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Creepshow (1982)

Directed by George Romero Written by Stephen King

  So I was figuring, “why not do another one of Stephen King’s, you own em anyway,” so here we are. Creepshow, streamed from the idea of such shows as Tales of the Crypt and The Vault of Horror, though familiar only with Tales. As Stephen King wrote the screenplay and George Romero directed, assistance from Tom Savini helped in making the terror in this film really shine. Savini having stated that this was also one of the most difficult movies having to work special effects on as it seemed he was unable to show anything to King he would actually approve of. Though he film opens up with a prologue in a household where we see Billy (Joe Hill; King’s son) getting punished for talking back, after his Horror magazines were taken away. A storm brews near as Billy is seen nodding towards his window as The Creep, our host, drawing the wind towards the comic as the five stories come to life to present a symphony of horrors.

Father’s Day: A story about Aunt Bedelia and the legend of her having returned every year to the Grantham’s mansion where she would have dinner on the anniversary on her father’s death. The story, told by Sylvia Grantham, (Carrie Nye) went that her father had been terrible jealous and in turn killed Bedelia’s lover. Sending her over the edge and bashing his head in with a marble ashtray. As Bedelia arrives and heads towards his grave to mourn, she begins having flashbacks that rip through the scenes, giving the comic feel with animation thrown in for effect. Taken back to that Father’s day, she kneels at his grave and begins letting him know how she truly felt about what had happened. Given a hand into getting in the same grave by her very upset father who still wanted the cake he never received the night of his death. Hank Blaine (Ed Harris) ventures out to check up on the aunt when he soon falls victim to Nathan Grantham (Jon Lormer) and makes his way to the house. Once inside he does away with Sylvia, serving her head on a platter, finally able to enjoy his cake. *maniacal laugh* That’ll have to be done at the end of every one mind you.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: This one stars Stephen King as yup, Jordy Verrill. A pretty crazed and ragged farmer who has a meteor crash into his yard. Getting the idea of selling it to the university for no less than 200 dollars. Throwing water atop so as to cool it off, which splits it in half and he dumps out its remains, taking it inside to look at it in the morning. That night he witnesses first hand what messing with it could bring. His house, body, entire dwelling is consumed by turning into a type of Grinch like material as his father appears to him, asking him not to go into the tub as planning. Giving in to the itchy material surrounding him, he falls into the bath as the next day brings a completely transformed Jordy pleading with God to let his luck be in, just that one time. Placing a shotgun to his head and pulling the trigger. A local news station begins stating how the sudden events had triggered a forecast of moderating temperatures and lots of rain. Bad news seeing as how it was the trigger of this expanding disease that was going to begin to spread everywhere. *maniacal laugh*

Something to tide you over: Harry Wentworth (Ted Dansen) is visited by Richard Vickers, (Leslie Nielsen) who had discovered his affair involving wife Becky (Gaylen Ross). Threatening to either go with him or have something terrible happen to her, Harry goes along for a ride to the beach. Taken to an already set-up location where a hole had been dug out in the sand. After hesitantly going along with filling in the sand to be buried up to his neck, Richard brings a VHS and TV to show Harry how he had his wife set up in a similar situation. But on her end not being so lucky, as the tide was coming in. Richard returns home to pour himself a drink and continue to watch his wife and lover become enveloped by the sand; returning to the beach later to find Harry missing. Back at his house he begins to get curious when one of security cameras goes out. However his biggest surprise comes from seeing the two make their way up to his house as they say they hope he can save his breath. The camera pans out to the beach where it seems they had put him in the same position with him yelling “I can hold my breath for a long time.” The last thing we catch sight of, besides his worried look, is him left alone on the beach. *maniacal laugh*

The Crate: We first see Janitor Mike (Don Keefer) trying to fetch a coin from a dark corner as he takes notice of a crate underneath the stairs, hidden in the dark. He calls Professor Dexter Stanley, (Fritz Weaver) who gladly leaves a socialite party to assist the janitor in removing such a crate to see what was contained inside. However they find some gorilla type monster (that the crew called Fluffy) who gets his hand on Janitor Mike, refusing to let go. Meanwhile at the socialite party we see  Professor Henry Northrup (Hal Holbrook) whose wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau) was spending more time being drunk and belligerent. Having constant visions of murdering her. Back at the University, Professor Dexter finds help in the form of Charlie (Robert Harper); who first believes the Professor to be outright his mind. Nevertheless, going down to the lab, he finds a trail of blood leading to the crate. An attempt to measure the bite mark leads to Charlie becoming the next victim with Dexter rushing to Henry’s house to confess of the night’s occurrence.

In an effort to find out what had happened, Henry drugs Dexter and retires back to the school, obviously not hearing anything his friend had just said. We begin to see him clean up the incident as Wilma returns home to find a note from her husband. He feeds her ego stating he would be at the University, asking if she would make her way down to help him cover up Dex’s tracks. After arriving Henry can’t help but laugh at all his failed attempts to get Fluffy to notice her. Suggesting she take a look underneath the stairs where Dexter’s victim had retreated. A supposed first attempt leaves her extremely upset as Fluffy is able to claim another victim. Locking the crate back up, Henry drives it out to a body of water, returning to Dexter as he confesses what had went on, being sure of no means of escape. As we’re taken under water we see Fluffy break free, the story ending on a close up of his eyes. *maniacal laugh*

They’re Creeping up on You!: We see Upson Pratt (E.G. Marshall) complaining outright to himself about the bug problem in the building and how he was going to take care of it. Choosing to speak with the outside world through his phone, he receives a phone call from an employee who informs Pratt of a former employee having committed suicide after being fired. Just a couple of hours before. Though getting under his skin were the constant roaches that seemed to be infesting his penthouse at the moment.

A black out proceeds as his emergency button flashes and his place is overthrown by the bugs. With the sound of Lenore (wife of the man committing suicide) in the background saying that he would pay for what he had done. Gone almost instantaneously, it seems the exterminator had arrived with still, no reply from the owner. We find Pratt securely concealed in a room seemingly alone at first though passed out on the floor. Though upon further inspection we begin to see him bleeding out as the roaches burst through his skin.

The prologue brings us back to the house seen in the beginning as two garbage men (one of which was Tom Savini) pick up Billy’s comic book and begin reading the ads throughout. Taking notice of someone having sent  off for a voodoo doll. Upstairs Billy with the exact one shown, stating “I’ll show you to take away my comics” and begins poking the doll as his father downstairs is reprimanded for his method of conduct.

Final Thoughts: I had grown up as a pretty avid watcher of The Tales of the Crypt though I mostly remember being so terrified of the Keeper’s looks. The five stories were good, don’t get me wrong. But trying to capture a series of television shows and the great character that John Kassir embodied fell through it that sense. Father’s Day was a great way to start out the movie. The second and third stories fell through just a bit but only because there wasn’t necessarily anything that was outright scary. The Crate was a better way to get the momentum back up and Fluffy certainly made for an interesting story to include. The last story was no doubt, the most disgusting of the entire film. I could barely look at the scene the the insects were encasing Pratt, making the terror easily undeniable at the thought of that ever occurring. Three “masters of horror” all on their own, coming together to assess the fate of individuals seen through the eyes of a horror comic fan. An event done with a comedic attribute true to its roots.