- Movie Rating -

Creepshow (1982)

| November 10, 1982

I generally have a dislike for horror anthologies because they never really add up to much – the parts rarely justify the means and if the movie is broken up into five parts, then two are usually only passable. Creepshow fares a bit better.  It offers five stories connected only by the fact theme that they are about common fears: drowning, cockroaches, dark spaces, body horror.  When it is over there is enough good material to decide which is the best, but you’re just glad there isn’t a clunker.

The stories are based on the comics that grown-ups use to tell you would rot your brain, that being EC comics of the 1950s, titles like Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear.  I wasn’t a devotee of these comics but an issue would fall into my hands once in a while when my older brother’s friends threw them out.  Like old Playboys, they were a tasty treat that I wasn’t suppose to be reading.

The people who made this film obviously grew up with a healthy appetite of these blood and gore presented in EC Comics.  George Romero who created the modern notion of the zombie movie with Night of the Living Dead is the director here and the screenwriter is Stephen King.  To call their work affectionate is an understatement.  It would have been enough to hammer together five stories but they have created something else, something that really brings to life what existed on those pages right down to the camera angles, the cartoon bits and the Just Dessert ending to each story.

The first story “Father’s Day”, a nasty treat written by King expressly for the film and stars Vivica Lindfores as a horrible woman whose father comes back from the grave to retrieve his Father’s Day cake.  The second is a hilarious bit called “The Lonesome Death of Jodey Verrill” and is not only based on a short story by Stephen King but also stars the author in the title role as a backward hick who discovers a meteorite in his back yard that turns everything into vegetation.  The third is “Something to Tide You Over” and involves Leslie Nielson as a cold-hearted bastard who buries his wife’s lover (Ted Danson) up to his neck where he will drown when the tide comes in.  The fourth is the least impressive, “The Crate” starring Adrienne Barbeau as a woman to discovers a crate containing a vicious creature hiding under the steps of her university.

But the real treat, and the best of the stories is the finale, “They’re Creeping Up on You,” the story of a paranoid racist (E.G. Marshall) who lives a closed-in life much like Howard Hughes.  Upson Pratt is a very neat and tidy man who fears germs and ethnics, so of course his home is invaded by thousands and thousands of cockroaches.  This is the best . . . . if you can stomach it.

The spirit of the comics is here and I liked the nasty and unsettling approach of each story, but I wouldn’t exactly call them groundbreaking.  Much like the stories in the comics they are created more to keep you unsettled than to outright scare you.  Of course, an area piled with millions of hungry cockroaches might send some people out of the room.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Horror