Back in the heyday of the 1980’s video store, when their walls were covered floor to ceiling with low-budget independent horror and sci-fi titles, each with their own wonderfully designed video sleeves, enticing the wide-eyed teen to pick them off the shelf, where such a title as The Deadly Spawn would find its way home to be shoved into the top-loader VHS player and watched in horror and glee. But now today when the independent video store no longer with us and only the mega-budget blockbuster exists in the eyes of the teenager, where can one see such long lost gems? Well, thanks to Arrow Video, The Deadly Spawn can gain another lease of life and show these brainwashed teens what joys can be had from the low-budget independent horror of the 80’s.
Tumbling through space a meteor crashes into heartland America, to be discovered by two unwitting campers, but unbeknownst to them this meteor harbours ‘THE DEADLY SPAWN’! And before you know it, these two are the first on the casualty list to have their body parts and blood sprayed across the countryside, and there’s a lot of spraying yet to come.
With its first victims despatched this strange hungry creature, which we are yet to see, makes its way to the basement of your typical American family, Mum, Dad and kids Pete and Charles, in a nearby town. Also staying with them at the same time are the kids uncle and auntie; you can just see the body count mounting in your head already, can’t you? Not to give too much away, Mum and Dad have victim written all across their foreheads and are the next on the list for their new houseguest.
This is where we get our first chance to see The Deadly Spawn in all its glory, and what glory it is. Created by effect artist John Dods, The Deadly Spawn looks like a cross between Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors and the Hydra from Greek mythology, with its three teeth filled heads, it’s something to behold for a low-budget picture and really make the film. But it’s not just this three headed beast that the townsfolk will have to deal with. The beast also has its own little deadly spawn that spread out across the town like, mini Tremor worms, causing even more bloodshed. With one scene being at an OAP’s tea party, which is quite unintentionally funny, with these old dears running about with spawns attached to their crinoline dresses and blue-rinses, it’s all you can do but not giggle.
With the grown-ups being picked off as we go, it’d down to the kids to save the town, but it seems with even more deaths on the way and some very unexpected, it’s down to Pete’s younger horror geek brother to find away, but can he?
The Deadly Spawn is an excellent example of what was available back in those heady days of VHS horror fun. Though it does have its floors, with some stiff acting and a rushed ending, but it does have some fantastic ideas, especially the creature itself. The film also has a wonderful 1950’s b-movie spirit, with the classic monster from space, mixed with the monster in the basement storyline; you can’t but help to full for this little film.
There’s an unofficial sequel, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor. In many parts of Asia, it was distributed under the name “The Deadly Spawn 2: The Metamorphosis”. Because Metamorphosis was made for millions of dollars more, and had much higher production values than the “Deadly Spawn” did, the producers wanted to separate them altogether.
Charles George Hildebrandt … Charles
Tom DeFranco … Pete
Richard Lee Porter … Frankie
Jean Tafler … Ellen
Karen Tighe … Kathy
James Brewster … Sam
Elissa Neil … Barb
Directed By … Douglas McKeown
Digitally remastered windowboxed transfer in the original full frame aspect ratio
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Rick Melton
Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Calum Waddell and Tim Sullivan
Two Audio commentaries with writer and producer Ted A. Bohus and editor Marc Harwood.
A Comic-style prequel with its own musical score
Alternate opening sequence with new effects and credits
In the Workshop of S/FX Director John Dods
A selection of archive TV interviews featuring the filmmakers
Stills gallery featuring behind-the-scenes images, pages from the script, artwork and more!
Original Theatrical Trailer
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