The Night of Goosebumps
Original:Night of the Creeps
The Night of Goosebumps (Night of the Creeps, 1986) has all the formula necessary for fans of the fantasy genre to enjoy: crawling creatures, charismatic characters, small town, Tom Atkins like a grumpy police officer, a challenge to join a fraternity and, of course, well-designed zombies. All this with the calibrated hands of Fred Dekkerwhich the following year would offer the genre with the very entertaining He went crazy with the Monsters (Monster Squad, 1987)!
In 1959, two aliens – in crude but acceptable effects – on board a ship try to keep an artifact safe, when the object ends up being launched through space and falling to Earth. Here, in beautiful black and white photography as a tribute to the drive-in cinema and the classic The Bubble (1958), a car parked on the road, with a couple in love, witnesses the fall of something nearby. While the boy goes to investigate what fell in the forest, the girl hears on the radio about the escape of an insane criminal from a mental institution. He has an encounter with the metal object, from which a slug jumps into his mouth, and the girl, with the mad killer’s sharp axe.
Twenty-seven years later, Chris Romero (Jason Lively) is encouraged by his friend J.C. (Steve Marshall) to get closer to the girl of his dreams, the beautiful Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow). But to do so, the duo needs to be part of a fraternity, whose initiation prompts the theft of a corpse from the university’s medical center. When activating the cryogenic inversion system of a body hidden in a secret sector, they are frightened by someone’s approach and flee, while the corpse – in this case, the young man who went to investigate the object that had fallen from the sky in the 50s – , walks away from the place, disturbing the detective Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins), involved with the case.
The undead returns to the fraternity, and its head splits open, releasing crawling worms that spread throughout the region. And it is these little creatures that will attack anyone who crosses their path, transforming their victims into the living dead. If JC brings one of the most dramatic moments when narrating his encounter with the little aliens, The Night of Goosebumps reserves two emblematic episodes that made the film unforgettable: one involves the return of the maniac with the axe, transformed into a zombie and buried under the home of an elderly woman; and the best known, when a bus full of university students on their way to a party falls over, with the death of all passengers, transformed into zombies. The detective says one of the most popular phrases in cinema “terrir” from the 80s: “Girls, I have good news and bad news for you. The good thing is that their boyfriends arrived…the bad thing is that they are all dead.”
Dekker plays with the fantasy genre, making use of the formula that has been so successful throughout his long history of incredible moments. Zombies, aliens and crawling creatures set the tone for the fun, with fine-tuned dialogue, good acting and charismatic characters, as if the viewer had their brain dominated by worms and wanted to know how everything will be resolved so they can give a standing ovation at the end of the session. The Night of Goosebumps it had two different and equally interesting endings, and is, without a doubt, a complete meal for lovers of horror from the 80s, when cinema and entertainment went hand in hand.