Saturday, October 3, 2015

CREEPSHOW

 Creepshow Movie Review

Longtime readers of this blog have likely seen Creepshow mentioned a time or two. Now, with Halloween season kicking off, I put this movie in the DVD player (as I do every year around this time) and decided to finally review it. Creepshow is a 1982 anthology film that partners three legends in the horror industry: it is written by Stephen King, directed by George A. Romero, and Tom Savini is the special effects guy. The anthology starts out with a jerk of a father throwing out his sons comic book, leading to the stories on the pages coming to life on the screen, beginning with...

Father's Day
Having been murdered by his daughter Bedelia, cantankerous millionaire Nathan Grantham returns from the grave to seek revenge...and his Father's Day cake he never received. 

"Where's my cake?!"

This segment sort of gets your feet wet and preps you for the fun that is to come. While the story itself isn't fantastic, it does introduce you to the style of the film and the absolutely fantastic cinematography, including the reaction/terror shots we get, complete with comic book style backgrounds.

Like this
 
This segment also features one of the most awesomely awful dance sequences in film history, starring a young Ed Harris.

The facial expression says it all

Father's Day is my least favorite of the segments, but it is still very good--and for my entire life I have thought of this segment at any event that serves cake.


THE LONESOME DEATH OF JORDY VERRILL

Up next is the most comical of the five segments, and also my favorite. This tells the story of backwoods simpleton Jordy Verrill (Stephen King) finding a meteor on his land. Dreaming of selling it to the local University (the University Department of Meteors, to be exact), Jordy touches the meteor, burns himself, throws water on it, breaks it in half, and sees his dream diminish. Unfortunately, he also gets something else on him...

Indeed

Jordy now finds alien moss-like growths forming all over his body. King does a wonderful job here playing this poor idiot of a man, and the segment is filled with classic lines and humor, but what really makes this story shine is the dread that surrounds it--you begin feeling sorry for Jordy, and the closing shot, complete with the forecast, is actually quite chilling.


SOMETHING TO TIDE YOU OVER

The third segment sees Richard Vickers (Leslie Nielsen) seeking to extract revenge on the much younger Harry Wentworth (pre-Cheers Ted Danson), the man Vickers' wife has run off with. Most people familiar with Nielsen may find it strange to watch him play such a vindictive, cold character, but he plays it well. Danson also does a fine job here, making you feel bad for a guy you know probably deserves his fate--being buried up to his neck in sand as the tide rolls in and also, just to add to the torture, watching his girlfriend in the same predicament.

And being harassed by this guy

When Harry looks at the camera and vows revenge, you know he is about to meet his demise--this being Creepshow, however, you know he'll be back.


Such a lovely couple

Something To Tide You Over probably has the least humor and the fewest "scares" of any of the segments, but it really doesn't need it--the fear that comes with thinking about the situation Harry is in is frightening enough.

The Crate

After discovering an abandoned crate under a stairwell, Mike, a custodian, informs Professor Dexter Stanley (Fritz Weaver). They decide to pull it out and have a look, only to discover a human-eating monster.

THIS human eater

After a frantic Stanley tells his friend Henry (Hal Holbrook) about the discovery, Henry sees the opportunity to live out his daily fantasy: killing his abusive loudmouth wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau from The Fog).

Just call her Billie--everyone does

The Crate is, by far, the bloodiest, goriest of the segments. The acting is probably better in this than any other as well: Holbrook does a good job making the viewer sympathize for his pathetic character, Barbeau does a fantastic job as the wife, and Weaver is wonderful playing the professor near his wits end. Savini's work creating the creature and the amount of bloodshed also contribute in making The Crate a lot of fun. 

THEY'RE CREEPING UP ON YOU

Deplorable businessman Upson Pratt (E.G. Marshall) hates one thing above all else in life: bugs. So when his expensive penthouse apartment starts to have visitors...


...these guys...

...he begins to go into an absolute panic attack. The final installment of Creepshow is a combination of humor (the exchange with the guy at the door is hilarious) and terror--I can't even imagine how horrifying this would be for somebody who is scared of cockroaches (actually I can--I watched it with my girlfriend and she was trembling and gagging the entire time). Marshall does a wonderful job as Pratt, and the slow build of the roaches taking over the apartment is well done, leading to one of the most known scenes in horror history.

Get up dummy!

Creepshow is not the scariest film you will ever see--in fact, it plays up the camp aspects quite a bit--but it certainly is one of the most fun horror films from a decade that had tons of them. This film will always hold a special place in my heart as one of a handful of horror films from the early 1980s that reminds me of being a kid and growing up in that time, watching this with my Mom more times than either of us could count. Even to this day I believe Creepshow to be the standard-bearer of horror anthology films, and though some have come close, no movie has ever done it better. Do yourself a favor: pop a bowl of popcorn, grab a drink, and watch Creepshow on a chilly October night. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9



Creepshow Trailer

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