Starring: Leslie Nielson, Ted Danson, Hal Holbrook, Stephen King, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, Fritz Weaver, Gaylen Ross, E.G. Marshall.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Extras: Audio Commentary with George A. Romero and special make-up effects creator Tom Savini, audio commentary with director of photography Michael Gornick, Actor John Amplas, property Master Bruce Alan Miller and Make Up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci, Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow. A feature length documentary with cast and crew interviews, behind the screams with Tom Savini, deleted scenes, TV spot, trailer and stills gallery.
Up until this past year, I’d always thought ‘whatever happened to the horror anthology sub-genre?’ We haven’t had a decent one since Michael Dougherty’s 2007s cult classic TRICK R’ TREAT. While a recent resurgence may have seen the likes of V/H/S and THE ABCS OF DEATH attempt to recapture that spirit, for myself, they ultimately failed to deliver on their promise and remain uneven and inconsistent. The 1980s brought terrific titles inspired by the iconic EC horror comic books of the 1950s and 60s with TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, CATS EYE and TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. However, my favourite by some distance was always and is CREEPSHOW!
George Romero’s playful film, collaborating with iconic horror scribe Stephen King who pens the screenplay, finally makes its Blu-ray debut here in the UK. Using the familiar framing plot device as a way to bookend and introduce each of the five stories, it still holds up with its varying fun, frightening and downright funny tales of terror. It perfectly captures that creepy, comic-book feel as we follow the young teen (King’s son Jody who’s now an acclaimed author himself) forced by his father (the always great genre veteran Tom Atkins) to “stop reading this crap” before merging into a beautifully animated title page.
There is not one weak narrative, with ‘Fathers Day‘ opening on a family get together that soon turns tragic (and not just because of Ed Harris’ dancing) with a demented and abusive old man returning from the grave for a spot of cake. King himself pops up in ‘The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill‘ as a simple “meteor shit” finding farmer that should have left well alone. The third sees the usually comedic duo of Leslie Nielson and Ted Danson offer ‘Something To Tide You Over‘, as they play against type in easily the most disturbing of the stories – a vengeful husband attempts to make his unfaithful wife and her lover pay with their lives. My personal favourite is ‘The Crate‘, in part because of the brilliant Hal Holbrook, Fritz Weaver and a dreamy Adrienne Barbeau as it centres on the monstrous contents of a mysteriously locked box found under the basement stairs of a local college. The final story is arguably the most hilarious with the late, great E.G. Marshall finding out that ‘They’re Creeping Up on You!‘ He’s bonkers as a quotable and annoying rich businessman who gets his comeuppance when his high-tech apartment becomes infested with cockroaches.
Again, Tom Savini’s excellent make-up/gore-effects are memorable and they’re in keeping with the camp charm and affection to each arc that you can’t help but revel in. Performances are great and each actor looks genuinely happy to be involved – Marshall’s foul-mouthed character especially. King’s script is superbly lean and assure things are kept simple, while Romero’s direction is suitably over-the-top in merging the animated graphics that highlight the frights with the atmospheric production values. Of course it’s dated, but again that’s part of its magic. Also, the stinging musical score by John Harrison may not be as iconic as John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, but it’s pretty damn close!
Those looking for additional extras may be sorely disappointed. As decent as they are, they’re lifted directly from the two-disc DVD special-edition released over five years ago. If you’ve already picked up that it may not be worth the douple-dip, but if you’re a huge horror fan, particularly of those anthologies, CREEPSHOW is a must-have for any collection and is an effort worthy of re-watching time and time again.