Halloween is my favourite holiday for a good reason – costumes, candy, mischief… but I think what really thrills me is the idea that all things evil could become awesome. As a kid, I adored this holiday because it flipped convention on its head – celebrating the things that would normally horrify people, Halloween definitely sparked a love for the horror genre. And Creepshow nurtured it in to a full blown obsession.
Creepshow was released in 1982, directed by George A. Romero and written by Stephen King. With credentials like that, I probably don’t need to add that it was inspired by the classic E.C. Comics of the 1950s. Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Weird Science and even MAD magazine were the creations of this incredible publisher. No doubt these inspired horror icons like Romero and King, but I was born in the 80s and this movie was to be my first taste of their genius.
If you’ve seen this Michael Jackson video, or this Twisted Sister video, or the beginning of Tenacious D, you’ll recognize the beginning of Creepshow… A Dad who unknowingly rouses bad mojo by being mean to his kid. In this case, tossing the Creepshow comic book in the garbage, inspiring rebellious kids everywhere to lust for blood.
What follows is five scary short stories, all drawn from the pages of the book… packaging a tight and tidy format that would be reused in a second film. There’s a little something for everyone in Creepshow: zombies, aliens, revenge, monsters and cockroaches… so no matter what your fear, there’s bound to be at least one story that will grip you and make you squirm. If not, you’ll get a thrill out of seeing Leslie Neilsen and Ted Danson dabble in the genre.
Without any spoilers, the segments are all aptly titled:
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
Something to Tide You Over
They’re Creeping Up On You
My personal favourite? I do enjoy King’s performance as a loveable, hapless nerd done in by “meteor shit” in the second segment… but I think The Crate does the best job of rousing my innermost fears and sense of terror.
Although the film is old and the effects are dated, the comic book framing and dead serious 80s acting really brings Creepshow to life and for me, makes it the perfect Halloween horror film. There’s something nostalgic about the treatment of the film that matches perfectly with that rebellious young fascination with horror that drives us to dress up and take joy in fear.
Perhaps my favourite part is the end of the movie… where that mean Dad, who shouldn’t have thrown out his kids comics? He gets HIS due… and it’s awesome. It also leaves room for the sequel, Creepshow 2 which was also a King/Romero endeavour (but skip the third; go watch some Tales from the Crypt instead!)