Retro Review: Creepshow

2010/11/30 22:49:41 +00:00 | Jonathan James

In memory of Leslie Nielsen, I thought we’d start off our retro review series with Creepshow. The purpose behind these retro reviews will be to regularly feature a past film that is a personal favorite of mine and that I would recommend to others.

People often focus on what movies are coming up next, but the fact is that there are so many great horror movies over the past 100+ years of cinema and many of them go unseen by the average fan. By regularly including retro reviews on Daily Dead, I hope that I can suggest something that you haven’t seen and that you’ll love some of these films as much as I do. In every review I'll tell you why they are important to me, why they may be of interest to you, and I’ll also try to include some film facts and back story on these films.

Released in 1982, Creepshow is a horror anthology movie directed by George Romero and written by Stephen king.  If you’ve seen Trick ‘r Treat or some of the older anthology films, Creepshow follows a similar format, including 5 stories that have a similar theme, but can also stand alone on their own.  This format was made popular by the British Amicus Productions films of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Arguably, the most famous of their anthology films was Tales from the Crypt in 1972, but they released films before and after including Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, Asylum, The Vault of Horror, and From Beyond the Grave.

Creepshow followed the same format of these movies, but added a bit more humor and a horror comic book-theme reminiscent of E.C. Comics throughout the film.  We are treated to 5 stories that include the dead returning from the grave, a hick planning to get rich off of a recently crashed meteorite, a husband’s revenge plot against his cheating wife, a monster found in a crate, and a cockroach problem that won’t go away.

All of these stories are purposely filmed to look like they are pulled straight from a comic book, each with their own animated intro and ending, along with specific lit scenes that look like a comic book panel. Everything, including most of the acting, is over the top in this movie and it’s great to watch.

What really makes this film, though, are the performances from talented and experienced actors. Just to name a handful, you have Leslie Nielsen (Forbidden Planet), Ted Danson(Cheers), Adrienne Barbeau(The Fog), Hal Holbrook(The Fog), and E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men), among others. Most of these actors play their over-the-top characters perfectly and really help create this comic book feel the movie is going for.

Of course, this film wouldn’t work without the great effects work from Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th…) which brings these creatures and zombies to life. Watching Creepshow now, everything looks as cheesy as it did years ago, but all of the effects are still convincing enough where it doesn’t take away from enjoying the film.

If you haven’t seen Creepshow, I’d recommend this to anyone who likes the Tales from the Crypt TV series or the Amicus Productions films listed above. It is rare to see movies that can combine humor and horror together so well, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t enjoy at least one story in this anthology.

And even if you've seen and love Creepshow, here's something you may not have seen in a while: