Horror Movie Review: The Deadly Spawn (1983)


The Deadly Spawn has one mission…to entertain & it is a mission it completes with ease. The combination of horrific acting & dull moments is over-shadowed by the wonderful slathering of gory moments. Stupendously idiotic at times, the monster effects will put a huge smile on the faces of horror fans who enjoy practical effects.

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Released in 1983, The Deadly Spawn unashamedly tried to cash in on the success of the very first Alien movie (released in 1979). It went under the name ‘The Return of the Alien’s Deadly Spawn’ in some locations…laughable.

The plot surrounds an alien that crashes on earth. It makes a home for itself in a family basement eating everyone who comes across it.

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The Deadly Spawn begins with the alien crashing on earth where two nearby campers see it. They go to investigate & promptly get eaten. It’s a great start showing off just how dangerous & threatening the alien is.

The alien makes its way to a nearby house where Sam (James Brewster) and Barb (Elissa Neil) live with their two children; Pete (Tom DeFranco) & the younger Charles (Charles George Hildebrandt). Sam & Barb are offed in gory fashion when they decide to investigate their flooded basement. The same basement where the alien is currently residing.

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Seriously, these deaths are awesome. The alien is a violent creature & has no qualms about ripping Barb’s face off & eating it. We, as the viewer, get to see this in all its up close & gory splendour.

Charles’ interest in monster movies sees him donning a mask & attempting to scare the local electrician who arrives to fix the electrics in the basement. Charles follows him & finds small slug-like creatures feasting on his body. The boy comes face to face (faces) with the alien creature which has now grown to an enormous size & has three heads, heads that appear to be blind. Charles realises this & stands still having to watch the spawn of the alien devour his mother’s body. It’s pretty harrowing but very entertaining!

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Meanwhile Pete has met some of his classmates & on their way to the house they discover one of the slug-spawn dead. Looking into it they realise it’s an alien life-form but before they can tell anyone, the creatures attack. What follows is a riot of gore, hilarious acting & an ending that is near perfect.

The Deadly Spawn is every bit an 80’s horror in that it is low-budget, rough around the edges but has the imagination & inventiveness that came with that era of horror. The acting is horrendous at times, hilariously bad making the characters seem dumb beyond reason but it doesn’t really matter. The star of the film is the alien & every time it’s involved it lights up the screen. The film knows this so doesn’t hold back in giving us plenty of time with it.

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As said above it’s incredibly gory at times with characters killed at an alarming rate & always with great up close shots. It’s not going to win any awards for realism but it’s nasty enough to make you wince.

The only real flaw in The Deadly Spawn are its lengthy dull moments. These should lead to interesting character development but never seen too. Whatever progress is made in making you care about them is thrown away. All in the final 20 minutes of utter carnage but the movie is better for it!

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The Deadly Spawn
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
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