30 Days of Fright – 25: Creepshow

I love a good comic book.It’s a brilliant way to tell stories and as a medium it has a lot in common with cinema, only without the chance for a load of people to get together and really make a mess of it.Perhaps this close link is why it’s now so common for comic-based movies to hit the picture houses.

Creepshow (1982) is a different kind of film as it’s an anthology of five short stories presented as if they were part of a 1950’s style horror comic book that a young boy was reading before his father took the book away. The whole film is wrapped in the story of the boy and his Dad with the start of the film about how the boy lost the “Creepshow” comic and the end about what happened next. The five stories presented are each quite separate from each other as stories in comics often are.
Story 1: Father’s Day
The first film presented in Creepshow tells of a wealthy family of sorts getting together for dinner with a dear old aunt of theirs. The aunt in question shows up on father’s day every year to visit the grave of her own father and to be a hindrance to her younger relatives. As the time for her arrival approaches, the mother of the family tells of how her aunt had killed her father and now felt a vague sort of remorse about the whole thing. Sure enough, the aunt arrives and head to her father’s grave to sit and get shitfaced with a bottle of Jack. As she contemplates what her father had done and how it affected her life a hand shoots up from the grave and the family experience the second murderous rampage in their history…
Ed Harris hits the bottle (pity it wasn’t Regaine, the now-baldy fuck)
Story 2: The Lonesome Death Of Jody Verrill
The second tale of terror follows an unsophisticated rural gentleman (fucking redneck) called Jody Verrill (Stephen King – yes THAT Stephen King) whose evening is disturbed by a meteorite crashing to Earth near his house (shack). He investigates and dreams of making a bit of cash from his find by selling the rock to a nearby college. The meteorite is too hot to pick up out of its crater (as the simple gobshite discovers by burning his fingers on it) so he throws a bucket of water over it, causing it to split in two and leak some retched looking fluid. Returning to his house (hovel) for the evening to consider his next move, Jody notices that some green mossy looking stuff has sprouted on his fingers and is spreading to anything he touches. Soon, most of the house and surrounding fields are covered in an alien plant and Jody is in danger of being overgrown himself…
The author of The Green Mile reveals his inspiration
Story 3:Something To Tide You Over
Harry Wentworth (Ted Danson) is at home one morning when an older gent Richard (Leslie Neilson) knocks on the door and barges in, telling Harry that he knows he’s having an affair with his wife Rebecca. Richard is incredibly possessive when it comes to his missus so much so that he’s done something terrible to her and if Harry wants to see her again he’s have to go with Richard. Reluctantly agreeing to this Harry sets off with Richard down to the beach where Richard pulls a gun and demands that he jumps into a deep hole in the sand. Now buried up to his neck harry watches as Richard fetches a TV set and about three miles of cable so that he can watch a feed from a camera somewhere else on the beach where Rebecca is buried in similar circumstances, the only difference being that she’s nearer to the incoming tide and is starting to struggle as she’s slowly submerged. Harry realises that he’s about to suffer the same fate and swears revenge on Richard. That night back at his place, Richard is disturbed by two uninvited watery guests…
People tend to forget just how fucked up the last episode of Cheers really was!
Story 4:The Crate
Set in a college town two professors, Henry and Stanley, are attending a social gathering during the summer holidays. The two lads are friends but Henry is married to a right old bitch, a woman who gets on everyone’s nerves and is totally different to her husband and his friends. A janitor working at the college contacts Stanley to say he’s found a crate under the stairs. Stanley goes to investigate and discovers to his horror that the crate contains a living Yeti that’s rightly pissed off for having been in a wooden box for over a hundred years.After the creature kills a few people Stanley tells Henry about it and Henry spots a chance to improve everyone’s lives by ending one in particular…

Henry utters the first known instance of “Yeah, you’d better run!” in cinema history

Story 5: They’re Creeping Up On You!
A rich old dude living in a high tech apartment hates bugs and he’s killed by them. That’s it.

A rich old dude living in a high tech apartment hates bugs and he’s killed by them

I am seriously conflicted on the subject of Creepshow. I really can’t decide if it’s muck or a masterpiece. It is defeinitely innovative and certainly manages to invoke the idea of those older horror comics that you sometimes see reprints of, where the stories are twisted and genuinely horrifying.

The thing about Creepshow is that there are no big twists and absolutely no scare worth mentioning and all the performances (bar one) were terrible and the comic book animations that kick in at the end of each story are distracting and silly.The only actor worth a damn in the whole thing was Leslie Neilson, who came across as a fucking sinister nutball and was a joy to watch as he pranced about on screen delighting in his murderous game. Even with big name actors, Stephen King writing the material, and George A. Romero directing Creepshow just doesn’t click.

Whatever way you cut it, Creepshow is shit. So why then this indecision? Because, as poorly delivered as it was, Creepshow remains a very clever film. The level of respect it gives to the material it was inspired by is to be commended and in terms of a comic book movie it was way ahead of its time. Creepshow is a film born out of a love of horror and it’s a safe bet that everyone involved in making it had a good time in the process, which is too often missing from film production. Sadly though, this wasn’t enough to prevent the shortcomings in the production from overwhelming the better aspects.

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for Creepshow

Linkshow:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepshow
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083767/

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