Horror anthology movies are nothing knew, they’ve been around for a long time, off the top of my head I can think of three I’m a big fan of, Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors (1965), Tales From The Darkside: The Movie (1990) and Trick ‘r’ Treat (2007), but if you’re a fan of horror comics and/or the EC horror comics of the 40s/50s in particular you won’t find a better horror anthology in honoring the tone and even the look of those comics than Creepshow (1982).
I can no longer recall if I ever saw the trailer or the TV commercial for it when it was coming out, but I do remember my first exposure to it through Fangoria. I had a friend in grade school named Rob Ames and one day he started bringing Fangoria to school. I remember those early 80s issues because of the gore they showed, and I remember the issue with Creepshow in it. They covered the film in issues #17, 18, 19, 20 and 22 (below, left to right). Sadly I no longer remember when I first saw it on cable, only knowing it was in the early 80s when we first got HBO and Spotlight, and that I enjoyed it.
For the uninformed Creepshow is a horror anthology with five short tales in it titled, Father’s Day, The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verill, Something To Tide You Over, The Crate and They’re Creeping Up On You. The last one is the only one I’ve never been a real fan of. I watch it, of course, whenever I put the movie on, but it’s not a favorite. The Crate has always been my favorite because it’s about a vicious, hairy monster that lives in a crate and eats people. The movie is bookended by the story of a kid who owns the Creepshow comic and through his introduction to “The Creep,” we are thus hurled into the various stories. Billy has an abusive father played by Tom Atkins who gets his comeuppance in the end via a voodoo doll he ordered from the comic. Incidentally, Billy was played by Stephen King’s son, Joe. Why him? Because King and horror director, George Romero, were the prime movers in getting this movie created. King wrote the screenplay and played Jordy Verill, while Romero directed. There’s a third behind-the-scenes mover in this tale too, FX artist, Tom Savini, who was key in creating the iconic horrors.
When Creepshow was released in the UK in 2007 it trumped our domestic release by miles. It was a 2-disc special edition. Here we have only ever had the movie and its trailer on disc. That’s it. But for the UK there was an actual feature length documentary made called, Just Desserts: The Making Of Creepshow and it ran about as long as the movie itself. This was the brainchild of documentarian and Red Shirt Pictures owner, Michael Felsher, who is a very big fan of the ficm and do get this kind of love into a documentary you really need a fan of that caliber.
I remember hearing about this doc and being incredibly disappointed it never made it over here to the U.S. Moving this personal tale of documentary woe along even further I started reviewing DVDs later on in life and it was around this chapter that a boutique label in the UK, Second Sight, decided to blu Creepshow and they ported over all the extras from that 2007 DVD. That was when I managed to score a copy and was mighty impressed by Just Desserts. But still no U.S. release. What the hell? Michael Felsher does a commentary for the doc and he’ll explain why this is just now hitting our shores.
As I’ve mentioned previously there are three names important to the success of Creepshow, Romero, King and Savini and these are the three main subjects the doc focuses on. Unfortunately, King wasn’t interested in participating, but there’s enough of him in the doc as told by Romero and others that it kind of makes up for his absence. Don’t get me wrong, though, for Just Desserts to have reached that level of uber-perfection it missed by a mega short ass hair length someone should have hauled King’s ass in at gunpoint and said, “Talk, motherfucker!” But I digress. Ted Danson was also asked, but he told Felsher he wanted nothing to do with it. So we now know how Danson regards his only foray into the horror genre and this was just prior to him getting famous on Cheers (1982-1993). Felsher’s doc is basically the end all and be all of anything relating to Creepshow in my opinion as he even gets key crew members who worked on the movie to inform us on what they contributed. If you’re into FX Savini’s talk is the best for he’ll tell you anything and everything about the effects in the film.
Last year news hit that Felsher had started an Indiegogo campaign to fund a U.S. disc release and that got me excited! With that being a success boutique genre distributor, Synapse Films, became the beneficiary and plans on releasing it to blu-ray on July 12th!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—No subs
Extras included . . .
- Audio Commentary With Director & Editor Michael Felsher
- Audio Commentary Featuring Interviews With Actor John Amplas, Property Master Bruce Allan Miller & Make-up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci
- Creepshow Days—An Interview With Director Of Photogrpahy Michael Gornick (8:01)
- Tom Savini’s Behind The Screams (26:31)
- Extended Interview Segments With George A. Romero, Tom Savini & Bernie Wrightson (23:45)
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds With Sean Clark (14:56)
- Vintage 1982 Evening Magazine Segment (7:31)
- Behind-The-Scene Photo Gallery (8:30—94 photos)
- Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini, Master Of Horror Effects (1986), With Optional Commentary Tom Savini (52:54)
The second commentary is actually a port over from Second Sight’s 2013 Creepshow blu except the Michael Gornick interview included on it is absent here, probably because of the on-camera interview Synapse’s version now has. Also Behind-The-Screams is an extra that was on Second Sights blu too. All the rest are exclusive to this new release.
I had no idea there was 10-minutes cut from Creepshow that Romero wishes hadn’t been.
To learn even more stuff go to this March 28 Fangoria article where Flesher talks about the upcoming release.