There’s something magical about a horror anthology film, especially one that ties all the stories together in some way. It’s a series of morality tales, all teaching you something different about yourself or the world around you, in one package. A bargain, a lost art form, and a sub-genre that is in major need of a comeback.
Tonight’s feature is arguably one of the defining entries into the sub-genre and is a title that is often recommended to those looking for a fun way to cram five stories into one movie: Creepshow
Year Released: 1982
Written By: Stephen King
Directed By: George A. Romero
Starring: Hal Holbrook, E.G. Marshall, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, Ted Danson, Stephen King
When young Billy is discovered reading a comic book by his father, he is thoroughly punished and his comic book, entitled Creepshow, is tossed in the garbage. Billy’s father fears that the comic book will be a poor influence on his son’s mind, one that will corrupt him. Luckily for Billy, The Creep has come out of his comic book and has a few lessons to teach him.
And his father.
Five Jolting Tales of Horror! reads the poster for Creepshow, which is itself a throwback to the old EC Comics that had titles like Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, and Haunt of Fear. As far as anthology movies go, within the horror genre anyway, this is near the top of the list for me.
Hal Holbrook and E.G. Marshall bring a touch of class and validation to the film, along with great performances by Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson, not to mention genre darling Adrienne Barbeau.
The writing is some of the best screenplay work Stephen King has done, with three of the five stories written expressly for the film and two being adapted from a couple of previously published short stories. Say what you will about the film work of Stephen King, but when given the opportunity to present his stories in a format like this, he shines. He even forgoes his usual one-and-done cameo appearance for a starring role in one of the segments. His son, then known as Joe King, appears as the main character featured in the “wraparound” story that ties all of the other tales together. You might know him now as Joe Hill, acclaimed author of novels such as Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.
The effects work is impressive for a 1980s horror movie, but that’s to be expected once you learn Tom Savini is the one in charge. His work on 1978’s Dawn of the Dead (also directed by George A. Romero) and the father of all 1980s slasher movies Friday the 13th is the stuff of legends.
Should You See It:
If you like horror anthology, be it in book form or on television (Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside), and if you’re interested in seeing George A. Romero direct something outside of the zombie sub-genre, then this flick is for you.