31 Monsters in 31 Days: The Deadly Spawn

Shot for a mere $25,000 in the New Jersey suburbs, 1983’s THE DEADLY SPAWN is an exciting example of regional genre filmmaking. Directed by Douglas McKeown, it’s a gory, vicious little number that understands its target audience very well and knows how to play to them. Even though it’s not always on the mark it’s nice to see filmmakers aware of their budgetary limitations while still trying to be ambitious. And it’s obvious they spent their money wisely, investing in an imaginative, hard-to-forget creature–sort of a phallic Venus fly trap with a lot of teeth and an unforgiving appetite. Nor are they shy about spilling the red stuff, siccing their alien spawn upon its cast with sadistic glee; the effects are well-executed and gruesome, a real treat for splatter fans.

In a typical case of marketplace confusion, the distributors retitled this small-scale, rough-around-the-edges gore film RETURN OF THE ALIENS’ DEADLY SPAWN, implying it was a sequel to Ridley Scott’s ALIEN. Whether or not it worked I can’t say, but it make for some eye-catching box art.

Can’t remember where, but I found the above VHS as a kid, and was simultaneously fascinated and repulsed (mostly the latter) by it. The video’s back cover was unusually gory, suggesting to my over-eager brain to be a wall-to-wall bloodbath of epic, nightmarish proportions. I found it all terribly intruiging back then but wouldn’t have watched it on a bet, not squeamish li’l me. Not even for a truckload of STAR WARS toys.


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