The Deadly Spawn – USA, 1983

‘Earth vs. the ultimate eating machine!’

The Deadly Spawn is a 1983 American horror feature film directed by Douglas McKeown and starring Charles George Hildebrandt.



A crash-landed alien 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…


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.

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Gene Simmons, lead singer of rock 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 and write and direct 2001 Maniacs.

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“A thoroughly enjoyable low budget monster fest, The Deadly Spawn is one of those love letters to the horror genre like Phantasm, The Evil Dead and Basket Case, albeit nowhere remotely as polished. Still its sincerity and overwhelming desire to please the audience easily gets the film past a few rough spots, and the limited funds were wisely dumped almost entirely into the effects budget.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital 

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“The humor doesn’t come in the form of canned one-liners or slapstick, but in just the absurdity and grotesqueness of what unfolds. It’s not an overtly comedic movie, but when the movie did get me laughing, it was intended. The special effects are the best part, though. The creature design is fantastic — very original and extremely memorable.” Adam Tyner, DVD Talk


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The Deadly Spawn 21st Century Distribution promo still



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The film’s promotional title was changed in some territories to Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn and Return of the Alien’s Deadly Spawn as attempts to cash-in on the success of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien.

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3 Comments on “The Deadly Spawn – USA, 1983”

  1. One of my faves simply because of the inventiveness of the FX on an obviously meagre budget. The influence of this film can be seen in other mini creature features throughout the eighties and the monsters look awesome – just a huge eating machine, a putrid gob and tentacles squirming about. Some nice comedic touches elevate it to a different level than if it had been played straight because of aforementioned budgetary constraints and all in all it’s a winner. Didn’t the FX guys go on to the the FX in Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor? That had more great creatures but wasn’t such a great film.

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