EVIL SPAWN (1987) Reviews and overview

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‘Tonight… she will love again – and kill again!’

Evil Spawn is a 1987 American science fiction horror film about an ageing actress who is transformed into a monster. Also known as Alive by Night; Deadly Sting and Metamorphosis.

Directed by Kenneth J. Hall (The Halfway House; Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout; Ghost Writer) from a screenplay co-written with Ted Newsom (Whispers from a Shallow Grave; The Naked Monster).

The movie stars Bobbie Bresee (Mausoleum), Drew Godderis (Deep Space; Blood Diner), Dawn Wildsmith, Fox Harris, John Terrence and Pamela Gilbert. Genre veteran John Carradine has a cameo role as a scientist and Forrest J. Ackerman has a cameo as a pool guy.

Plot:

A scientist is using microbes in experiments but dies before the work is finished. An ageing actress injects herself with a youth-rejuvenating serum and the bacterium transforms her into a hideous bug alien that murders her detractors…

Reviews:

“When the soundtrack isn’t badly muffled or overpowered by the dreadful music, it’s plagued by an irritating echo that forces us to endure the inane dialogue twice, as though they’d recorded all the speech by satellite hook-up […] Static camerawork, long, laborious takes and hideous lighting conspire to make Evil Spawn an offence to the eyes.” The EOFFTV Review

“Even at seventy minutes long, this film outstays its welcome […] The only thing this film has a plenitude of is naked women, and they are certainly attractive enough, each and every one. Just not enough to make sitting through this whole thing worth the effort. There’s also some gore and a relatively decent monster costume […] but again, it’s just too little, too late.” The Gentlemen’s Blog to Midnite Cinema

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“The title makes the movie sound cool. The movie is not. It’s a dumb, slow-paced B-movie.” Mondo Bizarro

“This is one of those films whose greatest virtue is that it is short.  In fact, between all the scenes of naked women there’s barely any time for anything else.  Except for the big rubber monster and lots of gore.  Although Fox Harris, Repo Man‘s J. Frank Parnell does show up as Lynn’s devious agent, and Forest J. Ackerman gets a blink and you’ll miss it cameo.” Rivets on the Poster

“An often ramshackle film, several already soft shots drop in and out of focus and blunt cuts smash into each other with as much grace as a pissed-up elephant. It’s also quite slow too, which is pretty alarming considering Evil Spawn is barely past seventy minutes. And yet, that said, there’s an unshakable je ne sais quoi to this seven-day wonder; a certain lo-fi sense of vision and a definite scrappy power.” The Schlock Pit

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” …there is nothing to complain about other than the fact that the movie takes about 20 minutes to find its footing. Once it does, the pace is quick and there is always something to give you your kicks whether it be cheesy creature effects, amateur acting by some of the cast members, self-deprecating in-jokes, or a quick flash of skin.” The Video Graveyard

Evil Spawn is nowhere near as fun as Mausoleum […] It’s missing the mean streak that made that flick a classic and even though it’s only 70 minutes long, the film is still heavily padded with long pointless scenes that go nowhere. The monster isn’t anything to brag about either. It’s goofy looking to be sure, but it’s just not really goofy looking enough to be memorable.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Lynn Roman [Bobbie Bresee]: “This sounds like something out of a bad science fiction film.”

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Cast and characters:

Bobbie Bresee … Lynn Roman
Drew Godderis … Ross Anderson
Dawn Wildsmith … Evelyn Avery (as Donna Shock)
Fox Harris … Harry (as Jerry Fox)
John Terrence … Brent
Pamela Gilbert … Elaine
Mark Anthony … Mark Randall
Leslie Eve … Tracy
Chris Kobin … Will
Sue Mashaw … Betty
Gary J. Levinson … Doctor Leibowitz
Michael Deak … Detective Samanski
Roger McCoin … Bordona
Forrest J. Ackerman … Pool Guy
John Carradine … Doctor Emil Zeitman
Suzanne Ager … Erin West
Richard Harrison … Max Adrian
Crystal Shaw Martell … Secretary (as Crystal Shaw)
Gordon Mitchell … Dan Thorn
John Henry Richardson … Samanski (as Jay Richardson)
Melissa Moore … Monica Roarke (uncredited)

Fun facts:

The opening shot of a spaceship was recycled from Planet of Dinosaurs (1977).

The scene with John Carradine and Dawn Wildsmith was shot in 1985 by Fred Olen Ray for an unfinished project titled Frankenstein’s Brain.

Ted Newsom later created an alternate version of the film which was released as Alien Within.

Future director Donald Farmer was a production assistant.

Trailer:

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