Creepshow is a tongue-in-cheek 1982 horror anthology that has a screenplay written by Stephen King and that was directed by George A. Romero.
King also stars in one of the short stories as a rather dim-witted backwoods yokel on whom weeds begin to grow after he gets infected by some green gloop from a meteorite.
Stephen King’s son Joe also plays a young boy named Billy, a character that plays a pivotal in linking the various stories together.
Stephen King’s Creepshow is a very camp homage to the old EC and DC horror comics of the 1950s and it is more of a black comedy than it is a horror movie. It does have some gore and frights in it, but it is played very much for the laughs and for the nostalgia. To give it more of a Comic Book feel, Romero employed the services of special effects expert Tom Savini to create comic book-like effects for the film. The transition between each story, for example, is made through comic book style renditions of the opening and closing scenes of each story.
The film was also adapted into a comic book of the same name.
The film begins with young Billy being told off by his father for reading a horror comic titled Creepshow, which Billy’s dad calls crap. Billy goes to his room, cursing his father, where the Creep from the comic book appears and that takes us into the five loosely connected stories:
Father’s Day is an original story that Stephen King wrote for the film. When long-suffering Bedelia murders her miserly father, Nathan Grantham, on Father’s Day, she thinks she is rid of him for good, but when Bedelia spills whisky on her bootlegging father’s grave, he comes back from the dead to take his revenge on her and the rest of the family. Father’s Day is a great, old-school horror, with a good splattering of gruesome deaths and gore.
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill is based on the Stephen King Short story Weeds, which was first published in Cavalier magazine in May 1976. Quite apart from anything else about his story, it does feature, let’s be kind, an “interesting” first full screen appearance by Stephen King.
When dim-witted yokel, Jordy Verrill, finds a meteorite; he thinks that it will make him rich. However, what he actually gets is a bad case of green alien weeds growing all over his body and a nasty demise.
This is one of the few stories in Creepshow that you actually feel sorry for the main character. It’s also worth watching, if only to watch Stephen King gurning his way through the whole story!
Something to Tide You Over
Something to Tide You Over is probably the scariest of all the stories in Creepshow and it also has some notable stars in the form of Leslie Neilson and Ted Danson’s. Neilson plays a psychopath who murders his wife and her lover (Danson) by burying them up to their necks below the high tide line. Of course, this being a Stephen King film; neither stays dead for long and their revenge is sweet indeed.
Neilson’s portrayal of the psychopath Richard Vickers is actually quite disturbing; because of the jovial way that he plays it. Watching the water slowly creeping up the victims is pretty hard to watch too.
When college custodian Mike drops a quarter and finds a crate marked "Arctic Expedition - June 19 1834" hidden away underneath a staircase, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Of course, Mike and a college professor open the crate; well you would, wouldn’t you, and out pops a fanged monkey creature that devours poor old Mike, leaving only one of his boots behind. The professor tells a friend about the crate and the friend tells another professor. The latter of the two professors decides that the ravenous monkey might be the ideal way to finally rid himself of his wife whom he has long dreamed of killing. Monkey kills wife, professor drops monkey in a lake, monkey escapes; how many times have we heard that story!
They're Creeping Up on You
If you don’t like cockroaches, then this one is one that will have skin crawling for sure. Upson Pratt is a very nasty businessman whose fear of germs and contamination has forced him to live in a hermetically sealed apartment that is controlled by electric locks. When he sees a citywide blackout heading his way on his surveillance cameras, he locks himself in a panic room to avoid the cockroaches that have invaded has flat, but the cockroaches find their way into the panic room too, and that’s when the real terror begins.
Although Creepshow has its gory moments and its fair share of frights, you get the impression throughout the film that Romero, King and Tom Savini were having great fun making the film. Yes, it’s very camp and, in parts, it’s very silly, but it’s also great fun. Creepshow is well worth a watch if you have never seen it before, and it’s a wonderful tribute to those amazing horror comics of the past, such as House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear; so catch it when you can!
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