FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Oct 14, 2007

Day 14- "I never saw such rotten crap in my life."

One of my most truly favoritest movies in the whole wide world ever is the 1982 anthology classic Creepshow. I've seen this film so many times I could probably annoy you with quotes and reenactments all day long- because I'm just that cool. It's merely a runner-up to my Willies List (though I did spot it on the official nominee list, so yay to whoever nominated it), but only because at this point in my life there are other films that scare me much much more than this one does. But when I was a kid? This movie was the shit- and throughout it there are several different types of scares...it's like a Willies Variety Pack, y'all, like one of those big packages comprising all those little cereal boxes.

It was always such a treat when mom brought one of those home from the grocery store, because I could act all independent and choose my own cereal and shit...I could cast off the shackles of having to eat out of the big box, you know? I could be like "Fuck this Kix shit- I want Fruity Pebbles!" and have my own little portion. Like, revolution wherever you can get it, man.

But seriously, I can't believe that the Kix slogan alludes to the fact that children might actually enjoy that stuff because it is ga-ross with a capital nasty. Really, it's vile...like, why don't I just eat the box it comes in, too?

What? They don't sponsor this site, so fuck them. That's right, you heard me- fuck them. Kix can take a flying leap for all I care, that shit sucks.

Wow, I'm feeling sassy and sweary today, what with the giving it to the breakfast cereals I don't like and the such. Don't push me today!

Okay, but seriously for reals this time, Creepshow. What doesn't it have? Get a load of some of the goodness in this film:

* a zombie clawing his way out of the grave- which, incidentally, you don't often see even in zombie-centric movies (Father's Day)


*killer moss from outer space (The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill)

*waterlogged zombies returning from the sea (Something to Tide You Over)

*hungry monsters with 438695 teeth (The Crate)

*more cockroaches than you can imagine (They're Creeping Up On You)

*pissed off little kids getting their voodoo on (the wraparound story)

I mean, come on. There's got to be something in this movie that gives you the willies. And if that's not all enough for you, Creepshow also boasts Ed Harris getting down to some disco, E.G. Marshall sporting some sweet hair, more foul language than you can shake a stick at (which absolutely thrilled young me), and plenty of blood, guts, and humor.

Creepshow is a love letter from writer Stephen King and director George Romero to both EC Comics and horror films of the past (note: the housekeeper in Father's Day is named Mrs. Danvers...)- any of these stories would easily have fit in any issue of Tales from the Crypt or The Haunt of Fear. Romero provides the visuals that make the film feel more like a comic book than most films actually based on comic books- he incorporates graphics, bright colors, and comic book imagery seamlessly into each story.

Even the sound is superior in Creepshow, particularly the voices of all the zombies. There's truly a difference between what a body sounds like with water in his throat, with dirt in his throat, or alien plant life- who knew? And the music, please. If the spooky, quirky score isn't good enough for you, there's always that disco track.

There are some great actors in this film, from Fritz Weaver to Tom Atkins to Hal Holbrook to Viveca Lindfors to the aforementioned E.G. Marshall and so on...even Stephen King himself puts in a fine comedic performance as poor old Jordy Verrill. Everyone is just shy of being too over-the-top to make the film campy; as it is, they all react with enough gusto, however, to let the audience in on the joke just a bit.

In addition to being one of my favorite films, Creepshow also boasts one of my favorite characters in any film, which just so happens to be my favorite performance by one of my favorite actors: Adrienne Barbeau as Wilma in The Crate (see all those "favorites"? variety pack!).

Ah, Wilma, that loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed boozehound shrew. Seriously, I could go on and on all day about Wilma. I love her! Not only does Barbeau, who obviously relished the role, deliver every line with a drunken sneer ("I know all the best stores."; "Oh, that was great Henry. That was just great."), she adds all these little touches that I adore; watch her extend her arms dramatically when the crate monster attacks her, or my favorite (there's that word again), when she's driving to Amberson Hall and a car driving behind her big battle wagon honks its horn. She eases from inebriated amusement to inebriated irritation flawlessly, and it's hilarious.

I know that my love of Creepshow led to my unadulterated love of anthology films, though none has surpassed this one, in my eyes. It also led to my unadulterated love of the word "fuckadiddle"- now that's a movie, folks!

16 comments:

Jonathan Lapper said...

"Just tell him to call you Wilma." I love this movie! But oh shit those roaches at the end just make me want to vomit. I mean, goddamn, when they start covering him up completely at the end and then crawl out of his mouth - Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!

So anyway, I cut a huge brain fart and left this one off my list. Nice write up. Thanks.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Oh my god I totally fucked up the line: "Just tell him to call you Billie." I've got to stop commenting before I take my medication.

The Retropolitan said...

This is totally unrelated, but have you ever seen the TV-movie "The Midnight Hour"?

Stacie Ponder said...

...have you ever seen the TV-movie "The Midnight Hour"?

I can't say that I have. But if it's this one, it's now on my list of must sees. Peter DeLuise and Dedee Pfeiffer? How can you lose?

Repoman said...

I can't deny this is my favorite Romero film. Not his best or his most enjoyable, but my favorite. I saw it as a kid on cable and it made me laugh and scared me under my covers (surprise, it was the roaches).

The one thing you didn't mention was the music. This is one creepy soundtrack. Again, a little over the top but not enough to make you laugh and spoil the mood.

This and "Scream" got the balance just right. They're going to have some fun with the horror genre, wink at those in the know, and scare you...all at once.

Stacie Ponder said...

"The one thing you didn't mention was the music."

Admittedly, it's not in depth, but...

"And the music, please. If the spooky, quirky score isn't good enough for you, there's always that disco track."

Overall, this and NotLD are my two favorite Romero flicks. You can just feel the enthusiasm and love from Romero- and everyone- in Creepshow- it's wonderful. And rare.

Bob Turnbull said...

Not much more to add, but I'll show some additional appreciation for "Creepshow". It didn't quite make my Top 31 either, but if I was simply making that list on most entertaining Horror movies then it would have.

That hand coming up through the grave scared the beegeezus out of me - easily the second most scary moment of the film. Scariest? Ed Harris dancing to disco...I'm actually curling up into the fetal position as I think about that...

Along with the great acting (Leslie Nielsen), fun almost over-the-top stuff (the aforementioned Adrienne Barbeau), there's also plenty of pretty bad acting too. That kid in the wraparound story was simply awful. As was Ed Harris' wife. Actually Ed wasn't exactly a bright light either.

But it's all part of a great package. The comic strip additions were just spot on perfect.

Damn, now I wish I had included it in my top submissions. At least it made the final vote...

The Retropolitan said...

"Midnight Hour" is my favorite Halloween movie of all time. I'll be doing a write-up soon.

melizer said...

You can't know how lucky you are. I was not allowed to see movies like this at home until I moved out, and we never had cable.

I resourcefully made friends with a girl who lived right next to school that had cable (and a Apple IIc!) scared myself silly with this one.

For me, it was the drowned zombies that gave me a fright, but being buried up to the neck in sand still scares me.

Neil Sarver said...

Count me in as another who wasn't allowed to see this for a while. So I had to suffice my understanding of it by reading the comic adaptation, drawn by the great Bernie Wrightson, nearly every day at the bookstore... those clerks must've hated me.

It's another that just slipped off mine. Partly because I only allowed myself one Romero movie. On the final voting, I may allow myself a second and even that will probably be Martin. Man, could I love him more?

CampBlood said...

That's right. Just call her Billie... Everyone does...

I love Creepshow & I would definitely agree that it is also my fave performance by Ms. Barbeau.

Piper said...

I recently took a shot at this movie mostly due to its tagline "the most fun you'll ever have being scared" which felt a bit like an apology to me, but this is a great movie. And Stacie you're right on about how Romero shot this like a comic book. Ang Lee got praise for The Hulk, but he didn't come close to shooting it as well as this.

The other thing I love about this movie is the use of lights. Red lights make water look like blood. It was brilliant. We had a heat lamp in my parent's bathroom and I used to go in there, turn on the red light and then fill my mouth with water and let it trickle down my chin. Oh wait, I look like a geek now. Oh well, it was fun.

I also shot a short film in school based largely on the the doctor scenes from The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.

Evidently, the use of Barbeau as the loud mouth drunk was a friendly shot at Carpenter who was married to her at the time.

chuckwilson said...

Stacie, you forgot the blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Gaylen Ross. Loved her in Madman and Dawn of the Dead.

Stacie Ponder said...

I can't believe Gaylen even agreed to this film- she was either buried up to her neck having water thrown in her face, or she was in many hours worth of zombie makeup. She must really love Romero! What a trooper.

JJ said...

"The kid in the wraparound story is just awful" -- Bob

That's "Heart Shaped Box" author Joe Hill King!

I had a chance to speak to George Romero about Creepshow and he said that no less then Micheal Powell was a big, big fan of this film; that he liked quite a few of Romero's films, but Creepshow was his favorite. And it meant a lot to George, who is a major fan of Powell's work. It makes perfect sense, too, when you think about it: Creepshow has two major stylistic influences, EC Comics and Powell / Pressberger.

Martin Scorsese likes Creepshow too, apparently.

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

creepshow is one of my favorite movies also. I love that movie.