Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Castle Rock Companion - Creepshow (Halloween special!)

I decided to do something a little different this time to celebrate Halloween.  I hope you like it.


  1. This turned out awesome! :D

    Just watched the film yesterday and pretty much agree with your assessmemberment.

    "Father's Day" is the dud of the picture, not because the payoff isn't fun, but because it takes too damn long to get there while we're sitting around with these horrible people. It doesn't help that they open with it, and I wish they'd moved it or just axed it altogether (which would bring the 2 hour film down to an hour forty).

    "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" is a pleasant surprise. I went in expecting the worst from King, but he not only pulls off most of the goofy schtick pretty damn well, but makes me care about the character as I get caught up in his increasingly hopeless state. It also has some of the best effects of the set, with the great image of the barbed weeds.

    "Something to Tide You Over" is a great character-driven thriller, and a nice reminder of how strong an actor Leslie Nielsen was back in the days before he became typecast as a clown. My only issue is that the zombie finale is a bit much. If "Father's Day" had been cut, it would work better, but as it is, it feels like the film repeating itself. I would have preferred it had they gone the route of "The Ledge", with Danson's character narrowly surviving his predicament only to throw it back in the face of his captor.

    "The Crate". Yeah, that creature looks pretty bad, and I almost think it would work better to just leave it as this unseen horror pulling people into the darkness of it lair. It's still a great story, though, with Hal Holbrook being especially chilling as his plan comes together and plays out. I also like that he actually gets away with it in the end.

    "They're Creeping Up on You" took a little while for me to get into it, but wow was it a squirmy little chiller once the power went out.

    The framing story is also a lot of fun, especially the payoff and Tom Savini's cameo. Overall, it's a fun film. I think it does run a bit too long, with "Father's Day" being the fat they could have dropped (I'd then re-order it "Creeping", "Tide", "Jordy", then "Crate"). And while Tom Savini is great at violence makeup, he's never been as strong when it comes to creature effects, as evidenced here by the crate beast and the brief Creeper puppet we get to see outside the boy's window. The comic book flourishes don't entirely work for me, either, especially the closeups of horrified faces against a colored background. They take me out of the moment more than they enhance it.

    But still, an enjoyable Halloween flick. Looking forward to watching 2. Then making myself watch 3. :)

    1. The similarities between "Something to Tide You Over" and "The Ledge" are so striking that I largely expected it to play out like you described. King has a habit of repeating himself like that.. or if you want to be more generous "revisiting themes." There's another story with an adulterous relationship in Creepshow 2 as well!

      I managed to get all the way through "They're Creeping Up on You" the first time I watched the film. When I revisited it for this review (maybe about a year later?) I had to turn it off. Of course, I also shriek loudly whenever I see a live roach in my house and generally spray the shit out of them because I'm so afraid that if I attempt to stomp them they might have wings and I'll miss. So the short is pretty much my worst fear brought to life. :)

      I have a feeling they realized that the film was a little too long themselves, since 2 contains only three shorts.

  2. I love the movie, but I totally agree that "Father's Day" is the weakest. I think that it might have actually been my very first exposure to Stephen King, though. When the movie came out, I was about eight. One day, I went to the grocery store with my mom, and did what I always did: went to the magazines and read comics while she shopped. Well, on this occasion, I picked up the comic-book version of "Creepshow," and started flipping through it, and landed on the panel in which Nathan Grantham is proudly holding up his "birthday cake."

    Words cannot express how horrified I was by this.

    I was a wussy of a kid anyways, but this little incident kind of wrecked me.

    I had no idea what I was reading, of course, but years later, after becoming a massive King fan in high school, I started buying all of his books. It took me a while to find the "Creepshow" comic, but eventually I did. I sat down to read it, and when I got to the panel I'd seen so many years ago, I recognized it, and almost fell out of my seat! I'd always remembered the comic -- that one panel, at least -- but had no clue what it was. So imagine the thrilled horror to discover that it had been the work of my new favorite writer!

    Pretty cool.

    Also pretty cool: the fact that the little kid in the opening/closing segments is Stephen King's son, Joe. Under the name Joe Hill, he's gone on to become a hugely successful horror writer i his own right. I highly recommend his novels ("Heart-Shaped Box," "Horns," and "NOS4A2") and comics ("Locke & Key"), as well as his short-story collection, "20th Century Ghosts," which is one of the best collections I've ever read.

    1. My first exposure to King as a child was the final segment of Cat's Eye, which was far less scarring. :)

      I kept meaning to go back and add in to this review that it was Joe playing Billy, and yet forgot to do so. NOS4A2 is definitely on my list of books I want to read soon, I've heard so many good things about it.

    2. Should've brought my copy of Creepshow for him to sign when I met him. Aww nuts.

      And yes, you need NOS4A2 in your life. Like, immediately.

  3. +JMJ+

    I finally watched this and regret not doing it on Halloween itself. What a fun way to keep things fresh! =D

    It has been a long time since I last watched Creepshow, but I remember my reactions to it quite vividly. I was also really bored by Father's Day, but then Jordy Verrill really impressed me--reminding me more of Ray Bradbury than Stephen King's own writing, to tell you the truth. Unfortunately, I was really distracted by memories of The Naked Gun when watching Something to Tide You Over: I kept expecting Leslie Nielsen to do something comical. =P The Crate is another good story, too, but probably suffered from being fourth. Finally, you may find this hard to believe, but I wasn't too creeped out by They're Creeping Up on You!

    Perhaps it's because of the time the apartment under mine did some fumigating and all their cockroaches (my brothers and I counted thirty-three in all!!!) suddenly came into our apartment through the drain in the kitchen floor. (Are you feeling faint yet? LOL!) Luckily, we were in the kitchen at the time and were able to isolate them before they scattered all over our home! A lot of bug spray and some enthusiastic stomping ended the infestation as soon as it began--and then we duct taped the drain so we could go to bed that night. But having lived through that, I can't be very impressed by the movie . . . despite its having a hundred times as many invaders!

    1. I would have been screaming had I been in the kitchen with you! But I can see how that kind of confrontation could lead to you being desensitized. My first apartment was pretty heavily infested so that I saw them more frequently and I got through it by calling myself "Angie the Roach Slayer" and pretending I was Buffy staking teeny tiny vampires. :)


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