Monday, October 25, 2010

Creepshow (1982)

Creepshow (USA, 1982) - Color, Director(s): George A. Romero
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 120 min.

Z-rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

A movie that was written by Stephen King, directed by George A. Romero, with special effects by Tom Savini?! (I think I just jizzed in my pants!) This film is every kid that grew up reading horror comics' wet dream. Stephen King's son, Joe King, plays young Billy who is getting screamed at for "wasting" time on horror comics in two segments at the beginning and the end of this film. You see, Billy's dad doesn't want him reading horror comics. He thinks the stuff is garbage and will rot his son's mind, so he takes the comic book from him and smacks him a good one to show him who's boss. After going out to dump it in the trash, (probably not the best idea during Halloween season) we see young Billy visited by some rotting, undead specter at his window that waves him over. Cut to a totally awesome animated intro and we're off! Thus beginning our journey into this horror/comedy anthology of five "Jolting Tales of Horror"

First up on our list is the segment, "Father's Day". A family is gathered at the estate of a deceased relative for the traditional dinner that occurs every Father's Day. The reason for this tradition is due to the fact that their dear Aunt Bedelia murdered her father on this day, seven years earlier. After he had her husband murdered, he tried to demand a cake for Father's Day. When she could no longer take his incessant badgering any longer, she offs the old fart with a marble ashtray and takes over the family fortune. This year, however, things don't go as planned when her father rises up from his grave as a revenant and demands his Father's Day cake.

The following segment, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill", was adapted from a published short story written by Stephen King and originally titled "Weeds". After a meteor lands near his farm, simpleton Jordy Verrill (played by Stephen King himself) attempts to scoop it up and sell it to the local college for a profit. Upon touching this meteor, he contracts a plant-like infection that spreads like wildfire all throughout his body. Instead of calling for help, Jordy simply waits it out in hopes that whatever he's got will pass...

The third segment in this film, "Something to Tide You Over", is the most star-studded one of all. Leslie Nielsen (Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Wrongfully Accused) plays Richard, a particularly cold-hearted and evil yet wealthy individual. After finding out that his wife has been cheating on him, he goes over to her lover's apartment and threatens him with a gun. He takes her lover Harry (Ted Danson from Cheers) down to the beach where he's buried up to his neck in sand. A television set is brought down to the beach to show Harry that their mutual lover Becky is in the exact same situation that he's in. As high tide comes in, both of the lovebirds are helplessly drowned while being filmed by Richard. When he returns to the beach the next day, he finds no remains of the couple left and assumes they were washed out by the current. That same night he's paid a visit by the waterlogged zombie versions of the couple that he "buried at sea".

The fourth segment, which is also based on a short story by Stephen King, is titled "The Crate". This is probably the most well-known and highly regarded segment of this film, a tale about a monstrous beast that's locked in a crate at the local school. The janitor finds the crate underneath a staircase and eagerly opens it up, unaware of the dangerous beast that lurks inside. Once unleashed, the monster kills and eats two people before one of the professors goes to tell his colleague, Henry, this fantastic tale of a carnivorous creature that lives inside a crate. Seeing the perfect opportunity to rid himself of his overbearing, obnoxious, and verbally abusive bitch of a wife, can Henry capitalize on the situation and use the monster to solve his problems once and for all?

The final segment will be absolutely terrifying for anyone with an insect phobia. "They're Creeping Up on You!" is about Upton Pratt, a ruthless and cold-blooded businessman that suffers from mysophobia (fear of germs) and spends most of his time locked inside of his supposedly "germ proof" apartment. As the night goes on, his bug problem becomes a full blown infestation and, to make matters worse, there have been a recent string of rolling blackouts all over the city. This is the most disgusting/disturbing one of them all, the final scene from this segment is guaranteed to make your skin crawl!

As we return to the house where this film began, we find a couple of garbage men (one of them is played by Tom Savini) ready to throw out the garbage before they pulls the Creepshow horror comic out and start flipping through it. As they look at several different items for sale, including X-ray specs and some kinda work out video, they notice that the order form for a voodoo doll had been cut out. Back inside the house, it's the next morning and Billy's dad is complaining of neck pain. As we wander upstairs, little Billy has a voodoo doll that he jabs repeatedly with a needle. And so, we end this adventure into the world of horror comics.

Nudity: None

Gore: Decent.While some things looked a little dated (such as the zombie from the "Father's Day" segment for example), some of the other special make up effects were still unbelievable!! (like what happens to Upton Pratt at the end of the "They're Creeping Up on You!" segment)

Awesome: VERY!!! I really enjoyed this movie because the comic book animation sequences were amazing, the idea and the execution behind the film was simply incredible, and the epic collaboration of two masters in their respective mediums of horror was enough to really get my juices flowing. This truly is a landmark piece of cinema!! So why the low score? Despite the fact that I absolutely LOVE this movie, I have to admit that some of the effects are slightly outdated. So even though this film is a fantastic watch, I'd be careful when playing this at a Halloween party. I would probably have another movie playing while party guests are arriving and then follow it up with this one to glue everyone's attention to the screen. Once the movie ends and they have their guard down, I'd follow up with something that packs a hard punch. (like Three... Extremes for example, which is an Asian horror anthology and more serious in tone)