Sunday, 14 June 2015



Creepshow may well be the best anthology ever made. More grisly (obviously) than Dead Of Night, and more stylised than the famous Amicus portmanteau films, it has a gloriously bad taste glee to it, while never slipping over into offensiveness (as in the middle section of Little Deaths, or about three quarters of The ABCs Of Death).  Furthermore, it has a consistent tone throughout (unlike, say, The Theatre Bizarre) since it's all the work of the same two legends: director George A Romero and writer Stephen King. Add in Tom Savini on effects duty and you're obviously in safe hands as far as the horror is concerned.

It's a loving throwback to the days of the EC Comics (not DC Comics, as Amazon claim!), and as much of a moral and parental panic as video nasties would be decades later: five gleefully cruel tales of sadistic horror and "euuurgh!" comedy linked with comic-style animation. "Father's Day" has a vicious patriarch coming back for the grave for revenge on his horrible family (and to finally claim the Father's Day cake he was awaiting when he was murdered); while in "Something To Tide You Over" cuckolded Leslie Nielsen buries his wife (a barely glimpsed Gaylen Ross from Dawn Of The Dead) and her boyfriend (Ted Danson!) on the beach as the ocean comes in - but there's a sting in the tale....

Probably the weakest of the five stories is "The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrell", in which a gurning farmer (Stephen King himself) is infected with some alien gloop from a crashed meteor, because there isn't very much of a twist. The best two stories are the ones that conclude proceedings: "The Crate", with meek professor Hal Holbrook finally feeding his horrible wife Adrienne Barbeau to a monster, and the wonderfully creepy "They're Creeping Up On You", featuring horrible tycoon EG Marshall plagued by millions of cockroaches in his pristine white penthouse.

With its wonderful use of heightened colours to mimic the primary colour scheme of comics, Creepshow is as visually dazzling as Suspiria, and thanks to the terrific makeup, monster and prosthetic effects of Tom Savini - no ugly CGI work here - and a starry cast that also includes Ed Harris, Fritz Weaver and Tom Atkins, it's enormous fun, one of those rare films that get the ghoulish comedy/horror blend absolutely right, and it's impossible to take the kind of offence the old EC comics inspired. Certainly it's leagues beyond the 1987 followup Creepshow 2, which had only three much weaker stories, and the entirely unrelated Creepshow III from 2006, which was no better but did interweave its segments together more in the vein of Trick 'R' Treat. If Creepshow isn't George Romero's best film - I think Monkey Shines is tighter and more thrilling, and Dawn Of The Dead is my favourite film of all time - it's very, very close and well worth the rewatch. Recommended, whether you've seen it before or not.


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