Creepshow is my second favorite film of all time. It's strange to think that in the ten years that I've spent as a "professional" horror critic, I have never touched this timeless anthology. Why, you ask? For the longest time, I struggled with the prospect of tackling such a daunting endeavor. What was I going to say about Creepshow that thousands of horror fans haven't already said? I don't have to go very far to find an articulate take on the subject. Fellow freelancer Jeff Allard scrawled out an eloquent piece for his blog that mirrors my opinions of the film. You can read it by clicking HERE. Don't linger, though. You'll realize that his blog is better than mine, and I wouldn't want that.
All I can do is offer my point of view. Normally, I wouldn't bother discussing a film that has been discussed to death, but Creepshow isn't just any film. It's a film that I grew up with. I can recite the dialogue on cue. I feel like I owe it to George Romero and Stephen King to put my stamp on their love letter to EC Comics. Speaking of which, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the effect that Creepshow had on the relationship between movies and comic books. Nowadays, it's commonplace to frame a shot in such a way that it resembles a comic book panel, but in 1982, that was a fresh, original concept.
Theater patrons are jaded, and it's not just the mainstream moviegoers. When it comes to taking the malleability of filmmaking for granted, nerds are as guilty as anyone else. Sometimes, I get the impression that people think that movies like Sin City always existed. They didn't. Hell, 1972's Tales From the Crypt didn't even look like a comic book. From a technical standpoint, I'm inclined to believe that this was Romero's finest hour as a director. Night of the Living Dead had a more profound impact on society, but if you do your research, you'll discover that a lot of the genius behind the stark zombie epic was accidental.
Now that I've made a multitude of enemies, I'll masticate Creepshow piece by piece.
Prologue/Epilogue ~ The jack-o-lantern in the window sets the mood. It's obvious from the get-go that this will be a campy, fun-loving genre dish. How cool is that bedroom? I was a kid when I first watched Creepshow, so I could relate to Billy (as portrayed by Joe King, son of Stephen). In retrospect, I was Billy! Dig the devilish ending.
Father's Day ~ Without a doubt, one of the most badass zombies ever committed to celluloid. I adore how this vignette consigns itself to a standard slasher formula. That may sound negative, but this segment manages to outshine most 90-minute "body count" flicks in a scant 20 minutes. Is it weird that I hum "Don't Let Go" to myself on occasion? It is? Oh.
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill ~ King's dopey performance as the titular clodhopper hits the spot. He isn't a master thespian, but this character couldn't have been brought to life by a master thespian. Exceedingly entertaining and infinitely quotable.
Something to Tide You Over ~ I maintain that Leslie Nielson is an underrated actor. The proof? His turn as a rancorous landlord in this suspenseful tale of vengeance. Ted Danson is surprisingly sharp as the protagonist. This was the perfect follow-up to the oddball "Jordy Verrill," as it's a sobering punch to the gut. I can hold my breath for 20 seconds, give or take!!! Wait, that's not how the line goes.
The Crate ~ Adrienne fucking Barbeau. Need I say more? Amazing creature effects, steady pacing and a gratifying climax. Fluffy is God.
They're Creeping Up on You ~ My jaw dropped when I first saw this creepy-crawly spine-chiller. Two decades later, it's still effective. Upson Pratt is one of my favorite movie characters of all time. He enjoys being a prick. So do I!
I haven't mentioned the score, the lighting, the animation, the trivial stuff that makes me smile (listen closely for Vince McMahon's cameo), the sequels...I could write a novel, but I'm exhausted. For the record, Creepshow 2 is decent. Creepshow 3 can rot in Hell.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:29 PM