Directors: Kenneth J. Hall, Ted Newsom, Fred Olen Ray
Cast: Bobbie Bresee, Drew Godderis, Dawn Wildsmith
Production Company: American Independent Productions
Runtime: 70 minutes
Evil Spawn (1987) may begin with spaceships and alien puppet monsters, but at heart it wants to be a morality play. It wants to teach us something about the folly of vanity; and it isn’t afraid to use gore, monsters, and nudity to get its point across.
In the movie, Lynn Roman is a washed-up actress who decides to use an experimental drug to reverse the signs of aging. The drug slowly drives her mad, and changes her into a insect-like alien creature in search of human blood.
This film is very reminiscent of The Wasp Woman (1959), in which another aging beauty becomes a monster due to science gone awry. Similar ideas would later be explored by Robert Zemeckis, in his horror/comedy Death Becomes Her (1992).
The cast includes Bobbie Bresee from Surf Nazis Must Die (1987), John Carradine from The Monster Club (1981), and Dawn Wildsmith from Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1987). Forrest J. Ackerman from Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine also makes a brief cameo appearance.
Carradine’s appearance alone is worth your time. Sadly, Dr. Emil Zeitman is one of his last roles. Fred Olen Ray shot archive footage of Carradine while he was still alive, with the hope of inserting it into one of his films sometime down the road.
The DVD by Retromedia Entertainment includes an amusing introduction by Fred Olen Ray, behind the scenes footage of Carradine and other cast members, and stills of the film’s first insect costume. That should be enough to please most horror fans.
The insect monster costume is striking and original. The transformation effects are also well done. The various stages of the transformation provide some variety, and successfully change the beautiful Bobbie Bresee into a barbaric bug beast.
Evil Spawn was later edited together with additional footage to become The Alien Within (1990). That film focuses on characters that are only mentioned in this one. You may want to give both films a try, especially since they’re also available together on DVD.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…