If you're a fan of Stephen King and/or anthology-style horror movies, I hope you're reading this out of curiousity only, because you certainly should have seen George Romero's Creepshow by now. A darn good horror anthology, which is pretty darn rare. (Yeah, like you saw Deadtime Stories or Grim Prairie Tales.) This one has a pretty good reputation among horror fans, who have proved to be the freakiest of all the fans of a specific genre. We have the basic anthology layout here: The opening which becomes the story segues, and the actual stories themselves. Creepshow is very firmly based in the horror comics it was inspired by, and the trademark Stephen King nastiness runs rampant here.
The "bumper" scenes involve a boy whose mean Daddy has thrown away his beloved comic books, much to the young boy's chagrin. He plots homicidal fantasies. (A little extreme to be sure, but my Dad used to toss my Mad magazines, and I served eight years for killing him, so I can relate.) This silly little story is best left as the intro to the main stories, as it offers nothing of any real interest.
The first story, Fathers Day, is your basic 'obnoxious old-money family gathers around to discuss inheritances and inbreeding only to be interrupted by the nasty rotting corpse of their Father who repeatedly screams for a cake' story. (Stephen King is the richest author in the universe. He wrote it.) Some pretty OK jolts, a great shot of someone bashing their head on a gravestone, and one poor guy gets a ten-ton statue dropped squarely on his nuts. Ouch. Watch for Ed Harris in this story as an obnoxious guy....who gets killed.
The second story, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, is really just dumb. The smartest Texan ever captured on film (played by Stephen King himself) lays his bare fingers on a freshly-fallen meteor. He then proceeds to wisely place said fingers immediately into his mouth. He then begins to slowly grown green fuzz all over himself, especially when he gets wet. It's alternately silly and stupid, up until he starts coming up with nasty suicide plans. Yawn.
The next story ("Something to Tide You Over") is of interest only to those who need proof that Ted Danson ever had his own hair. He screws the wife of Leslie Nielsen, which isn't nice. (Sorry to go off-track here, but am I the only one who finds it impossible to watch Leslie Nielsen do anything with a straight face?) So the pissed off husband buries wife-humper Ted Danson on the beach with only his head above the sand. We're supposed to feel his claustrophobia, his fear of an impending doom as the tide begins to roll in and he slowly drowns. Danson drowns, comes back as a slimy zombie who resembles Sigmund the Sea-Monster, and he grabs Leslie, with the help of the tramp who started the whole mess, who also happens to be a reanimated corpse. It's all quite complicated.
The fourth and by far the best is The Crate. Some nasty, big old box is discovered under the stairwell in a university and Fritz Weaver decides to drink a lot and check it out. He's married to Adrienne Barbeau, who has the distinction of playing perhaps the most disgusting and nasty bitch ever put on film. (and she does it quite convincingly). Anyway, it seems this box has the Tasmanian Devil in it. They never actually call it that, but the creature sucks people into the box whole and skins them bare. (That, and The Crate has the word Tasmania stamped on it.) Very bloody, almost to the point of satire. The monster attacks in this story are truly inspiring, at least to the hollow and twisted mind of a horror fan. This isn't just some box; all it needs is a little peek at one finger and BLAM, you're screaming OH DEAR GOD IT HURTS HEAAALP ME AAAAAAAHHHHH and there's some really nasty bone-chomping sounds goin' on and drip drip drip blood spatters on the floor and the screaming finally dies down. So they throw the box in a river. Crap.
Our last story, They're Creeping up on You (subtle) is also a pretty nasty affair, the least said about the better. Let's just put it this way: This story is a drama version of Joe's Apartment. Cockroaches galore.
A rather good time for the most part. Pretty colorful with some real jolts, most of them provided by this ultra-cool box monster that you never even get to see! Teases! Either way, it's worth a rental for sure, especially if you like your horror movies a little nasty. (Me, I have a lovely copy of Creepshow in my horror shelf. Most horror freaks do.)
(Review reprinted from eFilmCritic.com -- October 19, 1999)