A meteorite reigns down from the sky and crash lands in a small town. Soon a ferocious monstrosity grows and so does it’s malice upon all who stand in it’s feeding frenzy. The only thing standing in it’s way is a young horror fanatic child named Charles.
It’s time to settle down and dive into the world of campy low-budget awesomeness! I’m talking about 1983’s The Deadly Spawn! A low budget and I mean real low budget awesome spectacle of gruesomeness.
Written and directed by Douglas McKeown and Ted Bohus. It stars unknown actor Charles Hilderandt who plays the main character also named Charles. It’s like a genius is making this! It was shot entirely in the state of New Jersey. It’s good to know something good came from that state. What is known about The Deadly Spawn is that it had a budget of around twenty thousand dollars, most of that going to the construction of the monster.
Break It Down
Here we have a small rural neighborhood that I would assume is New Jersey. A meteorite crash lands and a vicious creature emerges and kills a group of campers. It soon makes it’s way into the basement of a home nearby the crash site. From this point it feeds and grows to massive size. The monster is a worm-like beast with multiple heads. All with huge mouths littered with sharp teeth. It eats flesh to grow and spawn baby monsters, which feed relentlessly.
I must say, for a film on a budget of 20K; The Deadly Spawn monster is exceptionally well made. It may rip off the Alien xenomorph a little bit. But in those days; everyone was trying to cash in on the Alien market. Obviously the creature wasn’t made as a very mobile prop but it looks so cool that it doesn’t matter. You might say that 1990’s Tremors was inspired by this movie in some way.
What the movie lacks in acting and plot is made up for in gore. And boy is it gory! For a film from 1983 this movie sure doesn’t pull any punches. At one point the main character Charles, goes down to a basement where he encounters the monster consuming his recently killed parents. There are bloody body parts all over the place. The monster even spits the mothers head out of its mouth so the babies can feed on it. From there, right in front of the Charles; the babies rip apart the head. It’s grotesque and awesome. Which leads me to the next point. Charles is not human.
Super Horror Kid
Here we have Charles, he’s a young boy that has a love for horror movies. Charles is probably a symbol of Douglas McKeown’s youth. McKeown grew up a fan of horror and pursued horror makeup and effects. So it’s safe to say that Charles is a direct reflection of himself.
At one point Charles’ Uncle Herb, a professional psychologist; questions Charles for his macabre fascination with all things horror. I kind of wanted the uncle to die at this point. It’s like he thinks his nephew is crazy for liking monsters or something. What the hell is wrong with liking monsters and all things horror? This may be the reason why I love this movie. Horror fans can relate to this kid. Screw everyone else and their terrible romantic comedies! What do they know. Ahh, but Charles comes out on top! Little does the uncle know that his crazy nephew is the one who will survive. When Charles sees the mangle remains of his parents, he doesn’t freak out like everyone else. He remains calm and it’s because of his horror knowledge that he survives against terrible odds. Charles saves the day and gives horror fans everywhere the reason to be proud!
Song and Poster
One thing that I love about this film is the main theme song. Listen to this song and try to tell me it doesn’t put you in a total state of horror movie bliss? It’s creepy and eerily menacing, like the Deadly Spawn creature will bust through your door during the night and devour your flesh. It’s interesting that with such a great song, you only hear it twice in the actual film. In fact, the film lacks an actual music score at all! It’s like they had money for just one song and it was so kick ass that they didn’t foot the bill for the rest.
Also, check out this kick ass movie poster! I really really want an actual print of this poster framed on my wall. If anyone knows where I can purchase one then please let me know. I might just have to create my very own. The only thing that makes me laugh is how there’s this giant three headed monster towering over everything. It’s the most threatening picture and this guy down there is gonna fend this monster off with a damn stick! At least make it an axe or something!
From what I can tell, they didn’t spend a great deal of money on the acting. That part is evidently clear because it’s not oscar worthy performances. The Dead Spawn is cheap, cheesy and over-the-top horror. But that’s why it’s awesome. It doesn’t seem to take itself too serious and feels more like a homage to the classic silver age creature features. It would be nice to have more horror movies being made like this. Instead we get the Sharkanado franchise or overly CGI anal spills.
Horror fans should delight in this movie. It proves that good films can be made without large budgets. A group of people can band together and can come up with a monster film that you can laugh and be grossed out over. It’s about having good old fashion fun and not taking a film too seriously. Some parts may be boring and the sound and cinematography may be poor. But there’s something so loving about the film. Maybe people can appreciate the gore level and see the craftsmanship it took to make the monster. It’s a film that I would let any young “wanna be a director some day” person see. As for me, The Deadly Spawn will always be a favorite of mine and I’m proud to include it in my marathon.