I bought a lot of basketball cards as a kid. Used to trade them with a few mutual basketball lovers and what not. Occasionally, I would get into a swap off with a friend who didn’t watch basketball, but bought cards anyways as a means to communicate with our group. I did the honorable thing and ripped him off a lot by trading him guys who were terrible for things like Scottie Pippen’s rookie card and a Charles Barkley card that featured him still having hair and B-Cup breasts. I feel awful when I look at these things now, the corruptions of my early life still haunting me, demanding satisfaction. The only thing that pacify this despair is if I tackle 1982’s George Romero meets Stephen King cluster fuck, CREEEPSHOW. All caps. Just that once.
– We open with an establishing shot of your every day suburban and as to be expected, some liquored up jerk off is berating his kid for reading these “trash” magazines. Turns out to be a comic book called Creepshow. See, that’s why the movie is called Creepshow. Do you understand?
-The voice sounds like Romero actually, but it can’t be as he’s not repeatedly telling us how his films have metaphor and everything else blows.
– Oh no, the father is actually played by horror legend (?) Tom Atkins. And he doesn’t have a moustache, causing me to briefly step out of the room and check on my family, as surely the Armageddon has come. Poor Tom, he always looks like he just got out of a bar fight and isn’t sure how many people he has killed.
– Downstairs, after throwing away little Billy’s magazine, Dad pours himself a fucking milk class sized glass of scotch. My Goodness, that’s a hell of a good idea considering I just realized I really don’t want to watch this film right now.
– Little Billy sits upstairs cursing his father and a ghastly apparition, A Crypt Keeper like corpse, appears at his window. Definitely not the real Crypt Keeper, as he made no reference to Billy’s “Beloved MUMMY and Decaying DEADDY AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” And then you turn the channel to Cinemax or something because back in the day you only had like 2 HBO’S and not this HBO Comedy and HBO Latina what with their never ending comedy specials. Let me tell you something right now, I’ve just about HAD it with all this fancy HBO.
– Oh right, we transition into our animated credits. Ah nostalgia, you wrap around me so tight, and yet the child in me sobs as he realizes that he is destined to watch Creepshow every few months for the rest of his life.
– Our first story is called Father’s Day and here is some drunk old spinster who looks like Ian Mcckellan in an 1800’s style wig to tell us the back-story immediately. You see, they’re waiting on Bedelia, who is richer than the Lord, to get there to put flowers on her Father’s grave and then suck up to her. Her father was a demanding old shit, killed her only love, she killed him in retribution and so on. Who cares though because…
– Ed Harris is here and is YOUNG. Startling moment, as he looks less like a man hardened by years of rye and Southern Comfort and more like Frasier Crane’s brother. Niiiiiiles, stop sodomizing another man and help me pick out a subtle off white tile for the master bed!
– Bedelia arrives and is already half smashed on Jim Beam. It’s still broad daylight. Sadly, this reveals some of my mental problems, as I instantly become attracted to her because of this. Don’t go look, she’s not actually attractive, kind of looks like the blonde from “Who’s The Boss ?” wearing a flesh mask of the blonde from “Who’s The Boss ?”
– Flashback! We see the old man yelling repeatedly, “Where’s my cake?!” and he’s right: Where is ALL of our proverbial cake? “Bedelia! You bitch!” seems like a hilarious thing to yell at your child. Bedelia disagrees and ends up braining him with a…what is that? An antique stone mouse pad? A bronzed waffle? It gets the job done in any case.
– Ha, bronzed waffle, can you imagine? You couldn’t even eat that.
– Back in the here and now, Bedelia swigs bourbon and curses at the foot of her father’s grave. Not drastically different how I plan to spend every future 4th of July, although I don’t plan to actually know the person who lies in the crypt. Doing this mostly to try to plant seeds of horror in widows minds that maybe I was the bastard or lover they never knew about. I get to scream things like “He may have been your’s first, but he NEEDED me!” and “Oh! Oh! He was a Saint with you! A damned saint! You never saw his true face! YOU NEVER SAW NOTHIN‘, SISTA!” As long as I ended up being wrestled to the ground in a graveyard soon, I will be satisfied.
– Nothing I ever plan for the future sounds fun.
-Bedelia curses her father one time too many and up pops a hand. You know it’s a Romero movie because something dead and rotted is crawling out of the ground. “Where’s my…CAKE Bedelia?!” he asks repeatedly as he strangles her to death. All this over cake!? Must be Wisconsin.
– Back at the house, the kids all dance to a song that makes the band Taproot sound relevant in comparison. Man, is it getting hot in here or is young Ed Harris just fine as a mother fucker?
– Ed steps out to chain-smoke and wear a huge belt buckle. He comes across Bedelia’s abandoned car and goes to look for the old bat in the cemetery. This is a proper depiction of intoxication because not only did he go out to smoke, he went in search of someone he barely knew out of some sense of drunken duty.
– I’m not even sure if Harris is supposed to be drunk now that I think of it. Whatever.
– Ed trips and falls (Okay, so he IS drunk) and lands in a grave beside Bedelia’s liver rotted corpse. Zombie cake wanter has psychic powers apparently and forces a grave stone to fall onto Ed’s face. Maybe that’s what happened to his boy’ish good looks. Is there a hidden face wrecking controversy that the cast and crew of Creepshow buried?! A thousand secrets buried in these frames! AND WHAT DID NIXON HAVE TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS!?
– Ian Mckellan goes to look for the help and only finds dead bug eyed Mexican. Oh dear God, he wants his cake and has snapped her neck like nobody’s business.
– We got 2 people left and they decide to go investigate the dwindling cast. Before they get anywhere however, in stumbles the walking dead and he’s got a decapitated head on a silver platter. Frosting and candles have been added. Everyone chews some scenery in reaction and that is the end of that chapter. Another holiday ruined by the elderly.
– We use our comic book transition to flop into the next story, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill. Well you know what you’re in for at least…
– Oh sweet Jesus, no you don’t! Because Stephen King is here and he is ACTING. He is a bumpkin you see, the overalls, sayings like “dipped in shit” and his general inability to keep both eyes looking in the same direction at the same time. What a character!
– Not to point out the obvious, but judging from that face, someone gon’ get raped.
– A meteor almost smashes into poor Jordy and like any good hearted American is want to do, he immediately touches it and then tries to think of a way to scam people out of money over it. This is more accurate than I realized initially. Jordy imagines talking with a professor up at the college about payment for his rock and everyone does their best impression of a terrible archetype. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily.
– Jordy decides he needs to cool that sum bitch off. The fingers he touched it with are already bubbling up and becoming puss filled. Jordy gets a bucket of water and dumps it on the meteor, causing it to split in twine. Fuckin’ meteors, used to make em with some pride. Jordy now imagines the professor rejecting his broken meteor and Stephen King is handsome in an ugly sort of way.
– The meteor spills a bit of it’s inner dumplings and Jordy’s wild saucer eyed cry of “MEEET-TEEE-OR SHEET!” brought me a little bit of joy.
– And after all the mocking I have done, Jordy goes inside and does exactly what I do: He cracks a beer, he sits down and he turns on the World Wrestling Federation. Oy. Looks like Bob Backlund defending against Sika, the Wild Samoan. Vince Mcmahon’s voice confirms this for me. “Backlund working on the left arm of Samoan Number 1!” Jordy is actually drinking cheap red wine, not beer. Details people, you need the details.
– The match continues. “Backlund has him up! OH FORGET ABOUT IT!” Nice looking piledriver from Bob. Jordy notices his hand is growing a green moss and goes to call for help. Unfortunately, years of inbreeding have rendered his mind semi-useless, so all he can imagine is the doctor having to amputate his fingers. That’s all well and good, but what happened in the match!? I say Backlund finished soon after the piledriver with his super atomic drop. Not a doubt in my mind.
– Flash forward a bit and the outside of Jordy’s house is becoming covered in the green glowing weed. “Don’t it EEETCH!?” proclaims Jordy who is also growing more of the green stuff.
Ya know, with Jordy’s hair cut and western styled shirts, he’d fit right in at a Strokes concert nowadays. Not sure what that says exactly about culture, but everything has always sucked anyways, so fuck it.
– King actually does a nice bit of acting when he realizes his entire front lawn is starting to look like Doink the Clown’s head and resorts to running to his cabinet. He fetches some Popov 80 proof vodka and mixes it with a big cup of orange juice. Fuck it, I’d hang out with Jordy at hipster concerts and on the bathroom floor of honky tonks across the country. “I’m growing.” notes poor damned Jordy.
– Jordy now has a huge weed beard and will fit in at awful metal shows near and far. Yes, I am here just to recap where Jordy will and won’t fit in. My original attempt at that sentence was “Yes, I am here just for the recap of where and where won’t not Jordy can fit in.” Had to take an aspirin and lie down after reading that one.
– Oh no, moss covered Stephen King is getting butt ass naked and running a bath for himself. Apparently, his dick has some growth as well. Jordy hallucinates seeing his dead father in the mirror and then joins Black Label Society.
– Jordy’s surprisingly informed father tells him that “The water is what it wants!” and orders him not to get into the tub. Jordy is drunk on the good stuff though, so he just cannon balls on in.
– The following morning, most of the inside of Jordy’s house is covered with growth. I don’t mind saying this is all making me itchy as hell.
– Jordy is nothing more than a 6 foot tall sack of grassy shit at this point. “Please God!” he begs as I notice Romero just said fuck it and reused the zombie from the first sketche’s voice for Plant Jordy. Shotgun blast to the head finishes us up. Got to give the movie this, as far as huge anamorphic plant suicide, no one has ever done it better or with more green gook.
– A weather report post Jordy death informs us the area is due for rain. Jordy lives just outside of a few major cities too, so they should all be giant green globs of shit within the week. I would rather watch this apocalyptic flick over The Happening frankly.
– Something To Tide Us Over is our next blood curdling something or other. Ted Danson (!) is here.
Someone is a banging at his chamber door. He opens it up a smidge and LESLIE NIELSON stands before him. You try typing LESLIE NIELSON without the caps lock turning itself on. It can’t be done!
– LESLIE NIELSON is playing a fellow named Richard and he knows what Harry (Danson’s character) and his wife, Becky (some lady) have been getting up to behind his back. Uh oh.
– Harry notes that Becky wants a clean break, no alimony, nothing like that. Richard notes he doesn’t let things of his get away. Really bizarre watching NIELSON not be supported by springy boing sounds and going full force with menace. It’s WORKING too. He’s genuinely creepy the second he steps on screen.
– Richard briefly plays a taped recording of Becky begging for help. Harry has to go with Richard or Becky will be no more. Suspense!
– It’s also worth noting that it’s slightly off putting watching Danson act like a normal person and not trying to nail 2 twin super models as he tries to win back his bar in the same night without Rebecca finding out.
– We come to the beach. Oh right, tide. Pun on the starboard bow! RAMMING SPEED MISTAH CHEKOV OR WHATEVER.
– Has LESLIE NIELSON always looked like he was in his late 60’s? It’s a good look, even with the bizarre sweater-hoody combo he’s rocking.
– Richard takes Harry to a quiet spot on the beach and we find a shovel and a deep hole. Richard pulls out a gun and tells him to jump in the hole, which comes to Harry’s neck. Good eye based estimation of how deep the hole needs to be. Richard tells Harry to begin burying himself. Ewwwww.
– Harry begins screaming for help, but Richard notes he owns all of the surrounding area and begins screaming along with him. LESLIE NIELSON is good at his chosen profession, I must say. Needs more farty sounds though.
– Richard finishes the burial of Harry with just the head exposed and begins setting up a television set. NIELSON’S warped whimsy filled manner of speaking is tremendous. He hooks everything necessary up and the TV comes to life. Becky is buried further up the beach and the water is coming in on her.
– Richard says some more vile morbid shit and then tells Harry if he can keep his cool, he’ll make it. Then he leaves. Excellent scoring to the scene too, I might add. Very Carpenter’esque. I am just enjoying myself, despite the fact that it’s 98 degrees outside and my shorts smell like old mayo.
– Back at home, Richard turns on his equipment to get a nice bird’s eye view of the mayhem. He’s having what looks like a quadruple vodka on the rocks. A quadruple! Try ordering that at a bar, they’ll taser you out of general principle.
– Right before the tide finally swallows him, Harry looks in the camera and promises Richard he’s going to get him. This leads to a beautifully executed shot of Danson submerged under water.
– Later, Richard goes to clean up. Something has gnawed through the wires of his TV and recording equipment, but Richard assures himself it was just the current and not the horrific undead embodiments of vengeance. It’s a fair assumption.
– That night, Richard has the heebie jeebies. He actually says the line “No need to get jumpy! They all go blub blub blub blub” and I nod in agreement. By the way, his bathtub has a shag green carpet on the sides of it once again reminding us that the lat 70’s and early 80’s had a massive and yet touchingly poignant cocaine problem.
– Richard hops in the shower and begins hearing things coming from his living room. Probably those living dead corpses shuffling through or maybe just the AC kicked on. You never know anymore with how loud air conditioning units have gotten.
– Richard doesn’t even get that far into the investigation before the seaweed, water logged corpses of Harry and Becky stumble in. Genuinely unsettling stuff. Richard even gets a head shot off and that does nothing. Richard goes down like a man should by unloading all of his ammo into them and then chunking the god damn gun. This unfortunately does nothing, shockingly.
– Good jump scare, as Richard locks himself in a room and turns around to run, only to be greeted face to face by their drooling maws. And by “good jump scare”, I mean I just dropped my soda and squeaked.
– Richard begins to crack up as the zombies begin chanting “If you can hold your breath” at him. We jump to Richard buried up to his neck at the beach and him screaming “I can hold my breath FOR A LONNNNNNG TIME”. That ends our story and LESLIE NIELSON is even more awesome than previously thought. Really great one man show by him here.
– The Crate is up to bat and if you saw this movie as a child, you just shifted uncomfortably in your chair. Original sentence for this? If you saw this movie as a child, you just shitted uncomfortably in your chair.
– We start out with an older janitor guy flipping coin and losing it in the storage under the stairs. Foreboding coins flips and you.
– We cut to a party and drunken ass Billie is humiliating her husband. She may be drunk, abusive and harpy like, but she probably gives it up for anal. Might take a liter of Evan Williams, a pack of Marlboro lights and a sleep aid, but one way or another, it will happen.
– Professor Stanley is buddies with poor Henry, husband of the Billie, and the janitor has gotten into contact with him. He informs the Professor the crate is from way back when and Stanley heads over to investigate. Stanley looks like he’d enjoy molesting your nephew.
– Henry has a quick fantasy sequence about blowing Billie’s brains out at the party and let it be said that not enough films have standing ovations after the gratuitous murder of a mouthy lady. Women’s rights. PFFFF. Shoot em in the head, The Bible and I say.
– Sadly, we haven’t found a way to translate fantasy land into the real world, so Billie continues to be Queen Of the Harpies in our reality. We are going to get some misogynistic revenge and a part of you (the part that makes up all of you) loves it.
– Back at the school, cannon fodder janitor and Stanley drag the crate out from under the stairs. They share significant glances too. All I can help but wonder is how the hell did someone just not notice the massive crate for the past 70 years, but I am drinking a Miller High Life so what in the fuck do I know?
– Good God, another scene of Billie being a hag to Henry. She keeps asking him “What would you do without me?” He needs to check this bitch or some equally horrifying hip hop term that translates roughly to “Hit your wife.”
– At the school, Stanley and the Janitor who is sure to continue living after this scene pry open the crate. Some goofy cutesy noises come out. The janitor screams “Hey! It looks like a couple a emeralds!” and then proceeds to get absolutely destroyed by some giant headed Satanic Arctic monkey monster. What a shitty last sentence for a 60 year old janitor. He’s wasted his life buffing floors, probably has a small meth habit, smashes through a 24 pack a night and his kids don’t call. And on top of all that, some damned crate from the 1830’s was housing a killing machine that went a head and finished him off. God really sticks it in and breaks it off sometimes.
– Professor Stanley runs into his graduate student, Charlie in the hall and Stanley tries to explain it to him. Meanwhile, the Crate Monster pushes his house back under the stairs. Crate Monster and me, we got a lot in common, we both sleep for upwards of 60 years, we like dark cramped places, we overeat and we treasure our times at home. I like him!
– Charlie ain’t buying what Stanley is saying, but once he finds the holocaust of blood, he can’t really argue anymore. Charlie does what anyone would do and immediately investigates. If a half drunk, raving man ever tells me to stay away from something, I think I’m going to go ahead and buy what he’s selling. I mean worst case scenario if I believe him is I just find out later he’s full of shit. And on cue, Charlie gets attacked. Throat ripping and face slashing finish up Charlie’s giant toddler body for good.
– Stanley runs like hell over to Henry’s and proceeds to get completely hammered as he explains his story. He’s still carrying the dead Janitor’s chewed up shoe on top of all of this, gesturing wildly with it. Stanley’s plan is to take it to a quarry and dump it. He should probably just call the cops and lock himself in his pantry.
– Uh Oh, Henry goes ahead and spikes Stanley’s drink. The wheels are turning. Henry makes his way up to the school and finds the splattered human remains so he goes about cleaning it up. See, this is why I could never carry out an elaborate plan, I’d see that mopping job before me and probably just let the fucking thing eat me.
– At Henry’s house, Henry has left Billie a note explaining that Stanley has gotten himself into some sort of sex scandal. He asks Billie to meet him out at the school to help handle the situation and the girl Stanley has seemingly anal blasted. Billie is all “Yeah! I’m shitfaced and going to help!”
– Billie arrives at the school and Henry tries to convince Billie to get under the stairs and help poor Stanley’s rape victim. They both chuckle a lot and apparently everyone is getting a little FRISKY. Rape will do that to you.
– Henry suddenly pounces on Billie and slams her into the crate a few times, screaming wake up as he goes. Nothing happens. Er…shit. Billie chews his ass out for one final time including noting Henry can’t get it up anymore. This information embarrasses the monster, forcing him to explode out of the crate and bite her face off. How romantic.
– Henry has bigger testicles than I, as he goes back and locks up the crate with a series of chains while it rages inside. Henry recounts his tale to Stanley. Impressive visual as Henry chunks that sucker off the side of a bank into the lake.
– Stanley agrees to keep Harry’s secret, but asks “What if it gets out?” Henry tells him to relax. Immediate smash cut to the fucker breaking out of his home and rising to the surface. Welp, can’t win em all I guess.
– Our final story for the evening is “They’re Creeping Up On You!” We go to a super white, super clean high tech apartment and the owner is bitching about the bugs. Oh and by “high tech”, I mean his computer can tell you the time and weigh over 300 pounds.
– Upson Pratt is our antagonist and he receives a phone call from one of his executives explaining things that I nodded off during. Oh apparently a rival has blown his fucking brains out. Pratt approves of this. I understand, I was pretty happy when Amy Winehouse passed, as I considered us natural enemies.
– More bug killing. A phone call from the dead man’s widow. She chews him out for contributing to his suicide. He responds in asshole like fashion.
– More people call, more Upson Pratt ass chewing. He does realize halfway through his dinner shake that it has roaches chewed up in it as well. Ew.
– Pratt and the maintenance guy have a nice shit talking conversation. The term “people of color” is used and I forgot how not interesting this story is.
– New York begins to go into a blackout and oh Dear God, thousands of roaches just begin pouring out of everywhere.
– Pratt panics and tries to call everyone he knows, but no one is available to be Superman. SINK FULL OF ROACHES.
– Pratt locks himself in some sort of chamber and gets another abusive phone call from the widow. More roaches in there sadly and that is pretty revolting to be fair.
– Hey! The power kicks back on. We see Pratt’s corpse and it’s jumping around a lot for a dead guy. And suddenly, a billion trillion bugs explode out of his mouth and chest. A victory for the working man! And that’s the end of that chapter.
– We cut back to our framing device and two trash men find the comic book that the kid’s Dad threw out. They notice an ad for the Voodoo doll has been cut out already. Dun Dun…DUNNNNNNN.
– Inside, drunk ass Tom Atkins is complaining of getting no sleep the night before because of his stiff neck. Upstairs, his kid is jabbing a voodoo doll with a needle and that’s what we end on. A child brutally murdering his father in front of his wife. Oh why not?
Final Thoughts: While the last story falls a little flat, the other 4 are excellent stuff and this is probably the 3rd best Romero outing on top of the fact that it’s one of the better King adaptations. It captures a certain spirit and features fine performances across the board plus the usual great FX stuff from Savini make this a certifiable classic. ****
Now here is George Romero looking like a happy puppy.