I always enjoy a good horror anthology film and there isn’t a better one than Creepshow.
I first received Creepshow when I was nine years old for Christmas. When I think back, it’s probably my favorite Christmas gift I ever received since it was a surprise and perfect.
Creepshow is everything I’ve ever wanted in a horror film. The storytelling is true to the old horror comics the film pays tribute to and all of the stories feel like traditional horror stories told around the campfire. So much horror nowadays seems to be pretentious hipsters making “post-horror” films and mediocre directors who think they know what horror is and do the same generic horror film I’ve seen since the early 2000s where everything is taken far too seriously and the gore is doubled.
It’s a sad day when I watch something like the Evil Dead remake and the storytelling is so mediocre that even the excess gore can’t wake me from boredom.
Luckily a film like Creepshow exists, it’ll always be there for you when you need an escape from the flood of terrible horror films that make you question even the most hardcore fans if they actually love the genre.
Since this is an anthology film I’m going to discuss it segment by segment.
The film begins with Tom Atkins scolding his son, played by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill who would go on to write the great NOS4A2 about reading a horror comic book. After being scolded and cursing her father to hell, The Creep appears outside his bedroom window. I couldn’t think of a better introduction for this film. When I think about this opening, I can’t help but wish there was a horror anthology comic being written today that pissed off parents to such a degree.
Probably the moment Ed Harris wants forgotten
A great first segment that is very much in the tradition of the EC horror comics where someone resurrects to get revenge on the person who killed them, as well as everybody in their path. The great George A Romero is credited for the modern version of the zombie and while he is the one who introduced such a thing to film, the concept existed previously in EC horror comics. George Romero happened to be the first to use this version of the zombie over the Haitian voodoo version that was seen often in B horror films in the first half of the century.
I love this segment. All of the characters are entertaining and unique. The storytelling is quintessential horror at its very finest. First demonstrated in this short and used throughout are reaction shots of the monster and then on victims appearing shocked or frightened as everything is bathed in red and blue lighting. It all looks wonderful and truly shows not only how much George Romero admires the old horror comics but how great and talented of a director he was.
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
Perhaps the least liked of all the Creepshow segments but personally I find that it serves its purpose as filler as you’re coming down from the thrill ride of Father’s Day and taking a break before jumping into Something to Tide You Over. This segment is great comedic horror, a pairing of genres that usually doesn’t go well unless Bruce Campbell is in the lead. This segment, whether viewers admit it or not is very amusing as you watch Stephen King say things like “meteor shit!”
You also have to give the man credit for practically doing a one man show minus quick amusing moments with Bingo O’ Malley.
Something to Tide You Over
This segment is a favorite for some given it’s by far the most traditional and loyal to the EC horror comics. Similar to this segment, numerous stories in Tales From The Crypt tend to be a couple in love, the man being murdered and resurrecting to get revenge on a jealous ex-lover.
One reason this segment is so memorable is seeing the great Leslie Nielsen in a serious role. The man had done a lot of it in the past but for the generation of Creepshow all they knew him for was Airplane and the numerous parody films that followed it that he signed on for. It’s also cool to see Ted Danson before he became very successful with Cheers.
Overall, it’s a great segment with a well-crafted tale and satisfying ending. Not only is the “I can hold my breath for a long time!” line memorable, but I always get giddy watching as Neilsen confidently shoots at the zombie, a mixture of blood and seawater flows from the wound and his smirk slowly turns into a look a fear and shock. Neilsen truly stands out in this one with how serious and little emotion he shows until the end when he has a hysterical breakdown.
Enjoyed by horror fans and certainly not to be appreciated by angry feminists whipping bloody tampons at Trump Tower, The Crate is yet another well-crafted tale in this horror anthology. The only who truly shines in this segment is Adrienne Barbeau as the wife from hell, Wilma….but everybody calls her Billie. Her presence and daydreams her husband have of killing her are quality dark humor. This and the final segment certainly feature the best macabre humor of the film.
As said before, this segment all about a man’s desire to get rid of his wife certainly won’t be liked by feminists and when I think about it, I’m amazed there hasn’t already been a long incoherent rant about The Crate on Buzzfeed or Jezebel around Halloween.
Don’t be surprised if you see a hideline this October that says “Ummmm……We Need To Talk About Creepshow’s The Crate…” with fifty words and 150 gifs of angry reactions from female reality TV stars.
Overall a great segment based on a Stephen King story that truly shows his love for HP Lovecraft’s tales.
They’re Creeping Up on You
Now onto the most expensive segment of the film due to the fact 250,000 cockcoaches were used at fifty cents each. All I can think when I mention that fact is how great George Romero’s films stand up over time because of practical effects and how awful the remake of this segment would be with CGI cockroaches that would cost at least twice as much.
This segment is creepy as well as hilarious. The humorous Trump like character E.G. Marshall plays is entertaining the way he shows no remorse when the widow of a man who killed himself calls up and he plays an air violin as she cries.
The dark humor sprinkled throughout Creepshow is at its best in The Crate as well as They’re Creeping Up on You and goes quite well with the creepy and sinking feeling one feels imagining what it would be like to be trapped in a room swarming with cockroaches.
After this, the film concludes with Billy stabbing away at a voodoo doll of his father, getting revenge for his trashed comic book.
Whenever I look at lists of the “greatest” horror films of all time and see titles like The Shining, Rosemary’s baby and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I have to shake my head and roll my eyes. While great films, they’re also the few horror films pretentious movie critics appreciate. Rarely is Creepshow ever on such a list when it’s obviously quintessential horror.
If somebody doesn’t have Creepshow in their list of greatest horror films, they’re most likely a boring snob who knows very little about the genre.