Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creepshow (1982) Review

Creepshow posterDirector: George A. Romero
Stars: Ed Harris, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Adrienne Barbeau
Genre: Horror, Black Comedy, Anthology

Romero films always seem to have great crews. Dawn of the Dead had Romero directing, Argento producing, Savini on effects, Goblin composing. Creepshow is no exception. With the great George Romero directing, Stephen King writing, and Tom Savini once again doing the effects.

Creepshow is an anthology film with five stories and a prologue and epilogue. I will review each individually.

Prologue
In the beginning we see an angry father yelling at his son because he was reading horror comics, one in particular which is called Creepshow. The father throws out the comic. Inside the comic is the five stories that make up the film.

The father is a real asshole. But it manages to be pretty accurate in its depiction of how horror comics were looked at at the time. In the '50s, pre-code comics, EC Comics most notably, were severely frowned upon and were thought to be corrupting the youth. This brought about the introduction of the comic code, which is basically to comics as the FCC is to television.

Father's Day
The first story is probably my favorite. It's definitely the funniest. It's about a daughter who killed her father on Father's Day after he was bugging her about his cake and every Father's Day she goes to visit his grave. One year the father rises from the grave as a zombie and yes, he still wants his cake.

It's no doubt hilarious, but there's more to it. The atmosphere is really cool here, not only in the cemetery  but also in the mansion. It has a very David Lynch feel to it. It's cool. The zombie make-up is excellent and was a hint at what the zombies would look at in Romero's later Day of the Dead. The story is obviously very simple and silly, but it fits.

A zombie rising from the grave in Romero's Creepshow

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill 
The second story is about a hillbilly who finds a meteorite and plans to sell it to a University for a whopping $200. But he gets some of the meteorite's liquid on him and he begins to turn into a plant.

There's not much to say about this one. It makes it enjoyable because Stephen King himself, who wrote the story, plays the idiotic hillbilly. So that's real funny to watch. It's pretty fun though.

Stephen King as a hillbilly in Creepshow

Something to Tide You Over
Third story is about a psychopath who, for reasons unknown, kidnaps a couple and buries them each up to their neck in sand and different parts of a beach and then leaves them there until the tide drowns them.

It's a pretty interesting set-up but it never really goes anywhere. Nowhere clever at least. But, I suppose not many comics did. Leslie Nielsen plays the psychopath which adds automatic comedic value if you've seen any of Nielsen's comedy films, e.g., Airplane!, The Naked Gun.

Leslie Nielsen in Creepshow

The Crate 
This is about a scientist and a janitor who find an old crate under the stairs that contains a ferocious monster within, that wastes no time in killing whoever it comes into contact with.

The premise of this is kind of boring but its delivery is awesome. Everyone thinks the scientist who saw it is a madman, and for awhile you even believe he is too. There's also one character in here who hates his wife and constantly daydreams of killing her, which is probably the funniest part of the entire movie. It manages to deal with insanity, trauma, and how people will always take advantage of an opportunity, even if it means feeding your wife to an unknown beast.

The Crate monster in Creepshow

They're Creeping Up on You!
This last story is about a ruthless businessman whose greed and thirst for power will stop at nothing. He also is a germ freak and hates bugs. Which sucks for him because his apartment is infested with them. There are cockroaches on literally every inch of the apartment at one point.

If you hate bugs than this one will scare the shit out of you. It's easily the most disgusting. The guy's apartment is pretty cool, it's kind of science-fiction-y and is completely white, which is a perfect canvas to let loose thousands of bugs. Also has a bit of a statement this one; it's pretty clear that the bugs symbolize all the "little people" that this businessman has stepped on throughout his career to get where he is today. So that's very cool.

Cockroaches in Creepshow

Epilogue
To wrap the movie up, the boy kills his father, who threw out his comic, with a voodoo doll he ordered from the comic book. It's nice to see his asshole of a father get what was coming to him.

A kid killing his father with a voodoo doll in Creepshow

Conclusion 
It's a very solid film and enjoyable to watch. Some stories you'll obviously find better than others, but I didn't find any of them to be awful. Unfortunately none of the stories are amazing either, all just decent. 

It captures the feel of '50s horror comics well enough, but I think it could have done a bit of a better job. Each story as a great atmosphere though, with some over-the-top cinematography that give it the comic book feel. There's also some really awesome use of lighting in here, probably some of the best I've ever seen. There's always weird purple and blue lights; it's awesome. 

A zombie finally gets his cake in the form of a head in Creepshow

I can definitely recommend this to watch at least once. 

3.5/5 stars

Purchase Creepshow on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Stream
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