Making the 1980s Science-Fiction / Horror Monster Cult Classic The Deadly Spawn
Independently Published, 2020. 136 pages
By Ted A. Bohus
If you grew up wandering the video store aisles, you will probably always remember the first time you came across the box for The Return of the Aliens Deadly Spawn, a big box case with one of the strangest monsters on the cover, one that is basically mouths and teeth! Then looking at the back cover shows the gory delights to found within. How could any young monster fan not immediately rent this, let alone forget that moment. This title still remains to be a fun little monster movie, with plenty of gore and the red stuff, and one of the most creative and never before seen style of monster.
Ted A. Bohus was the man behind The Deadly Spawn (the actual title), producer and co-writer, he was the one that got this beast started and worked all the way through to get it released to the world. The book is packed filled with some incredible photos, from behind-the-scenes shots, a ton of different images of VHS & DVD releases, poster art, lobby cards, and plenty of art interpretations of the creature. Bohus goes very quickly through the genesis of the project, going through the people involved, and a lot of the roadblocks along the way, which are great points for up and coming low budget filmmakers. There are some great stories within these pages, some that will amaze you how great things turned out, and even more so when you read about some of those “challenges” filmmakers are hit with.
The story within these pages are not just coming from Bohus. There are a couple of interviews with two very important names that were some of main reasons this movie turned out as well as it did. The first one is with Tim Hildebrandt, the incredibly talented artist, who would create the famous poster art that help sell the film! The second interview is John Dods, who created the title creature. We get to hear how he started in the business and plenty more.
But here is the sad part. The book is only 136 pages. I think if Bohus would have taken more time to really flesh out the stories here, how it got started, the daily struggles him and the crews had, and how they worked around them, I think we would have gotten a much larger volume, but with a lot more meat on the bone. This is kind of like Readers Digest version of what happened. Granted, there are so many great photos to gaze at while paging through it, but if you love this film as much as I do, you’d want to hear all those stories in all the gory details. The other issue is the price of $34.99. While it is an oversized book, again, not a lot of pages.
This is a tough review because if you do love this film, then yes, you HAVE to buy it. It is so much fun to just sit there and page through it, looking at the amazing talent that went into the production. But at the end of it, it just leaves you wanting more.