Directed by George Romero
Written by Stephen King
Effects by Tom Savini
E. G. Marshall
Creepshow picked up where Amicus Films had left off, honoring the 1950’s horror comics in an anthology format film. Though Creepshow wasn’t a particular horror comic from the past, they did a splendid job at portraying it as such. It opens with a young boy who likes to read horror comics being berated by his father, who takes his latest comic and throws it in the garbage. The cover opens and we are treated to the stories held within its pages. There is some wonderful animation in the beginning titles and at the end of the film, and the comic book style is weaved throughout the film as live action frames turn to comic art frames and visa-versa. There are some comic style narration titles and during certain scenes, the backgrounds turn colorful, as they would in frames in the pages of the comics. These are some wonderful aspects of the film and added with the tongue-in-cheek, dark humor, the film is genuinely original in its creativity. We are treated to 5 stories here and they are fun horror stories which I think stand the test of time.
Viveca Lindfors plays a wonderful part in this segment as Bedilia, the great aunt who murdered her nasty old miser Father with a heavy stone ashtray from the mantle. Now it’s many years later and the family is getting together on Father’s Day to celebrate what the old patriarch had left them. However, this year their dead uncle is going to want something from them…his cake. I can only tell you that the question, “Where’s My Cake?!” became a quote used often in my household on any birthday or celebration.
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
Stephen King himself plays Jordy, a backwoods, country bumpkin who finds a meteor crashed on his property. When he touches it, he becomes infected with “Meteor shit” which springs up into a grassy fungus. The dopey character makes a dozen wrong decisions and actions, the biggest being, jumping in the tub to relieve the itching of a plant. Guess what plants like? Water!
Something to Tide You Over
Leslie Neilson plays a wickedly awful character in this short which finds, Richard, a wealthy businessman, finding out about his cheating wife and her lover while at his beach house. He tricks them, at separate times, into getting buried up to their necks in the sand. He’s not going to cover them over, he’s just going to let the tide come in. Drowning is one of my least preferred ways to die if I had to pick one. This film does a splendid job at portraying how nasty and awful it is. Moments before the big wave is about to wash over Harry (Ted Danson) he turns to the closed circuit camera and promises revenge. Later that evening, Richard is confronted by Harry and Becky, now water zombies, in some creepy scenes. The water zombies are brought to life (death?) with excellent make-up effects.
Henry (Holbrook), a college professor is constantly berated by his miserable and often drunk wife, Billie (Barbeau). When another professor tells him about the discovery of a Crate from the early 1900’s in the college stairwell, He finds it appropriate to get his wife to come along for a visit. Now if only the hibernating beast inside will wake for another feast on human flesh. It has a voracious appetite. This is probably everyone’s favorite story from the film. The beast creation by Tom Savini is an excellent example of old school practical effects.
They’re Creeping Up on You!
This segment with E.G. Marshall will surely give you the creeps as it was filmed with millions of live cockroaches. A germ-a-phobic, living in his germ-free penthouse is overrun by these pests and engages in a battle he can’t win.
I will also have to mention the perfect moody soundtrack music comprised of Moog Synthesizer sounds and piano melodies by John Harrison. Harrison also did music for Day of the Dead and Tales From the Dark Side TV show (for which he also directed some episodes). Don’t forget to look for a Tom Savini cameo as one of the garbage men that find the Creepshow Comic book at the end of the film. Creepshow is a wonderfully made film with great stories, perfect for Halloween viewing!
Creepshow 2 is almost as good as this one so I‘d recommend it.
but Creepshow 3 left a lot to be desired – not recommended.
They would later release a Creepshow comic book series with stories from the films.
I liked Creepshow, but it’s not as cool to me today as it was when I first it in the 80’s.
LOVE IT!!! Such a great Halloween watch 😀
Great detailed review of one of my favorites of the genre. Like yourself, I have always loved anthology films, and “Creepshow” is certainly no exception.
The opening scene animation is great. I also really liked how Romero went into the different segments, with the comic book framing, as well as giving certain scenes, within the stories, the appearance as if they were on the pages of a comic book. The Crate, as I think you know, is by far my favorite of the five vignettes. I loved the look that Savini gave to the creature.
The soundtrack, as you mentioned, also really helps to set the perfect mood, for what is being shown on screen.
The second film, I also liked, and have seen it numerous times as well. The third film was terrible, and I am sorry it has the series name attached to it.
I couldn’t agree more with you, that the first in the series, is a perfect choice for Halloween viewing.