Sunday, January 12, 2014

#1,245. Creepshow (1982)

Directed By: George Romero

Starring: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau

Tag line: "The Most Fun You'll Ever Have... BEING SCARED!"

Trivia: The makeup and special effects in this film were provided by Romero's longtime collaborator, Tom Savini

For my money, George Romero’s Creepshow is the best horror anthology ever made. Inspired by such ‘50s horror comics as Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror, Creepshow presents five individual stories of the macabre, all penned by renowned author Stephen King and each as entertaining as they are frightening.

After a brief opening sequence in which a young boy (played by Stephen King’s real-life son, Joe) is slapped around by his father (Tom Atkins) for reading horror comics, Creepshow launches into the first of its five tales, "Father’s Day", about a nasty old guy named Nathan Grantham (Joe Lormer) who is murdered by his adult daughter, Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors). Unfortunately for her, dear old dad refuses to stay dead, returning from the grave seven years later to ruin a family dinner. 

This is followed by "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill", in which backwoods yokel Jordy Verrill (played by Stephen King himself) has a run-in with a meteorite that causes a plant-like organism, which multiplies at an alarming rate, to grow all over his body. 

Next up we have "Something to Tide You Over", starring Leslie Nielson as vindictive millionaire Richard Vickers, who takes his revenge on his cheating wife (Gaylen Ross) and her lover (Ted Danson). But as Vickers will soon learn, even the dead can seek vengeance. 

The fourth story, simply titled "The Crate", involves both a vicious monster and a timid college professor (Hal Holbrook) who is looking to dispose of his obnoxious wife (Adrienne Barbeau), and, finally, we have "They’re Creeping Up on You", about a foul-tempered businessman (E.G Marshall) whose fear of germs is put to the ultimate test when his apartment is overrun by thousands of cockroaches!

Whereas most horror anthologies feature one or two solid sequences (Tales That Witness Madness leaps immediately to mind), Creepshow gives us five, three of which ("Father’s Day", "Something to Tide You Over" and "They’re Creeping Up on You") were written specifically for the film by Stephen King ("The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" and "The Crate" were based on previously published works). My favorite of the bunch is easily "Something to Tide You Over"; Leslie Nielson’s plot to do away with his wife and her lover is ingenious, and there’s a scene late in the story that makes me jump each and every time I see it.  That said, I do have a soft spot for "The Crate" as well (Adrienne Barbeau is deliciously wicked in this one).

Creepshow would spawn a pair of sequels, the first of which, Creepshow 2, had its moments (a third film, Creepshow 3, was a 2007 direct-to-video release), yet neither would be quite as entertaining as the original. 

The tag line for Creepshow is “The most fun you’ll ever have... BEING SCARED”, and, in my opinion, that sums up the movie, as well as the experience, just about perfectly.


Unknown said...

One of my absolute favorites! Good post!

James Robert Smith said...

I've never seen it.