Creepshow

If you’re a horror fan and you’ve never seen “Creepshow”, then let me run a few things by you. The screenplay was written by Stephen King. The movie was directed by George Romero. The special effects are provided by Tom Savini. If that doesn’t sound like a perfect mash-up to you, then you must be deaf. This 1982 film is a classic horror anthology that still lives up to this day due to its quotability, dark humor, and nasty gags. Inspired by the EC comics of the fifties like “Tales from the Crypt” and “The Haunt of Fear”, shot with comic book-esque transitions, blue and red neon lights for comic-like dramatic tension, and a gaggle of clever stories, “Creepshow” proves again why movies are always better than the book.

The film begins with a prologue that features Tom Atkins as the meanest fucking dad ever. He catches his son Billy with a comic book aptly titled “Creepshow” and smacks him for talking back to him. After tossing the comic in the trash, he sits in pride that he’s a dipshit. Meanwhile upstairs, Billy is visited by the comic book’s host, a Crypt Keeper looking skeleton that smiles at Billy through his window. Billy pounds his fist, the movie gets cartoony looking, and the film begins. The comic book flips open in the trashcan and lands on our first story, “Father’s Day.”

In “Father’s Day”, a mother and her son and daughter (along with her daughter’s husband played by Ed Harris) come together to celebrate the event. The celebration is namely for their Aunt Bedelia, who arrive to the house every Father’s Day at exactly 6 p.m. It is said that seven years prior, she murdered her cruel and verbally abusive father. Well, we know it’s true because we get a nifty flashback. In it, her asshole of a paralyzed father is sitting at the dinner table banging his cane on his chair while constantly shouting “Where’s my cake?! I want my cake! Give me my cake you bitch!” Ole Bedelia snaps, grabs a marble ashtray and cracks him over the head. Can’t blame her, really. When Bedelia arrives to the house, the immediately goes to visit her father’s grave in the backyard, Jack Daniels in hand. While celebrating his memory and cursing him at the same time, Bedelia gets a surprise when her father’s corpse crawls out of his grave STILL yelling “I want my cake!” One by one, the members of the family are picked off until the hilarious ending when Grandpa Grantham finally has his cake…and eats it too.

In the second segment, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, we meet a not-so-smart farmer (played wildly over the top by Stephen King himself) who witnesses a meteor crashing on his property. Determined to make money from it, he grabs the meteor but burns his hand. Soon, he notices fungus growing on his fingers. Before he knows it, his entire body is sprouting grass. Soon, his entire property is covered in greenery and by the time the next morning comes, he has more green on him than a golf course. As the title suggests, his death is quite lonely; but at least he goes out with a bang.

In the third installment, and by far one of the creepiest simply due to its plot, “Something to Tide You Over” involves vengeful husband Richard Vickers (played extremely well by Leslie “Naked Gun” Nielsen) who barges in the house of his wife’s lover, Harry (played by a younger Ted Danson) and tells him that something bad is going to happen to Becky (the aforementioned wife/girlfriend). Using this as leverage, he forces Harry to come out to his secluded beach, promising that he’ll get to see Becky. Once there, Richard forces Harry at gunpoint to bury himself in the sand. A transition shot later and Harry is buried up to his neck in sand. Being a man of his “word”, Richard brings out a television set and places it in front of Harry. On the screen is a live transmission of Becky, also buried to her neck in sand. Soon, the tide begins to roll in and our star crossed lovers meet their demise. But fear not…in the end, a classic twist of horror has Richard holding his breath. Literally.

In the darkly comical “The Crate”, a University janitor discovers an old crate hidden under a stairwell that marks back to the 1800s. Curious of his find, he calls Professor Dexter Stanley (Fritz Weaver) who is attending a University party with his friend and associate Henry (Hal Holbrook) and his bitch of a wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau), although you can call her Billy. Everyone does. When the professor and the janitor open up the crate, a vicious and furry “Critters” look monster gnaws onto the janitor and drags him into the crate for dinner. When another skeptical professor is eaten by the monster, Dexter runs to Henry’s house in hysterics trying to tell him all about it. Henry realizes that this may be the perfect chance to finally kill his horrible nagging wife. Henry tricks Wilma, I mean…Billy to meet him at the University so he can feed her to the crate. Things go wrong, things go right; but in the end, everyone’s left with a full stomach.

The finale, “They’re Creeping Up On You” is probably welded in your mind for life. If you’re terrified or roaches, this is why. In this final piece, a horribly mean millionaire (E.G. Marshall) is having a bit of a bug problem. This doesn’t bode well for him considering that he has a huge bug phobia. His apartment is sparkling white and sanitary but after he squishes a cockroach, he’s in a bit of a panic. Regardless, he’s still quite proud of his kill. The problem is, more and more keep showing up and nobody seems to want to help the old man. Perhaps if he weren’t such a dick, he might not become a literal human bug bomb. If you’ve seen the squirm-inducing ending to this anthology, then you know why Tom Savini is the man. The last 30 seconds of this chapter will bug you for the rest of your life. Pun horribly intended.

Finally we come to the epilogue where two trash men (one played by Savini himself) find the “Creepshow” comic book, only to notice that an ad for a voodoo doll is missing the send-off form. Cue Tom Atkins yelling at his son to come down for breakfast when he starts grabbing his throat in horror. That’s right, kids. Little Billy is going away at that voodoo doll in his room, making it pins and needles for dad.

Stay tuned because tomorrow we have another set of stories for you with our review of “Creepshow 2”. Until then, grab “The Vault of Horror” from under your mattress and let the Vault Keeper keep you company until next time.

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~ by exploitnation on April 28, 2008.

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