Monday, March 13, 2017

Creepshow (1982)

 Creepshow (1982)

In the last few days I've been watching Arrow Video's beyond awesome release of Creepshow 2, as well as finally getting around to buying the original movie on blu-ray. Revisiting one of my all time favorite movies, I decided to reflect on the 1982 George A Romeo and Stephen King E.C comic classic. A film that was decades ahead of it's time, and 30 plus years is treated like horror royalty. So in celebrating by re-watching this outstanding colorful fun movies, I'm setting down over here at Staystillreviews' headquarters by watching Just Deserts, and writing about the original 5 classic tales!!!

1) Father's Day - A+
PLOT - A wealthy family all gathers to a giant mansion on Father's Day where nutty old Aunt Bedelia has become something of a legend since years ago on Father's Day she murdered her cruel elderly father after years of abusive. Finally snapping her believing her father murdered her boyfriend, posing it as an accident, she finally loses her mind when he continues screaming for his Father's Day cake. Finally pushed to the edge, she bashes his head in, killing him instantly. Years later on every Father's Day Bedelia returns to her father's mansion to visit his grave which is located on the property. This year her sister, nephew, niece, and her husband are gathered at the home for a nice dinner while she visits the grave. Only this time, her father's rotting corpse digs himself out of the ground, returning, wanting his Father's Day cake and ready to murder anyone who gets in his way.

LOWDOWN - I vaguely remember first watching Creepshow when I was seven or eight when it played late one night on HBO in which it played back to back with Return Of The Living Dead. I didn't catch the whole movie, but instantly knew I needed to figure out what movie this was since it seemed like everything I loved or was fascinated about horror that the time which was slowly just getting started at that time in my life. A few years later I discovered the world of George A. Romero and Tom Savini with the dead films and instantly fell in love with these films. Having grown up with Stephen King movies and books thanked to my mother, I remember getting the first two Creepshows on VHS and it was game over. Father's Day starts Creepshow off very strong. It oozes old school E.C comic books, mostly with the cover or Nathan crawling out of the grave. This segment is filled with great cinematography made to look like a comic book with the frames, and mostly lighting. We get a pretty rich backstory, a beautiful location with the mansion and grounds, and of course in my eyes one of the best on screen monsters with the corpse of Nathan. I loved the flashback scenes of poor Bedelia losing her mind trying to frost the cake, or of course a young Ed Harris giving the BEST DANCE MOVES E-V-E-R. This movie is filled with some pretty memorable kills, but the huge pay off of course is the final shot of Nathan walking out of the kitchen with the most beautiful frosted Father's Day cake and the niece and nephew's shocked reactions with the blue and red lighting. The fact the motive for this zombie returning from the grave for cake really makes my day. I love after Ed Harris dies (in seriously the worst way possible) how Nathan is mumbling about his cake. Cracks me up every time. I've been lucky enough to meet John Amplas who played Nathan at Rock & Shock a few years back and gave him the cake he's been looking for all these years!

2) The lonesome death of Jordy Verrill - B+
PLOT - A dim witted farmer living on an isolated farm up in Northern Maine one night sees a giant meteor crash on his property. After burning his fingers trying to touch it, he gets a bucket of water only to watch it crack in half with a strange glowing blue liquid to spill out of it. Thinking he could sell it at the local college, he goes inside only to discover a few hours later his fingers where he burnt them on the meteor are now growing a strange green fungus. When he looks outside what appears to be green weeds are growing everywhere and at a very alarming rate.

LOWDOWN - This in my eyes is the weakest entry in the entire film. Seeing that I have it a B+ goes to slow you what a near flawless film this is. I don't have anything against this segment, in fact I love seeing Stephen King hamming it up as Jordy, and find a lot of dark humor in this story. King has been a huge part of my childhood and I always love seeing him whenever he acts or makes a cameo. I have always been fascinated with movies and stories about people slowly transforming into something they can't stop. This is a tragic tale with some pretty cool effects, and really has a dark and unsettling ending that just can't make you feel sorry for poor Jordy. I remember what a great job they did showing how isolated he was, even when the green weeds are legit growing everywhere including his face, he makes himself the screwdriver to end all screwdrivers and settles down in front of the TV listening to a preacher talk, giving an uplifting speech, a small little detail is spoken when it says this was pre-recorded, showing that Jordy truly is alone and how due to a series of poor choices, his farm, and entire body becomes overgrown by this green fungus resulting in his death, and maybe the destruction of the planet. A dark over the top story which is fun, and always a hoot to watch King fumbling and bumbling around. Would be a riot if they ever remade Creepshow to see who would play Jordy this time around.

3) Something To Tide You Over - A+
PLOT - A wealthy husband discovers that his wife is having an affair behind his back. One morning he arrives at her lover's front door explaining he wants him to come with him or something very nasty will happen to his wife, and if he tries hurting him or contacting the police he'll never know what happened to her. Forced to go with him, they arrive at the husband's private beach in the middle of nowhere. Here he pulls a gun on him and orders him to jump into a hole he's dug in the sand and pull the sand around him until he's buried up to his neck. If he refuses, he kills him. After the lover is buried up to his neck and unable to move, the husband drags over a camera and TV set where he shows him that his wife is buried father down the beach in the same exact spot, only the tide is coming in and she'll soon drown. The husband then asks the lover the ten million dollar question which long can you hold your breath?

LOWDOWN - I'm sure I share the same two fears many people do. One which is being buried alive, the second is drowning. This segment pulled this off in a very elegant way and yet again seems like a story ripped straight from old school 1950's comics about corpses coming back from the dead for revenge. Not only to we get the love triangle, we also get some truly heartbreaking moments such as Harry watching Becky on the TV screen watching her suffer and breakdown crying his name. This story always makes me beyond uncomfortable, and has a great payoff that I still laugh at every time. It's refreshing to see the late Leslie Nielsen actually playing a serious villain role despite how over the top he plays it. We also get a young Ted Danson shortly before he joined Cheers, as well as a brief cameo of Fly Girl herself Gaylen Ross. This story honestly makes you wonder...what would you do? This by far is the most dramatic, and has a very creeping last half. I loved the beach house setting and of course the water logged corpses of Ted and Gaylen returning and how you can hear their voices bubbling with the water that has now filled their lungs. Utter perfection. 

4) The Crate - A+
PLOT - A mysterious crate is found hidden underneath a staircase at a local university by one of the janitors who accidentally finds it while looking for a coin he dropped while flipping it. Calling up one of the professors to check it out, both men are puzzled due to the 1834 date on it and the fact it's all chained up. Once the crate is opened, a man eating monster lunges out of it, killing the janitor, as well as a grad student who was working at the campus during the summer holiday. In pure panic,t he professor runs to another friend of his and tells him the whole story and wonders what they are going to do with the monster inside it. Little does he know his friend is all ready hatching a plan which involves getting rid of his nagging mentally abusive wife. 

LOWDOWN - This hands down is my favorite segment in the whole movie. I feel not only is this the most visually stunning with the popping colors of blue, reds, and purples, it reads the most like a comic book. We get the perfect set up for a very strong story, and has some truly talented actors bringing their best in this haunting tale. I love stories involving monsters, and "Fluffy" by far is one of the best. In fact, I went to Savini's school and even got to see the original Fluffy in all it's glory. I love the pacing of this story and the strange friendship between Henry and Dex. How Dex lost his wife years ago and has had a hard time with the younger female student body and notices it has become a problem. Meanwhile Henry is trapped in a loveless marriage with his drunk of a wife Wilma. Hal Holbrook is great as Henry, the timid push over of a husband who has fantasies of murdering his wife played by the great Adrienne Barbeau who has some of the best lines in the story "Just call me Billy, everyone does!" and of course the late and handsome Fritz Weaver of Dex, the professor who clearly has issues of his own and completely goes mad after watching two innocent men get murdered by this beast. The effects were completely on point with this story (LOVE the scene where the grad student's neck gets bitten) or how carefully Henry plans setting up Billy to come to the college. Not only does it have a great ending, but like I said stella performances by all. Truly the gem in this entire fun movie!

5) They're creeping up on you - A
PLOT -  A wealthy businessman lives in his germ proof penthouse in the city which has suddenly become overrun by roaches. Determined to stop them, it soon becomes an obsession as more and more appear during a city wife blackout. 

LOWDOWN - I hate to admit this but as fun as this story is, it yet again isn't really the strongest. I have nothing against this one, but when compared to the others it's a hard race to beat. Still, I've always loved horror stories involving animals and bugs going wild. I mean one of my favorite movies from the 1980's is The Nest which is about killer roaches. E.G Marshall who I will forever think of as the father in-law from Christmas Vacation "The little lights aren't twinkling Clark..." plays a great bastard in this brightly lit setting. I think the pure white apartment is what really sells this story since the moment you see one of those ugly little roaches hurry across the white surface of the counters or floors it turns your stomach. Yet again this movie will (no pun intended) give you the creeps and has one HELL of a pay off with some truly awesome old school special effects. 

6) Wraparound Story - A+ 
PLOT - An older father discovers his son's horror comic book Creepshow and overreacts slightly by slapping his son across the face, claiming the comic book is crap and tosses it out in the trash before a thunder storm, claiming he's just doing what a father's duty is. His son sits awake in bed, clearly more than a little upset before being visited by his friend the creep outside his bedroom window. The following morning the comic book is discovered by two garbage men who notice that somebody sent away for a voodoo doll. Here we see the father getting ready for work, and seems to have a sore neck when suddenly he jumps up in pain holding his throat and chest. Upstairs Billy, his son is grinning with the voodoo doll giving zero fucks as it has a piece of his father's shirt wrapped around it. 

LOWDOWN - I personalty would have loved to see a whole movie just about this. The first shot of the entire movie sets the mood as we see a lit up pumpkin in the window of this nice house in what looks like a peaceful neighborhood as thunder and lighting sound off and flash in the distance. Here we get Tom Atkins himself being the ultimate dick of a father, legit losing his mind over finding a horror comic book in his son's room. (Good thing you didn't have me as a child mister!) I always laugh at how he slaps his son and how there's a perfect hand print across his face. Movie magic people. This little boy is played by Stephen King's son Joe who later on took the name Joe Hill and has become quite the author himself (Horns) and even tried to attempt to make a reboot of Tales From The Parkside with Kris Lemche from Final Destination 3. Little Joe clearly is a horror fan in this wraparound segment with posters and toys everywhere of monsters. The highlight of course is the creep itself. I always say they should have stuck to that in part 2 instead of the goblin mask they slapped on Savini. Not only do we get some great animation, we also get a great ending with cameos of Savni and poor Atkins getting his ass kicked as Billy continues sticking needles in the doll. Twisted yet. Awesome, of course. This is what Creepshow was all about, dark fun that is a must for all ages!

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