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Purple People Eater
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLinda Shayne
Written byLinda Shayne
Based on"Purple People Eater"
by Sheb Wooley
Produced byBrad Krevoy
Steven Stabler
StarringNed Beatty
Shelley Winters
Neil Patrick Harris
Little Richard
Chubby Checker
Peggy Lipton
CinematographyPeter Deming
Edited byCari Coughlin
Music byDennis Dreith
Distributed byMotion Picture Corporation of America
Release date
  • December 16, 1988 (1988-12-16)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Purple People Eater is a 1988 American science-fiction comedy film based on Sheb Wooley's 1958 novelty song of the same name,[1] written and directed by Linda Shayne, and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Ned Beatty, Shelley Winters, Dustin Diamond, Peggy Lipton, and Thora Birch in her film debut. Chubby Checker and Little Richard made musical guest appearances. The film was released on December 16, 1988.[1]


When young Billy Johnson (Neil Patrick Harris) plays the novelty song, a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple alien from outer space appears. The creature helps Billy prevent his elderly grandpa Sam (Ned Beatty) and Sam's neighbor Rita (Shelley Winters) from being evicted by their greedy landlord Ken Noodle (John Brumfield), all while playing in a rock and roll band.



  1. ^ a b Thomas, Kevin (December 16, 1988). "MOVIE REVIEW: Amateurism Rife in 'Purple People Eater'". The Los Angeles Times.