The Deadly Spawn (1983) Retro Review

In honor of our Creature Feature month, I decided to take a look back at the 1983 direct-to-video monster movie called The Deadly Spawn.

The Deadly Spawn was released on August 22, 1983, and was written and directed by Douglas McKeown with special effects by John Dods (Spookies). The film stars Charles George Hildebrandt as Charles, Tom DeFranco (Alien Nation TV series) as Pete, Richard Lee Porter as Frankie, Jean Tafler as Ellen, Karen Tighe as Kathy, and James L. Brewster (Maniac 1980) as Sam.

The plot of The Deadly Spawn goes something like this: A meteorite crash lands on earth and releases a tiny slug-like creature that rapidly grows and reproduces after eating human flesh. Once the spawn escapes from the meteor, it makes itself at home in the basement of a small town family. As it atacks the different family members and anyone unlucky enough to venture into the basement, it starts growing in size and creating more baby slugs that escape and spread throughout the town. It is up to four teenagers, with the help of the younger brother of the family, to find a way to stop the ever growing monstrosity.


The idea for The Deadly Spawn’s creature came to producer Ted A. Bohus after he read an article in National Geographic about seed pods that were recovered from the Arctic. In some territories, the movie came out under the title Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn to cash in on the success of Ridley Scott’s Alien.

With a measly budget of just $25,000, special effects director John Dods created a very unique, otherworldly monster. In fact, the effects are the main reason this film is so beloved amongst the horror community. Not only are the creature effects amazing but the gore effects are done in extreme detail. There is no lack of blood when the creatures attack. There are scenes where the red stuff literally coats the walls!

The acting isn’t very great but that doesn’t detract from the fun of the film. The characters are mainly just food for the enormous monster and its spawn. Another thing I give credit to is the four main characters. This is one of the first times, that I can recall, that the science and horror nerds are the survivors.

The Deadly Spawn has a runtime of about 81 minutes and doesn’t ever let up. So if you have a bit of time to enjoy a fun, schlocky, over the top gory creature feature, then I suggest you look up The Deadly Spawn and give it a watch. You won’t be disappointed, I can promise you that.

About Scott Crawford

I am an avid lover of horror films ever since I was a little boy. I have amassed a sizeable film collection in my life and it is one of my pride and joy. I also love video games and have been playing them since the days of the Intellivision. I currently play on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and love all genres of games but mainly play single player story driven games mainly in the fantasy or horror genre. I also host a podcast called The Podcast by the Cemetery with two of my friends and we talk horror and video games.

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