The Deadly Spawn (1983)

The action begins when two male campers are surprised by a crashed meteor, from which an alien hatches and promptly eats them. Cut to a family living in a toy house (yes it’s a obvious miniature set, but trust me, it comes into its own later). Seventies decor is rampant inside, and a woman walks around in a completely see-through nightie. Ah, the gratuitous booby shot – I’m guessing she won’t be walking around for long.

model houseHer husband goes into the cellar where he gets viciously attacked by a Little Shop of Horrors shaped shadow puppet. His bloody demise takes place just out of view, and just when you assume the film is going to be coy about showing gore, the nylon-clad lady gets her face ripped off in surprisingly grisly detail. And a knowing sense of humour is revealed when a hand-on-the-shoulder jump-scare turns out to be something much wittier.

Other family members are introduced, including a horror-obsessed child, a science-nerd teenage boy, and a visiting aunt and creepy uncle (“Would you be willing to put on one of your monster costumes..?”). When a rain storm begins (cue hose pipe) the little kid settles down with his uncle for a psychoanalysis session. As you do.

gory head munchingLater, when the child puts on a halloween mask to scare his uncle in the cellar (er, ok) he shows almost no reaction to the horrors he finds. The proper reveal of the alien is great fun, the ‘spawn’ tadpole things are pretty creepy, and the woman’s disembodied head being pulled apart by aliens is wonderfully gruesome.

The older brother and his student friends are upstairs puzzling over a dead spawn thing they found, and – as you would – decide to dissect it in a cake tin. And there’s also one of the campiest scenes of the film, when a group of older ladies sharing healthy vegetarian dishes are attacked by a swarm of razor-toothed slug puppets.

Meanwhile, back at the cellar, the boy still hasn’t actually moved, and is still staring at the alien with a blank look on his face. Is he frightened? Is he angry? Is he bored? I have no idea.

expressionless face

There are several gory set-pieces as the monster gets bigger from eating more people, and I particularly enjoyed the tonsil-cam alien p.o.v. shots (are its eyes meant to be inside its mouth?). As the film nears its end, everything seems to be headed for a particular cliche ending – but the final twist was not what I had expected, and it did make me laugh.

Overall this is a very low budget sci-fi monster movie, which owes a lot to other films (it even has a baby alien bursting out of someone’s stomach) and has a classic b-movie feel. It looks more 70s than 80s, and most of the actors never appeared in any other films (unless you count the person who apparently went on to a prolific career in gay porn). However The Deadly Spawn does feel like there’s a real love for sci-fi horror behind it. The alien puppets are lots of fun, and the gore is surprisingly effective. It would never have won any Oscars, but I found it great entertainment in a cheesy, drive-in, b-movie kind of way. This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to!

 

Return Of The Aliens: The Deadly Spawn aka The Deadly Spawn (1983) is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk, play.com, amazon.com and other retailers.

Return Of The Aliens: The Deadly Spawn aka The Deadly Spawn/1983/Filmline/Dir:  D McKeown/Prod: TA Bohus

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One Response “The Deadly Spawn (1983)” →

  1. Aaron Babcock

    February 11, 2012

    Just looking at the stills from this film I would’ve said it was a decade older as well. It does look very 70’s. Razor-toothed slugs attacking old ladies? Count me in. Great review!

    Reply

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