I had not seen Creepshow in at least fifteen years prior to watching it the other night. When I was eight years old, two of the segments were the most terrifying things I could imagine in all the world, but now I realize that the entire film is purposely over the top and ridiculous because it pays homage to horror comics of the fifties. Even though I enjoy the movie more as an adult, those two segments that scared the pants off me as a child (yet didn’t stop me from watching the movie every time it aired on HBO) are now my favorite segments. My reacquaintance with Creepshow may even get me to feature more anthologies here on the blog, although they aren’t usually my favorite horror film format.
I also can see now that the merger of George Romero and Stephen King’s talents is still a huge moment in horror history, although eight year old me was only aware of Stephen King. Looking back from 2013, I wonder if this movie is as popular now as it was then, because it surely represents one of the best movies that either of them were ever directly involved with. I like it, obviously, since I’m classifying it as one of the 80s Essentials, but I’m not known for my taste. Often what others rave about eludes me, while people give me a hard time for the things I hold dear, artistically speaking.
So while I’m a little embarrassed to admit which segments scared me so badly and why, I’ll do it, since I’ve made such a big deal about it. ”Father’s Day” had me sleeping with the covers over my head from 82-83 ish until about the time my son was born over twenty years later, because I had to make sure I didn’t hear that old man somewhere in the night saying he wanted his cake. That is, if I didn’t hear that kid from The Changeling asking for his medal, another early aural trauma. Obviously I had to stop covering my ears to sleep once I had to listen out for a baby, since we’ve already established in my review of Insidious 2 that I was too freaked out by ambient sounds to use a baby monitor. Not only that, but somehow the sight of the old guy’s corpse, which I only saw between the cracks of my fingers as they covered my eyes, but which looked crusty and bubbly like a pecan pie in the oven, somehow got mixed up with the head cake on the platter at the end of the story, nearly putting me off of baked goods, I kid you not. Now this section of the film is all kinds of awesome, although Ed Harris looks pretty silly disco dancing.
And the other one was the segment where Leslie Nielsen devises a particularly cruel but clever method of punishment for his cheating wife and her lover, only to have their seaweed covered corpses reanimate and get him. This, I think, was the reason I never found the Naked Gun movies to be all that funny. Now, I still think it was an ingenious kill scene, if still very harsh, but undead Ted Danson and his lady friend don’t pack the same punch.
But I always thought the other three stories were funny, especially the one with Stephen King saying “shit” a lot and getting all mossy. The guy with the roaches got exactly what he deserved, and the Tasmanian devil sequence, well, that just activated my bloodlust, I suppose. It also explains why I regard Hal Holbrook as sort of a life-long friend; every time I see him in a movie or on TV I’m always kind of like, “Oh, there you are,” though I’d forgotten why until my rewatch the other night.
I don’t know how you will feel if you are an adult now who has never seen Creepshow and decides to watch it now, but my opinion stands: this is classic 80s must-see horror, for the cast, the fun, the kinder-scares, the nights of watching whatever came on after 8 o’clock on HBO, and the pairing of Romero and King at the top of their games.
What were some of the movies that scared the bejesus out of you as a young horror fiend?
Bonus video: OMG! Reader Richard L. shared this clip of Ed Harris dancing on the Deep Red Rum Facebook page! Thanks Richard!