to lurch at people, spitting black goo. Damn you, mad scientists and your crazy amino acids experiments!

With poison rain chucking it down outside, the gang have no choice but to stand their ground, in a repeatedly-running-up-and-down-the-same-corridor-screaming sort of way. They're plagued by the giant rodents, two of them die spewing black goo, one of them turns into a zombie (which dies spewing black goo too... lots of black goo in this movie, lots of spewing). It's a busy outing for horror queen Linnea Quigley, who, in her role as a tousle-haired rookie, totes a gun, takes a shower, gets a giant rat up her T-shirt and runs up and down that corridor with everyone else. There's a protracted grab and throw showdown between the monster and the dwindling survivors – protracted because the monster moves with all the nimbleness of a pantomime horse – before a save-the-best-till-last gross-out finale which involves a killer baby and an umbilical cord being used as a deadly weapon.

Apart from the wait... what?... rewind that! ending, the scares and plot beats are genre standard only, but it's all reasonably atmospheric thanks to the '80s murk-o-vision cinematography, and director/co-writer David DeCoteau hustles things along in a satisfyingly brisk, unfussy manner. There's some green discolouration to the picture in several of the darker scenes, but generally this is a reasonably sharp DVD transfer of a movie which wears its straight-to-VHS heritage on its sleeve. Newbies to 88 Films' Grindhouse Collection should probably start elsewhere, but aficionados of video store schlock who know what they're letting themselves in for will likely find plenty here to tickle their fancy. Fleshing out the disc is a lengthy bonus doc called Film Gore, which is basically just a compilation of spatter mayhem from vintage drive-in movies … wait, did we say just? More ketchup!

Extras: Film Gore (1983) Bonus Film / Full Moon Trailer Park / Stills Gallery / Original Trailer / Reversible sleeve incorporating original artwork

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