Review: Creepshow / Cert: 15 / Director: George A. Romero / Screenplay: Stephen King / Starring: Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Stephen King, E.G. Marshall / Release Date: October 28th
Inspired by the popular, lurid EC horror comics of the 1950s and 1960s, George Romero’s Creepshow – five unconnected gaudy horror stories courtesy of Stephen King – just about stands the test of time where other 1980s film crumble under the weight of their cast’s mullets and painfully dated pounding synthesiser soundtracks. 31 years has diluted its impact as a horror movie though – this is largely campy stuff – but its primary-colour comic book framing device (reflected in the eye-catching DVD cover) effectively strings together King’s typically ramshackle stories to create a generally enjoyable, if uneven, whole.
Things get off to a slightly underwhelming start with the first two short stories. Father’s Day is a silly and inconsequential tale which sees Romero return to his familiar zombie stomping ground as a formidable old patriarch lurches crumbling from the grave to exact fearful vengeance upon his family, and in The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, King embarrasses himself with his gurning portrayal of a country bumpkin farmer who has a close encounter with a fallen meteorite which releases alien goo which slowly turns him into living vegetation. Fortunately things start to perk up with Something to Tide You Over, in which Leslie Neilsen gives an uncharacteristically sinister performance as a cuckolded husband exacting a terrible watery revenge upon his wife and her lover (played by a young Ted Danson). The Crate sees college Professor Henry Northrup (Halbrook) discover a ravenous beast in a long-lost crate which he later uses to rid himself of his bitchy, nagging younger wife (Barbeau). So far, so tepid, but the final yarn, They’re Creeping Up On You, still makes the flesh crawl as E.G. Marshall’s obsessive, reclusive company boss finds himself waging war against cockroaches which find a way into his sterile, isolated sanctuary.
Creepshow is of its time, naturally. Tom Savini’s make-up effects are colourfully ghoulish but the horror content is remarkably tame; despite all its gore and blood-letting, The Crate is undermined by its silly, far-from-freaky imprisoned snarling monster and, apart from the naturally repugnant cockroaches of the last story, only the watery zombies of Something To Tide Me Over elicit the occasional chill due to the way Romero presents them as shambling, creeping, relentless harbingers of death. It’s a bitty and uneven collection, but Creepshow, pinpoint sharp in this new Second Sight Blu-ray release, is still good fun guaranteed to provide safe shivers for horror novices this Halloween season.
Extras: Two commentaries / ‘Making of’ documentary / Behind the Screams featurette / Deleted scenes / Trailers / TV spot / Gallery