Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Herek|
|Produced by||Robert Shaye|
|Written by||Stephen Herek
Don Keith Opper
M. Emmet Walsh
Billy Green Bush
Nadine Van der Velde
Don Keith Opper
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Larry Bock|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release date(s)||April 11, 1986|
|Running time||82 minutes|
|Box office||$13,167,232 (US)|
Critters is a 1986 cult comedy horror science fiction film starring Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes. It was directed by Stephen Herek and written by Herek, Domonic Muir (story) and Don Keith Opper (additional scenes). It is the first film in the Critters series. Although widely believed to have been inspired by the success of Joe Dante's 1984 film Gremlins, Herek has refuted this in interviews, pointing out that the script was written by Muir long before Gremlins went into production and subsequently underwent rewrites to reduce the apparent similarities between the two films.
The film begins on a prison set on an asteroid, from which a group of 'Crites' are set to be transported to another station. When the Crites kill two guards and injure three, hijack a ship from the station, and escape, the commander of the station hires two shape-changing bounty hunters to pursue them.
On Earth, the Brown family are living in a rural Kansas town: the father, Jay; the mother, Helen; the teenage daughter, April; and the son, Brad, who keeps company with mechanic Charlie McFadden. When he and Brad are outside, Charlie accidentally hits Brad's sister with a slingshot pellet, and Brad assumes the blame on himself. When later on the roof, Brad mistakes the Crites' spaceship for a meteorite. The ship thereafter lands, causing the ground to shake. Investigating, Jay discovers Brad in a tree, and takes him into the investigation.
Devouring the majority of a steer, the Crites are interrupted by Jay and Brad's discovery of the carcass. The Crites thereafter consume a police officer, and later approach the farm and cut its electrical connection. To explore this, Jay, Helen, and Brad go to the circuit breaker where Jay is attacked by one of the Critters. In the barn, April is attempting sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Steve when he is killed by the Crites, which Brad then kills. Meanwhile the two bounty hunters search the town, and are later recruited by Brad. The Critters return to their ship when the bounty hunters arrive, with their leader having kidnapped April, and destroy the family's house; whereupon Charlie lights a homemade bomb and saves her, supposedly killing all the Critters. The bounty hunters leave in their ship after giving Brad a machine by which his house is restored. At the very end, Critter eggs can be seen in the barn.
- Dee Wallace-Stone as Helen Brown
- M. Emmet Walsh as Harv
- Billy Green Bush as Jay Brown
- Scott Grimes as Brad Brown
- Nadine Van der Velde as April Brown
- Don Keith Opper as Charlie McFadden
- Billy Zane as Steve Elliot
- Ethan Phillips as Jeff Barnes
- Terrence Mann as Ug/Johnny Steele
- Jeremy Lawrence as Reverend Miller/Preacher
- Lin Shaye as Sally
- Corey Burton as the voice of the Crites/Critters
- Adele Malis-Morey as Woman #1
- Patrick McAreavy as Dr. Critter
- "Critters". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Critters". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Critters, Critters 2, Critters 3 & Critters 4
- DVD Stalk: Asylum, Masters of Horror, Critters, and Region Free Horror Highlights
- Excerpt from interview with Stephen Herek, Critters UK VHS liner notes (Cinema Club edition)