Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: Creepshow 1982

Creepshow 1982
Director: George Romero
Writer: Stephen King
Starring Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Carrie Nye, E.G. Marshall, Viveca Lindfors, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Stephen King, Tom Atkins, Tom Savini and Gaylen Ross

The horror anthology has long been a favorite style of horror fiction and horror films for me. From classics like Tales from the Crypt and the Amicus anthologies of the 60's and 70's, all the way to modern films like Tales From the Hood and Trick R Treat. Creepshow though, is by far my favorite of these films. A no brainer collaboration between Stephen King and George Romero, this film does everything right. The way the film actually looks like a E.C. comic and the great performances really puts this film a step above all other anthologies. The way romero uses over exaggerated lighting and sound effects really makes the stories come to life and leave a definite impression on your mind. The effects in the film are mind blowing too, with by far the best rotting and walking corpse I have ever seen in a film. The stories are quick and too the point and never stay around any longer than is needed toe have the viewer get the point. The framing sequence too, is one of the best in a anthology film and it goes full circle at the end, making it it's own story.
The plot basics are this, A father (Atkins) is punishing his son for reading a grisly horror comic, and as he leaves the comic seems to come to life. The first story involves a anniversary party of the killing of a rich old miser, who was killed by his eldest daughter (Lindfors), but he rises to enact bloody revenge. Next we meet Jordy Verrill (King), a country hick who discovers a meteor and finds that his contact with it is transforming him. Next, we meet Harry Wentworth (Danson), who is having a illicit love affair with the wife (Ross) of Richard Vickers (Nielsen). Vickers discovers this and plots a wicked revenge that comes back to bite him. Next we meet a college professor (Weaver) who has a friend (Holbrook) who he plays chess with and is enduring a brow beating wife (Barbeau). He discovers a crate in his lab, which contains a carnivorous beast and he comes to his friend for aid, and he decides to use it to do away with his nagging wife. Finally, we meet Upson Pratt (Marshall), a business mogul who is cutthroat and a recluse, living in his climate controlled penthouse. It seems he has a bug problem and it seems they are trying to overtake him, but will they?
This is an exceptional film and one of my all time favorite horror films. The direction by Romero is flawless. He conveys the mood of each story perfectly and uses the lighting and music to really heighten the mood and really gets the viewer to feel the way he wants them to feel. The script by King is no different, each story is very tight and as minimalistic as possible. These kind of horror stories were always more about the plots than the characters and that works to the films advantage. All the characters are very overblown and melodramatic and are a delight to watch. The ensemble cast is excellent, Barbeau and Marshall are probably the 2 biggest scene stealers in the film. Barbeau as the nagging wife Billie in "The Crate" is a delight and you really hate her and want to see her meet her vicious end. Marshall as the caricature of Howard Hughes is great as well, he chews every scene of his with great relish and the viewer definitely cheers when he gets his due. The SFX and effects by Tom Savini is amazing. The walking corpse of Nathan Grantham and the creature in "The Crate" are the 2 high points of the film and in all of horror films in general.. The final ingredient in this great film is the score by John Harrison, which personally is my favorite horror film score. It just sets the playful and eerie mood of the film perfectly and I am always humming it for days after I watch the film again. This is a perfect horror anthology and one of the best films by both Romero and King.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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