Monday, October 4, 2010

Retro Reviews: Creepshow

1982 was the year that saw the horror stars align. Written by Stephen King. Directed by George Romero. Makeup FX by Tom Savini.The film was Creepshow. And it proved to be one of the more popular anthology films amongst horror fans.

With horror films taking off into various franchises and comedies hitting their stride in the 80's, the combination of both genres became a natural marriage. There are only a handful of filmmakers able to tackle the horror/comedy genre because it often falls flat on its face.

The melding of these genres long before they gestated onto the silver screen. In the 1950's, William Gaines would create a comic book company known as EC Comics. Becoming quickly under fire by conservative groups of the time and facing allegations of causing juvenile delinquency, the comics would become banned. A number of genre filmmakers took influence from these comics. One of them being a young George Romero. After all, one of the most common stories of the three big titles (Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror & Haunt of Fear) was the 'walking zombies' story.

Creepshow is essentially 5 stories in the EC tradition that's filled with ghoulish glee and devilish delight.

First up we have Father's Day, where Nathan Grantham returns from the grave to seek retibution on those who did him wrong. The Lonesome Death of Jody Verrill stars Stephen King himself as the titular character. A 'nunkead' who ends up coming across a meteor that gives a whole new meaning to the term "going green." The third returns back to walking zombie type story. It's called Something To Tide You Over and stars Leslie Nielsen in one of his few villianous roles. The Crate, my personal favorite is probably the goriest. A demonic, ape-like monster that hibernates underneath the stairs in the basement of a college conservatory. Finally, we have They're Creeping In You. E.G. Marshal stars as a germophobe who is overrun by cockroaches in his penthouse apartment.

Just look at the cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Halbrook, E.G. Marshal, Ted Danson, Leslie Nielsen, a young Ed Harris and Fritz Weaver. That's all you need right there. Not to mention, the macabre piano driven score the film has. The closest another anthology film has come to capturing the macabre sense of black humor that EC Comics had was Trick R Treat from 2008.

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