director George A. Romero
After watching Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) a couple weeks back with my daughter, I thought that the kids might enjoy my favorite of these anthology horror films of my era, George A. Romero’s 1982 Creepshow. I’ve long had a soft spot for Creepshow. My best friend of the time and I were into comic books and we’d read the Creepshow comic book/graphic novel, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, several times over in bookstores and comic shops prior to seeing the film.
I had even regaled my kids with the story of how my friend and I went to see the movie and, sitting next to me, my friend said, “Right here, here’s when the hand bursts out of the grave!” followed by a shriek of his own, still pent up despite knowing what was going to happen. I’ve often fondly remembered that moment.
Steeped heavily in the lurid tones and aesthetics of EC Comics, Creepshow is a wonderful paean to the scary, super-dark horror comics that it emulates. Clara really enjoyed the way that some scenes shifted to drawings and comic panels, or even multiple scenes played in comic panels, echoing the comic book from which the stories meant to arise.
Creepshow features a great cast, the likes of Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen, E.G. Marshall, and a young Ted Danson. It also features some awesome traditional FX from master Tom Savini. It’s pretty darned entertaining.
I’ve always been partial to the 4th story in the set, “The Crate”, in which a long shelved primate with huge teeth is discovered in a box under a university science department’s stairs, and kills with hungry aplomb when he’s finally given freedom. I think I had more mixed feelings about each installment, but now, decades since I last saw the film, I think the whole thing is just peachy. In fact, I liked it so much I’m even considering checking out Creepshow 2 (1987), which I never did see (and think isn’t supposed to be nearly so good.)