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John’s Horror Corner: Creepshow (1982), a classic, campy, nostalgic horror anthology from Stephen King and George Romero!

September 5, 2015

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MY CALL:  This is one of the more campy and fun anthologies from the days before anthologies were the “in” thing.  Looking for a film that features sea zombies, silly murderous revenge, alien weeds, angry arctic man-eating primates and goofy bug infestations? Then this may be for you.

OTHER HORROR ANTHOLOGIES:  Some other anthologies include (in order of release date):  Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Creepshow 2 (1987), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), 3 Extremes (2004), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014) and V/H/S Viral (2014).

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Much like Tales from the Crypt (1972) and The Vault of Horror (1973), Creepshow sweeps us away to a youthful horror comic nostalgia characterized by uncomplex (often unreasonably silly) stories of various hokey campy flavors. So if you’re one to analyze plots or the decisions of characters, you’ll surely find yourself frustrated. Consider this film to be scary only for much younger and more virginal horror fans and more of a nostalgic throwback to lifetime lovers of the genre. Not that I know anything about it, but I’ve read that this is an homage to 1950s EC horror comics. It certainly does have a comicbook-esque simplicity to the stories.

Featuring five stories written by Stephen King and directed by George Romero (Dawn of the Dead), this anthology is often revered as a fan favorite. The movie opens with a young boy, his Creepshow comicbook, and a disapproving father, and we subsequently flip through the comic pages in cartoon clip scenes delivering us to the short stories within…

Father’s Day is about murdered father who returns as a zombie to exact his revenge on…you guessed it…Father’s Day. This is an excellent example of how analyzing the plot will only upset you. Our zombie father’s grave is right next to his estate and, for whatever reason, it’s only after years and years of posthumous family Father’s Day dinners that the undead patriarch randomly rises. I found it enjoyably hokey and laughed. But make no mistake, this is stupid. LOL. The highlight for me was seeing a young Ed Harris (Snowpiercer) dancing the night away.

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The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill offers a similar pleasure in that we find a young Stephen King playing a seemingly retarded hillbilly who discovers a meteor in his backyard. The meteor cracks open and oozes a glowing slime which our simpleton touches and finds himself “infected” with some sort of alien weed that grows all over his body, house and yard. The plot may be simple, but it’s not dumb. Sure, there are some hilariously stupid sequences with lame dialogue, but these are the fantasies of a simpleton. So it makes sense. It is funny, a bit creepy, and ends in a brutally practical manner.

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Something to Tide You Over may have been the most dramatically engaging of the stories, about a methodical husband (Leslie Nielsen; Dracula, Dead and Loving It) who exacts his revenge against his adulterous wife and her lover (Ted Danson) in a rather cruel way…and he records it!!! In this story the humor is subtle and dark, and only campy in the very end for our surprise ending. This and the remaining stories are all a bit more mature.

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The Crate is far-fetched but I certainly enjoyed the ride. A professor (Hal Holbrook; The Unholy) with a domineering alcoholic wife (Adrienne Barbeau; The Thing, Swamp Thing) encounters a crate that has been long forgotten in storage in the zoology department. Inside the crate waits a hungry, humanoid monster from an Antarctic expedition at the dawn of the century. This story features the most elaborate plot.

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They’re Creeping Up On You was by far my least favorite story of the anthology (followed by Father’s Day). Some rich business man with an overly modern, tech-rich condo and a roach-centric germophobic hypochondriasis finds himself plagued with his perceived incompetence of others and a domestic insect infestation. This drives him mad and drove me to boredom. Roaches crawling all over everything is not creepy or satisfying to me; it’s just dumb. That’s what this short story was: dumb.

OVERVIEW: I found the middle three short stories to be very engaging and the first and last to be considerably less satisfying (with Creeping Up being almost intolerably awful while maybe drawing one grin). This anthology would have been considerably better in my opinion if it was limited to the middle three stories (Jordy, Tide and Crate) and reduced from 120 to 90 minutes. But I know some people (e.g., the occasional Amazon reviewer) rather enjoyed Father’s Day and Creeping, so I’ll just say the middle stories are what won me over and got me to buy this.

In either case, this is a classic anthology from the days before anthologies were the “in” thing. You should probably watch it.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2015 9:40 am

    Good movie!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 8, 2015 8:49 am

      Indeed it was. In fact, I’m in the camp of fans that prefer part 2.

  2. September 7, 2015 3:43 pm

    The Crate-Just tell it to call you Billie!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 8, 2015 8:49 am

      What a great line. She had it coming!!!

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: A Christmas Horror Story (2015), a holiday anthology complete with zombie elves, evil spirits and Santa fighting Krampus! | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Deadtime Stories (1986), a wonderfully campy horror anthology with diverse effects and dark fairy tales. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Southbound (2015), five linked tales form this decent horror anthology with angels of death and the worst broken leg ever. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Holidays (2016), an excellent horror anthology with some shockingly good horror shorts. | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), really not the best horror anthology, with a variety of perverted themes. | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: The Blob (1988), this slimy, gory sci-horror about an acidic alien ooze is an 80s practical effects favorite! | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night (1985), a favorite 80s vampire movie with comedy, gooey gore and monstrous fanged mouths. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: Fright Night 2 (1988), a stylish sequel to our favorite 80s vampire movie. | Movies, Films & Flix

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