The Deadly Spawn is a 1983 science fiction horror film directed by Douglas McKeown and starring Charles George Hildebrandt. In some territories, the film's title was changed to Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn or The Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn in an attempt to cash in on the worldwide success of the Ridley Scott 1979 film Alien.
It follows the story of a crash-landed alien that finds refuge in the basement of a house and grows to monstrous proportions, eating those unlucky enough to venture down. A handful of teenagers try to survive the onslaught of the creature and its young.
Two campers in the New Jersey woods have their outdoor fun interrupted by the arrival of a meteorite crashing nearby. They go to investigate the crater, but are suddenly attacked and devoured by alien parasites who have hitched a ride to Earth. After finishing off the campers, the hungry space monsters head for a nearby town, where they make their domain in the basement of an old house soon begin polishing off one hapless inhabitant after another. Four young teenagers, plus one pre-teen boy, try to find a way to stop the angry space monsters before they reproduce and literally eat humanity.
- Charles George Hildebrandt as Charles
- Tom DeFranco as Pete
- Richard Lee Porter as Frankie
- Jean Tafler as Ellen
- Karen Tighe as Kathy
- James L. Brewster as Sam
- Elissa Neil as Barb
- Ethel Michelson as Aunt Millie
- John Schmerling as Uncle Herb
- Judith Mayes as Bunny
It has been suggested that the character of Ellen (Jean Tafler), Pete's girlfriend, was killed off because the actress got another job, but screenwriter McKeown disputes this. He decided early on to shatter the conventional expectations of the audience and maybe the rules of the genre, in order to justify Pete's subsequent breakdown. The horrific effect on the audience of such randomness was to be a bonus. In any case, Ellen's fate is a spectacular shock, and Kathy (Karen Tighe), the "second lead," winds up being the one who survives.
The film score by Michael Perilstein was released on Perseverance Records December 21, 2004.
- The effects of the mini-spawns slithering across the floor in the basement was achieved by cutting a "S" wriggle into the floor, and pulling the spawns along under the floor.
- The mother spawn was constructed in the basement of effects artist John Dods. However, no one took the creature's size into consideration, so when they had to have it on set, they had to cut off one of the creature's heads to get it through a doorway and reassemble it on set.
- Gene Simmons of the band 'KISS' currently owns the prop severed head of the kid's mother. It was given to him by Tim Sullivan when he interviewed Simmons for "Fangoria" in 1983. Sullivan - who was a PA on this film - went on to produce Detroit Rock City (1999) and write and direct 2001 Maniacs (2005) and Driftwood (2006).
- The film's original title was "The Deadly Spawn". However, distributors wanted to cash-in on the rumor that there was going to be a sequel to Alien (1979).
- There's an unofficial sequel, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor (1990). 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.
- The location for the shoot was the house of fantasy illustrator Tim Hildebrandt in Gladstone, New Jersey. Some effects sequences were shot by a second unit in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
- This film was almost picked up for theatrical release by Paramount.
- The character of Ellen, Pete's girlfriend, was supposed to survive until the end of the film. This changed when Jean Tafler, who played Ellen, got another job that was going to make it impossible for her to keep working on this movie. As a solution, she was "written out" of the script in a rather spectacular way, while Kathy (played by Karen Tighe) wound up being the one who survives.
- They Came To Earth To Feed On Human Flesh!
- They're here and they're hungry.
- First, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Then "Alien". Now...
- They Fell From Space And They Were Hungry!
- Mankind vs. the ultimate eating machine
- The Deadly Spawn at the Internet Movie Database
- The Deadly Spawn at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Deadly Spawn at AllMovie
- The Deadly Spawn at Wikipedia
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