Happy Halloween: Creepshow (1982) review
Director: George Romero
Cast: Ed Harris, Leslie Nielsen, Hal Holbrook, Ted Danson, Stephen King, Adrienne Barbeau, EG Marshall, Tom Atkins, and many more.
Creepshow is inspired by the 1950s EC comics, and the movie itself feels like a comic book come to life. Scene transitions are made either by the turning of a page or panning from one comic book panel to another. Certain scenes even play out within the frame of a comic book panel. The movie is a horror anthology that tells five different stories (six if you count the wraparound segment), and each story begins by fading from an illustrated comic frame to a live action frame that exactly mirrors it. Whenever something horrific occurs, the screen glows with thick red, blue, or green colors, and the background is replaced by exaggerated drawings.
The movie is directed by George Romero, whose claim to fame was the independent shocker Night of the Living Dead, and the screenplay is written by novelist Stephen King. The makers of this movie say they were raised on the old EC comics, and their affection is apparent from the first frame to the last. There is a feeling of joy in every minute of the film, and it has a wickedly dark sense of humor. I mean, who would have thought that a man having fantasies about killing his obnoxious wife could be so funny? The filmmakers don't take a second of it seriously, because doing so would rob the movie of its charm. After all, the EC comics were “Educational Comics,” and one of the things they taught their readers was if a meteor should land in your back yard, the last thing you should do is try touching it with your bare hand.
The movie opens on a dark and stormy night, with a young boy getting yelled at by his father because of all the Creepshow comics he reads. The dad throws the comic books away, and later in the evening, the boy sees the skeletal figure of the Creeper right outside his bedroom window. The boy isn't frightened in the slightest. Actually, he smiles, as though he were being visited by an old friend.
From there, the movie proceeds to tell five different tales of terror. The first, entitled “Father's Day,” is about a family reunion that goes horribly awry when the spirit of the family's cantankerous patriarch (who was murdered by his daughter) pays them a visit to get his Father's Day cake. The second story, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” stars Stephen King as an idiot farmer who witnesses a meteor crash landing in his back yard. Leslie Nielsen turns in a surprisingly nasty performance in the third segment, “Something to Tide You Over,” where he plays an insane and wealthy technophile who exacts revenge against his wife and her lover (Ted Danson). The fourth, and longest, segment is called “The Crate,” which shows what happens after a professor finds a mysterious 147 year old wooden box under the stairs in the school basement and decides to open it. Finally, the final and scariest story is called “They're Creeping Up on You,” which stars EG Marshall as a monstrous CEO whose allegedly “germ free” apartment gets infested by an army of cockroaches.
The reason why a lot of these stories work so well is because they play on universal fears. After all, what could be scarier than being buried up to your neck on the beach below the high tide line? Have you ever seen a cockroach scuttling around in your house. Imagine thousands of them in your house, and all of them coming at you. These scenes are indeed chilling, and the music by John Harrison contributes to the atmosphere with its ominous piano-tinged melody. The performances are all over-the-top, and that is how it should be. The characters in Creepshow are deliberate caricatures, and everyone plays them as broadly as possible. The best performances are, I'd argue, turned in by King and Adrienne Barbeau, who is hilarious as the obnoxious, alcohol-swilling wife of a professor in the fourth story.
Creepshow is often times creepy, but is for the most part an exuberantly goofy and entertaining horror show, and perfect for a Halloween viewing. I'd like to say more about it, but I have to be going. I see a roach moving across my kitchen floor and I want to spray that sucker dead. Wait a second, there's more of them. Holy crap, they're coming at me by the hundreds! Get away from me! No! PLEASE!!!! AAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Final Grade: *** (out of ****)
What did you think of this movie? :)
Other Reviews on Creepshow
My Other Reviews :)
- Happy Halloween: Halloween II (1981) review
A decent sequel to Carpenter's masterpiece!
- Happy Halloween: Carrie (2013) review
Come on, it really was a decent film! :P
- Happy Halloween: House of Wax (2005) review
Not a good movie, but entertaining if you don't expect much from it.
- Happy Halloween: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) review
A classic horror show! :D
- Happy Halloween: Halloween (1978) review
This was an editor's choice winner, whatever that means (I really don't know o.O)