It's five jolting tales of horror from two of the greatest names in horror, Stephen King and George A. Romero. Five gut-wrenching horror stories that will shock you to your core- or just make you laugh. Yeah, to be honest, this one's kind of funny, but intentionally so. Creepshow is a darkly humorous horror anthology that was a collaboration between acclaimed horror writer Stephen King (Rage, The Dark Tower) and director George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead). The two masters of horror join forces to make a movie! Where could you go wrong?
In Creepshow, there are five short horror films in one. The film as a whole was based on 1950s EC/DC horror comics, so the whole movie is colorful and a little bit lighter in tone than a lot of horror movies are, but that may be a good thing. It's nice to get a little comic relief, and Creepshow lives well up to its tagline, "The most fun you'll ever have been scared." The most fun you'll ever have being scared indeed.
The first two stories aren't really that scary, especially the second one. The first, "Father's Day," has one of my favorite horror movie quotes: "I want my cake!" My dad sometimes says that as an inside joke. In "Father's Day," a miserly, greedy old man is killed by his daughter Bedelia on Father's Day. Seven years later, he rises from the dead as a maggot-infested revenant in search of only one thing: the Father's Day cake he never got. It sounds pretty stupid, and really, it is, but it's kind of funny, and actually pretty creepy. On to the next one.
"The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill." This also has one of my favorite horror movie quotes, but to keep this school appropriate, I won't share it. Jordy Verrill is a dimwitted redneck played by Stephen King himself whose farm is overtaken by alien vegetation when a meteor crashes on his farm. He is overwhelmed by the rapid growth which begins to spread on him as well. It's not scary, but it's quite atmospheric, pretty funny, and actually has the very best ending to any one of these segments. The vegetation grows exponentially when exposed to water, and as the farm is overgrown overnight, we hear a radio report predicting heavy rain for the next week, leaving the audience with the grim expectancy that this will further facilitate the spread.
The next three segments are all scarier and darker. "Something to Tide You Over" follows Harry Wentworth who is buried alive on the beach and drowned in the high tide by psychopathic Richard Vickers, whose wife Harry had been in a secret relationship with. After their frightening deaths, Harry and Becky return as watery corpses who exact revenge on Richard, who delivers yet another great horror quote: "I can hold my breath for a long time!" as he prepares for a similar fate to the one he had subjected Harry and Becky to.
In "The Crate," which is the second best one, traumatized Horlicks University Professor Dexter Stanley must figure out how to dispose of a terrifying ape-like monster that devours a janitor and grad student, who delivers a great quote ("That's pretty far out Professor Stanley."), after it escapes the crate it's been in for over 140 years under the stairs in the university's laboratory. Professor Stanley's friend Henry Northrup meanwhile sees the beast as a way to rid himself of his nagging wife. The whole segment is bloody, scary, and disturbingly funny. I love this one.
And finally we have the creepiest one yet, "They're Creeping Up on You." E.G. Marshall portrays racist, mysophobic rich man Upson Pratt who lives sealed up in his New York City penthouse apartment. As a rolling blackout heads right for his building, cockroaches begin to spread throughout the room. The room is all white, and the music is eerily creepy. This segment is by far the most atmospheric. It's really creepy when Mr. Pratt sits drifting into space, telling an employee over the phone about the bug problem, and actually he's talking to himself, as if he's crazy. As the blackout nears, countless thousands of roaches swarm Pratt, killing him and then bursting from his chest in an appalling yet satisfying ending to the most darkly humorous segment of them all. This segment may also be metaphorical, the roaches resembling all of the little people Pratt stepped on his whole life. This is one is as analytical as it is scary and disturbing.
There's one more story though. The wraparound story. A young boy named Billy, who is played by King's son, Joe, is punished for reading the Creepshow horror comic book. The next day, which begins immediately following the last segment, Billy gets his revenge on his dad in the form of a voodoo doll.
Really, this movie is great. Kind of dumb, and more funny at first than scary, but great. It's creepy, the music is awesome eighties synth at its finest, the stories and characters are all entertaining, and the ensemble cast did a phenomenal job. The comic book artwork is also really neat, and a lot of fun. King and Romero's shot at making a great horror movie together was not wasted.