The Movie Waffler Blu-Ray Review - Creepshow (1982) | The Movie Waffler

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Blu-Ray Review - Creepshow (1982)

George Romero's anthology shocker arrives on UK Blu-Ray from Second Sight Films.

Directed by: George A Romero
Starring: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, E.G. Marshall, Ted Danson, Ed Harris


Take one iconic director of the macabre and the most famous horror writer of all time and get them working on an adaptation of 'The Stand', a massive sweeping epic of fantasy and horror, guaranteed to be one of the big releases of the eighties. Time and circumstances unfortunately did not work out for Romero and Stephen King, who instead decided to collaborate on a horror anthology in the spirit of the ghoulishly funny EC comics of the fifties.
King wrote and adapted five stories. A murdered father who wants his cake. A hick farmer who discovers a meteorite that will make him green with envy. A husband planning an elaborate revenge on his wife and her lover. A mysterious crate containing an ancient beast. And finally a Scrooge like millionaire with a Howard Hughes style disdain for germs and bugs. All of this with a wraparound tale concerning a small child and the titular comic book Creepshow.
Anthology films have always been something of a curate’s egg, the advantage being that if one tale doesn’t grab you another one is just around the corner. The down side is that they have a tendency to be lightweight and glib. 'Creepshow' suffers from this as much as the best of them, although in its defense the sarcastic tone and moralistic, almost biblical judgement meted out to its villains is very much in keeping with the vilified comic originals that inspired it. 'Creepshow' saves its best work for the final two stories - “The Crate” and “They’re Creeping Up On You”; these are the works that both embrace and transcend the comic book style that Romero aims for. The others are works of pastiche, little more than anecdotes with a ghoulish punchline, perfectly emulating the EC format but somehow lacking as cinema.
“The Crate” has a henpecked husband finding an innovative way of offing his harridan of a wife and “They’re Creeping Up On You” is an entomophobe's worst nightmare, a near perfect blend of comedy and horror.
If the tales may be slight the style and panache in which these tales are told is a marvel. Art designed to within an inch of its life, it perfectly replicates the panels of a comic book, using heightened pop art backgrounds during scenes of horror, lit in the primary colors of the medium. It’s a staggering achievement for a movie of this budget and vintage; 'Sin City' is the only film that has been able to match its comic panel effect; this however has more style than that dramatically inert gallery piece.
Romero also has the benefit of working with quality actors for the first time. If the sight of Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen is somewhat disconcerting to a modern audience because of their later comedic baggage, they still understand the heightened level required to sell their performances. Ed Harris may have little to do but freak out to some oh so eighties disco tunes and die, but it’s still nice to see such an intense actor having fun. The sterling work comes from the old guard of Hal Holbrook and E.G Marshall that give the whole enterprise a sheen of class, playing it just big enough but never falling into caricature. Adrienne Barbeau also deserves a mention, playing a wife so loathsome you can understand why her husband would want to feed her to an Arctic monkey monster.
This is in many ways a perfect Halloween film, just grizzly enough without being mean spirited. A film that prides itself on good-natured scares and fun; it’s the movie equivalent of going trick or treating. The only true horror here is the acting performance of Stephen King as the title character in “The Lonely Death of Jordy Verrill”; luckily his son, future novelist Joe Hill, is a marginal improvement, enjoying himself more as the wronged kid in the prologue and epilogue.
Enjoy it then for its creepy score and sense of fun, get some friends round with some drinks and high sugar treats and remember the fun that can be had watching a horror movie. King has drunk from the anthology well many times since but has never bettered his first team up with Romero.

Extras

A beautiful transfer and sound in DTS 5:1 and 2:0 are enough to be worth the upgrade. This also has a feast of extras, the most noticeable being the feature length retrospective on the making of the film; this includes reminisces from George Romero, Tom Savini, Bernie Wrightson and John Harrison. Even Ed Harris makes an appearance. The only notable omission is that of King himself. 
On top of that you also get two audio commentaries: one with Romero and special effects genius Tom Savini, the other with actor John Amplas, Cinematographer Michael Gornick and other crew members. 
On a more minor note you get some deleted scenes which don’t add a whole lot to the film, some b roll footage of Tom Savini at work plus a TV spot and trailer. 
To cap it all off there is also an extensive stills gallery that is divided up into multiple chapters. 
On the whole, an impressively comprehensive package that no self respecting fan of Romero and King should be without.
7/10


Jason Abbey

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