The Deadly Spawn (1983) [HCF REWIND]

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Written by: , , ,
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THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983) aka Return of the Aliens
Directed by Douglas McKeown
Written by Ted A. Bohus, John Dods, Douglas McKeown and Tim Sullivan
Starring Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter, Jean Tafler and Karen Tighe


After a meteorite comes hurtling to Earth, two campers go out into the woods to investigate but they become the first victims of the carnivorous spawn lying in wait. Soon the deadly creatures breed their way across town, devouring anyone who stands in their path. Can a group of kids, Charles, Pete and his friends fight off these beasties before it’s too late?

The Deadly Spawn is a fun little B-Movie that has as many laughs as it does scares. Whilst the script isn’t overly interesting, the creatures and the way in which they kill their victims is what draws you in. These ‘deadly spawn’ look like slugs with two rows of sharp, pointed teeth and are not too dissimilar to the young Xenomorph that burst out of John Hurt’s chest in Alien. There’s even a scene in the latter half of the film where one of these creatures is doing just that.

Tha action in the film is centred around a household consisting of a mother, father, their young son Charles, his older brother Pete, and their aunt and uncle who are staying with them for their vacation. From the minute the alarm clock rings, the action starts as these alien monsters lie in wait in the basement, ready to gobble up anybody who dares to come down into their lair. The creatures delightfully nibble on their victims, pulling their face apart and skin from their bodies with their razor sharp teeth. The monsters vary in size, from small tadpole like creatures swimming around in the flooded basement, to a big whopper with three heads that can navigate stairs. One thing is certain though, they breed like rabbits and can travel quite some distance in order to chomp their way through a pound of flesh. We are treated to some great latex special effects on the severed arms and heads, especially that of the mother who’s head is slowly pulled apart by the hungry beasties. The majority of the laughes come from the scenes where people are being devoured.

The kids in the film act as the protagonists and try their mightiest to survive the alien species. Charles, the 10 year old boy obsessed with fictional monsters, and his older brother Pete, who’s interest in science and astronomy leads him to believe the species are not of this Earth, try to protect their friends when the alien spawn emerges from the basement. Whilst not given much to do, the kids do an acceptable job, especially Charles George Hildebrandt who plays Charles. Later in the film, their aunt and grandmother are up against the beasties when they turn up uninvited to the family lunch. Needless to say, they themselves become the food of choice when the spawn turn up.

This a comical, low budget 80’s horror film and whilst it won’t win any awards, it’s one of those films you can sit back and enjoy for the pure crack.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Arrow are due to release The Deadly Spawn on DVD on 19th March 2012 with a whole host of extras including:

  • 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!
  • Outtake Reel
  • Audition Tapes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer



About Bat 7745 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: Tembo: The Badass Elephant, Yakuza Zero and Payday 2.

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