Kloipy’s Stephen King Series: Creepshow

Creepshow is everything that a good horror movie should be. To me, it is a flawless film. It manages to be scary, funny, and entertaining from start to finish. When I think of horror, the most prevelant thing that comes to mind are EC Comics. Tales of ghouls rising from fresh graves, monsters from beyond the stars, and the shine of drool on a set of big sharp teeth lurking in the darkness. Creepshow manages to catch this exact tone so perfectly that it has become one of my most loved horror films of all time.

Written by King and directed by Romero, this anthology presents five different stories, each great in their own right, and bookended by The Creeper, who is a mix of Crypt Keeper, The Vault Keeper, and The Old Witch all rolled into one specteral being. The movie starts off, as it should, with the smile of a pumpkin. A father berating his son for reading comics against his wishes. King’s son Joe plays the little boy who begs his father not to toss out what his dad calls ‘this horror crap’. I feel Romero and King poking the ribs of the bible belt with this little jab. And honestly, they won’t see this movie anyway so, fuck ’em. The Creeper shows up at the window and in a beautifully drawn opening sequence done by EC master Jack Kamen, we are thrust into the world that Creepshow wants us to be in for. Romero and King both know this world very well, and each scene in this film shows that. From the little stuff like the turning of the pages opening to letters to the Creeper, to the ads for X-Ray specs, and to the big stuff, like the comic backgrounds and color. This is homage of the most beautiful variety because it elevates pure adoration and becomes a good example of the source material itself. Creepshow could very well stand alone as it’s own comic and would have no trouble living up to The Crypt Keepers standards.

Father’s Day

If I had to pick the weakest section in the movie, it would be the opening. It isn’t bad by any means but doesn’t quite measure up to what’s to come. We do get Ed Harris dancing which is probably worth something, but I don’t know what that is. Please don’t inquire within. The story is about a decrepit old man who has died, and his poor daughter who comes to visit him and drink by his graveside. When she falls into his open grave and the zombie of her father snaps her head clean off, you know that you are in for a treat. Poor Ed’s dancing doesn’t save the day and he gets offed by a gravestone to the face. Probably how he got that scar in History of Violence. The old man has been established as being a total dick, yelling over and over again in flashbacks for his damned Father’s Day Cake. When did cake on father’s day become a tradition? I feel at this point he had lost it to dementia and mixed up birthdays with the other said holiday. Anyhow he shows up in the kitchen with a head cake, and alls well that ends well.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill

I love this part of the movie. It’s so damn goofy but pretty depressing in it’s own. Jordy is, as he calls himself  ‘ a lunkhead’, or as would now be referred to as a ‘tea party member’. He is played WAY over the top by Stephen King himself, but you know what, he’s perfect for this role. I can’t picture anyone else wiping blue stuff that came out of a meteor on his overalls and shouting ‘Meteor shit!”. Classic. That weird blue stuff causes plant life to start growing on his fingers, then his arms, then all over. I mean all over. In a scene where Jordy is watching ‘How Green is My Valley” we get shots of the darkened house outside, strange plants covering everything, and the despair starts in. Even if Jordy is a lunkhead, you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, he just thought for once he’d have some luck with some meteor money (not to be confused with meteor shit which would bring in a lot less in these trying times). To see him at the end of this, covered in plant, crawl his way to the closet and proceed to blow his brains out is really quite sad. But then we are treated to a wonderfull shot of corn growing along the highway as the scene fades into animation again. The story reminds me somewhat of an updated H.P. Lovecraft ‘Colour Out of Space” story, though I’m not sure Lovecraft would know what  a lunkhead was.

Something to Tide you Over

Ted Danson is in some serious shit in this one. Leslie Neilson is to blame, in what is suprisingly a very dramatic role for him. He should have stuck to this type of acting instead of the bumbling asshole and maybe he would have a somewhat decent career. Leslie as Richard is a rich man obsessed with technology and the tide. He finds out that his wife is getting the old Danza special and decides on a little revenge. So he forces him into a hole in the sand and buries him up to his neck. He’s got a closed circuit TV hooked up and on it, is his wife and Danza’s lover, also buried up to her neck. However for her, the tide is starting to rise and she is stuck. So eventually the same thing happens to Danza and Richard goes home to relax after a long days double homicide. His house is set up like he’s preparing for war with cameras and tv’s everywhere. Soon a fog starts to roll in and we hear and see the shadows of a shambling, gurgling monstrosity making there way into the house. There is a scene in here that never fails to send chills up my spine as the rotting corpses of Richard’s victims call out to him, arms outstrechted. What a wonderful segment.

The Crate

The Crate is a great little monster tale about some creature that treats her husband like shit and gets fucking killed. I mean, some wife played by none other than mamary queen Adrienne Barbeau. Hal Holbrock is her her downtrodden husband in an excellent performance of a man pushed to far. Theyh find a box underneath the stairs at the college he works at. Inside the crate is a hideous snow ape or some such that like all snow apes trapped in crates, is fiending for some human flesh. And he gets what he wants. This is probably the goriest and besides Jordy the funniest. A real delight to those who like a little more gore and monsters.

They’re Creeping Up on You

The last segment has also what I consider to be one of the greatest death scenes of all time. A truly cringeworthy piece of the macabre. Upston Pratt is a high profile business man living in a sterile environment. Everything in the room is pristine, he will only speak to people through the peephole in the door and even walks around with shoe covers in his own home. A late night storm rolls up over the night and the events begin to unfold. Pratt is just a complete asshole. He fires one of his employees who is ailing, causing the man to kill himself. This doesn’t bother Pratt one bit. What does bother him is the cockroach that finds it’s way into his Howard Hughes apartment. Soon more and more bugs are crawling through his flat and he starts to lose it when he can’t get an exterminator out right away. Soon there are rolling blackouts, and with each brings more and more bugs. It’s almost as if it is a manifestation of this man’s dark soul. He can’t hide from what he hates the most, himself. He is nothing more than an insect. Soon he becomes overrun by the bugs and we see him lying on his bed, the room now clear. But his body starts to shake. Then in horror we see as the bugs push their way out from under his skin, filing his room up and burying his body in a writhing mass of putrid bodies. A great story and like Kafka if Gregor had turned into a plauge instead of one measly depressed centipede/pill bug creature.

This movie is a tradition in my house. It gets played every year around Halloween. I’ve seen this movie so many times since I was a kid and it’s never lost a bit of the glow for me. It ages very well as these are timeless horrors. The ones that truly get under your skin (Mwahhahahaha see how creative I am by applying something that was written just a bit ago and is fresh in your brain, don’t you love my meta reviews?!?!?!?!). But in all seriousness, if you haven’t seen this movie and you love horror, please for the love of God do yourself a favor and rent this movie already. Actually just buy it, I’m sure you can find a cheap copy somewhere. It should be in every genre fan’s collection. What Creepshow manages to do is scare and have fun with it, and unlike today’s modern films it isn’t looking for some nihilistic reason to make you depressed. It’s a movie about things in the night, things at the beach, and shit that comes out of meteors. And for God’s sake don’t we all need that sometimes?

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About kloipy

a poor deluded sap hoping to find his place in this mixed up crazy world

27 responses to “Kloipy’s Stephen King Series: Creepshow”

  1. MORBIUS says :

    Nice Kloipy, agree 100% with you, is this out on DVD?
    Used to have this on VHS but that has long since worn out.
    I also like most of Creepshow 2, the ‘Raft’ segment and its ending. Never seen #3 but friends say its pretty much shit!

    • kloipy says :

      thanks Morbius, it is out on DVD and Blu Ray now, just got a dvd last year as my VHS was about destroyed. The Raft is great in 2, and I’ve heard the same about 3

  2. Franklin Thomas Marmoset says :

    Nice review, Kloipy. I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. Haven’t seen it on a long time, but it was one of my favourites as a youngster, and one of the first videos I ever saw. A friend had a copy of it on tape so I would watch it at his house all the time.

    You’re right, Father’s Day isn’t the best section, but I have fond memories of it because of all the fun I had chasing after my little sister saying “Where’s my cake!? I want my cake!” in my best ten year old zombie voice. She didn’t even know what it meant but it would freak her out anyway. He he.

    • kloipy says :

      Thanks Frankie, I like Father’s Day too, but the story always felt rushed to get to the other ones, but it still doesn’t detract from the head stuffed with candles.
      and if you see Trick or Treat, it’s Creepshow for Pussies

  3. Jarv says :

    Jordy is, as he calls himself ‘ a lunkhead’, or as would now be referred to as a ‘tea party member’

    LOL Kloipy. Funny stuff.

  4. kloipy says :

    I love in Something to Tide You Over when Richard shoots the monsters, water pours out of the wounds

  5. Droid says :

    Surprise, surprise…

    I haven’t seen thisTM

    Maybe I should do a double bill of this and Fright Night, which I also haven’t seenTM

  6. kloipy says :

    and the main theme is one of my favorites

    I think we can all agree on this trailer

  7. Tom_Bando says :

    I remember the thing in the box there. Good stuff all around Kloipy.

  8. DocPazuzu says :

    Great movie and review.

    Not to be a picker of nits, but Bedelia doesn’t actually fall into the grave. Daddy-O claws his way out of the grave and strangles her. Ed falls in the grave and gets the subsequent stone on the noggin. It’s the wizened old toff bitch who gets the head twisted off and turned into a cake.

    I love all the segments, I must say, even if the overacting in the Father’s Day story is a bit grating. The creepiest bit in the Danson/Nielsen bit is when you haven’t actually seen the zombies yet but are treated to the sight of footprints in the sand and a trail of seaweed and fog leading up to (and into) the house. Also, you can see their shadows on the wall and hear weird, waterlogged groans like that of a sea mammal or something. Brrrrr!

    Funny you should mention how well it would work as a comic since there actually WAS a comic tie-in — a gorgeous, oversized paperback illustrated by Berni Wrightson (which rests proudly in one of my bookshelves) which captures everything which was cool about the movie.

    Isn’t it odd how easily so many directors seemed to have made the right mixture of horror and comedy back in the early 1980s?

    Oh, and anything with Adrenne Barbeau in it is worth watching. God she was hot back then…

    “Just call me Billy, everyone does!”

    • kloipy says :

      Thanks DocP. I thought I had fixed that when I edited as I remembered that she had her head twisted off and it was Harris who fell in. OOps

      I actually didn’t know they did a comic tie in, I NEED that now!

      I love that part in Tide also, it’s all atmosphere and builds the tension to the reveal so well.

      I think horror movies these days just can’t balance the two. They don’t seem to get either genre right

  9. DocPazuzu says :

    …But you are right — Bedelia does end up in the grave, which Ed Harris, to his horror, discovers.

  10. kloipy says :

    Here we go!

  11. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    I have the comic too. It’s a great piece of art. This film is a classic, and I just picke dit up a few months ago on Bluray for 8 bucks. Need to sit down and watch it. Might do a back to bqack with Trick R Treat.

    Kloipy, you seen that one?

    The sequels to this were both lame, although part 2 at least had that trash-bag monster segment.

    • kloipy says :

      Jonah, I have the older DVD and it has no special features save for the trailer. I’ve heard that the newer verison might have a doc about it so I’m hoping for that.

      I did see trick r treat and I actually didn’t really like it. It had some nice touches here and there, but I think I had bought into the hype too much on it and was just let down.

      Plus I thought the dad in the first segment was gonna rape those kids like in Happiness

  12. ThereWolf says :

    Haven’t seen Creepshow for a long, long time…

    I recall that each segment got better and better – that’s my memory anyway. I loved They’re Creeping Up On You. Rampant bugs – ewww… Prince Of Darkness, another one with rampant bugs.

    Top one, Kloipy. Knew if I dropped a hint you’d do the business!

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