‘Creepshow’: A Hidden Halloween Classic


Film on Paper

The British poster for ‘Creepshow’ showcases the ghoulish mascot and the iconic tagline. Image courtesy of Film on Paper.

Oliver Barnfield, Video Editor

Sometimes movies don’t have one story. In fact, they may have several. Because of the fragmented nature of their narratives, anthology films are a bit of a mixed bag. Since each story is unconnected from the rest and must work on its own, most of them have some highlights, leaving the rest to be forgettable. For instance, 1975’s Trilogy of Terror suffers from two boring opening stories and an excellent final one. Creepshow is among one of the few, however, that continually hits. Creepshow is a 1982 anthology movie directed by George Romero, the acclaimed mastermind behind Night of the Living Dead and written by Stephen King, who happens to be my favorite author. Creepshow is presented in a unique style, with a distinct comic book aesthetic. Scene transitions are animated like the turning of a comic book page, and abstract backgrounds appear behind characters when something strange happens. These elements give the film an interesting visual flair that brings it a head above other movies of its ilk. But what about the indivual segments themselves? Well, let’s take a look.

Segment One: Fathers Day

The opening short of this film starts Creepshow out on a good note, although the story is fairly predictable. A family reunion is interrupted by the reanimated corpse of a dead relative, and the results are to be expected. The design of the corpse is very well done, made by special effects master Tom Savini. As with the rest of the film, there’s some light comedy in this scene, mostly coming from the flamboyant Richard and the very droll Sylvia, who tells the story of her father’s murder in a very nondescript way. 

Segment Two: The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill is the most comedic of all the stories here, and it centers around Stephen King himself, who plays a country bumpkin named Jordy Verill. Verill encounters a meteor that causes his skin to turn into grass and weeds, which is pretty horrifying. While not as scary as some of the other segments, the central performance by King is surprisingly strong and it succeeds in its goal of being a fun and lighthearted horror tale. 

Segment Three: Something to Tide You Over

The creepiest and best of all the stories told in Creepshow is this tight and suspenseful tale of revenge. Leslie Nielsen plays a vengeful man who decides to punish his adulterous wife and her lover by burying them in the sand while a tide rolls in. Of course, he later comes to regret this, as a supernatural twist causes the tables to turn. I find this segment to be the best because of its well-executed suspense sequences, and despite Nielsen’s presence, it actually mixes the horror and humor together perfectly. It is everything horror should be: atmospheric and scary but also fun and silly when it needs to be.

Segment Four: The Crate

The Crate is usually cited as the film’s high point, but I actually like this one the least. It’s fine, but it’s the longest segment here, and it certainly feels like it. Scenes drag on for a while and don’t have scares or that comic book flair to back them up. The Crate, while not bad by any means, is the only story included that I feel could be changed in any way. The pace feels very slow at times, with a plodding score and uninteresting characters. The effects are good but the story is too long to justify them.

Segment Five: They’re Creeping Up on You

The final segment in Creepshow is also the most terrifying. If you’re scared of bugs, this segment is not for you. Even scarier is that every scene here was filmed with real life cockroaches, making this one of the most disgusting vignettes in horror film history. Like Jordy Verill, it concerns a man who is under attack by an invading force, but Creeping is the only segment to not feature anything supernatural. Instead, everything is within the realm of possibility, making the yuck factor even more palpable. It may not be for those who are scared of creepy crawlies because it sure did scare me.

Creepshow is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and deserves to be recognized among the titans of the genre. With a Halloween setting, it is a must-watch for the spookiest season of the year.