Warner Bros. // 1982 // 120 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 20th, 2001
The most fun you'll ever have being scared!
Who can think of a better pairing for a horror film than master of the macabre Stephen King and everyone's favorite living dead guru, George A. Romero. In 1982 King and Romero came together to make the horror anthology Creepshow. Creepshow included a collection of stories directed by King featuring an all star cast including Ed Harris (Pollock), Ted Danson ("Cheers"), Leslie Nielson (Airplane!), Hal Holbrook (Men Of Honor), Adrienne Barbeau (John Carpenter's The Fog) and E.G. Marshall. Creepshow was so popular that it even spawned a sequel, 1987's Creepshow 2. As if that weren't enough, Creepshow includes special effects by everyone's favorite weirdo make-up artist, Tom Savini (Day Of The Dead, Friday The 13th). Warner Brothers gives you the willies with their DVD release of Creepshow.
Creepshow is divided up into five horrific separate stories, all in the vein of the old 1950s pulp comics. The first story, entitled "Father's Day," features everything you need for a good horror story: an old house, a dead patriarch, some snotty relatives, and a corpse that will do anything to get his cake and eat it too. "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verril" features King himself as a Podunk farm boy who finds a downed meteor in his backyard. Being the fool that he is, Jordy touches the meteor and finds that large, glowing rocks from space are not always as kind as you'd hope. A strange moss starts to take over Jordy and his farm, and soon the term "green thumb" takes on a hideous new meaning. "Something To Tide You Over" is a spooky tale about love, corpses and other things that make life worth living (or dying, if you prefer). Leslie Nielson plays a rich bastard who exacts his revenge upon Ted Danson and his lover via the sand and a very close tide. "The Create" features one of horror's most memorable creatures, an ape like monster with an appetite for human flesh! In a small local college a large create is found underneath a staircase. The create contains an evil beast that's been living there for decades...and Hal Holbrook is about to let it loose on his obnoxious wife, played by Adrienne Barbeau. The final chapter, "They're Creeping Up On You!," pertains to E.G. Marshall and his unrelenting hostility towards anything with more than two legs, especially man's best friend, the lovable cockroach. Marshall plays an eccentric codger who lives in a sterile, whitewashed apartment armed with electric disposal units and a stash of rubber gloves. As the night of a thousand horrors moves on, Marshall will soon learn that the bugs will have their day, big time!
Creepshow will tickle and scare the heart of any moviegoer who yearns to see a film that includes killer cockroaches and Ted Danson buried up to his neck in sand. Creepshow works wonders as a horror film, for it does what all great movies should do: it leaves indelible images imprinted on your mind. Vividly I can recall watching Creepshow when I was a kid, scared out of my skin that roaches would invade my room via the air ducts or the bathroom piping system. The end scene in the final Creepshow story shall stay with me until the day I die. That may not be the best thing in the world, but it sure means that the makers of Creepshow did something right.
Stephen King has had his hands in many Hollywood pies lately. As the last few years have passed, King has delved into much more softer territory, letting Tinseltown adapt his books into critical and box office successes such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I won't argue that these movies aren't great; they represent a fantastic growth for King, and both have gone on to become critical favorites and Oscar nominated films. That being said, I still yearn for the days when the name Stephen King meant true horror. Sure, some of his films sucked (YOU try sitting through Sometimes They Come Back and see if you don't raise a gun to your head), but others were made with sheer glee, a mix of funny humor and edgy horror. Creepshow was that kind of movie. I love the way that Creepshow is structured, featuring five separate stories so the viewer never gets bored. Don't like "Father's Day?" Then just wait a few minutes and another creep-fest is on its way. The whole thing gets extra added punch by having George A. Romero in the director's chair. Romero has churned out some of the best horror films of the last few decades, including the underrated Day of the Dead and another well done Stephen King adaptation, The Dark Half. Romero keeps the eccentric style of the EC Comics mode intact with Creepshow, but never lets the terror slow to a crawl.
Everyone in Creepshow seems to know exactly how to play the material. All the primary actors are great, though Marshall shines brightest as the crankiest pest controller this side of the Orkin man. Marshall has such unrelenting anger and verve in this creepy crawly story that even his hair sticks out with relished frustration. Leslie Nielson is also fun to watch, though it's hard to see him playing it straight when all you can remember is his dithering Lt. Drebin in the hysterical Naked Gun movies. Everyone else is game for whatever King and Romero throw at them, and believe me, it can get pretty icky. Effects maestro Tom Savini keeps the blood and guts flowing, and his presence is always a welcome addition to any film (well, maybe not The English Patient, but everything else).
Creepshow is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen. Creepshow was produced almost two decades ago, and this being the case shows slight signs of its age. The picture is generally kept crisp and clean, though small amounts of dirt and edge enhancement do show up from time to time. The colors and flesh tones are bright and natural, with blacks being only slightly gray at times. Overall Warner has done a decent job on this transfer.
Audio is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0. This track is passable, though not very impressive. Creepshow certainly would have benefited from a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, though I'm not surprised that it wasn't included. All aspects are clear, including dialogue, music and effects. Also included are English and French subtitles.
The only bonus feature included on Creepshow is a theatrical trailer that is in the goofy spirit of the film it represents.
Certainly the exclusion of any substantial supplemental material is a shame for Creepshow fans. Anchor Bay took the lesser sequel, Creepshow 2, and at least gave it a bonus photo gallery. Nothing of that sort is included on this disc. I wouldn't mind hearing a Stephen King commentary track on one of his films, though I think it's going to be a while before Warner double dips to release a special edition of Creepshow.
As for the movie itself, Creepshow is by no means a perfect horror film, though it is a very good one. The performances are funny, the stories are top notch (with "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verril" being the weakest), and the teaming of Stephen King, George A. Romero and Ted Danson is genius! Wait, I think one of those doesn't belong...
For around fifteen dollars, an anamorphic version of Creepshow is well worth the money for horror fans. Creepshow holds a special place in my heart as fun entertainment that will chill your blood and tickle your funny bone. I also can recommend the sequel, Creepshow 2 from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Though not as well done, Creepshow 2 is still a nice companion piece to the original terror.
Creepshow is of course free to go, and Warner is slapped with a small fine for leaving out some better bonus materials. Get ready, Boils and Ghouls, the Creepshow is about to begin!
Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer