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Creepshow

Original 1982 theatrical poster
Directed by George A. Romero
Produced by Salah M. Hassnein
Richard P. Rubinstein
Written by Short Stories & Screenplay:
Stephen King
Starring Hal Holbrook
Adrienne Barbeau
Leslie Nielsen
Ted Danson
E. G. Marshall
Stephen King
Joe King
Viveca Lindfors
Fritz Weaver
Carrie Nye
Ed Harris
Jon Lormer
Tom Atkins
Don Keefer
Robert Harper
Music by John Harrison
Cinematography Michael Gornick
Editing by Pasquale Buba
Paul Hirsch
George A. Romero
Michael Spolan
Distributed by Warner Bros. (USA)
Laurel Entertainment (non-USA)
Republic Pictures (current international rights holders)
Universal Pictures (U.K. Special Edition DVD, 2007)
Release date(s) August 20, 1982 (limited release); November 12, 1982 (wide release; USA)
Running time 120 min (original cut: 130 min - workprint)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8,000,000
Gross revenue $21,028,755
Followed by Creepshow 2

Creepshow is an American horror-comedy anthology film directed by George A. Romero (of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead fame), and written by Stephen King (Carrie, The Shining, Misery, The Stand).

It was considered a sleeper hit at the box office when released in November 1982, earning over $21 million domestically,[1] and remains a popular film to this day among horror genre fans. The film was shot on location in Pittsburgh and the suburb areas. It consists of five short stories referred to as "Jolting Tales of Horror": "Father's Day", "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill", "Something to Tide You Over", "The Crate" and "They're Creeping Up on You!". Two of these stories, "The Crate" and "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" (originally titled "Weeds"), were adapted from previously published Stephen King's short horror tales. The segments are tied together with brief animated sequences. The film is bookended by scenes, featuring a young boy named Billy (played by Stephen King's own son, Joe King), who is punished by his father for reading horror comics. The film is an homage to the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s such as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear.

In later years, the international rights of the film would be acquired by Republic Pictures, which today is a subsidiary of the Paramount Motion Pictures Group, itself owned by Viacom. The film's UK rights are owned by Universal Pictures.

Contents

Plot

Cover for the Creepshow comic book adaptation.
Prologue
A young boy named Billy (played by Stephen King's real-life son Joe King) gets yelled at and slapped by his father, Stan (Tom Atkins), for reading a horror comic titled Creepshow. His father tosses the comic in the garbage to teach Billy a lesson, but not before threatening to spank him should Billy ever get caught reading Creepshow comic books again. Later after he tosses the comic book away, Stan reminds his wife that he had to be hard on Billy because he cannot believe all the "crap" that's in the book. He closes out the discussion with the reason why God made fathers: to protect their ways of life and their children. As Billy sits upstairs hating his father, he hears a sound at the window, which turns out to be a ghostly apparition, beckoning him to come closer.
"Father's Day"

(First story, written by King expressly for the film)

Third Sunday of June, seven years ago, an elderly patriarch named Nathan Grantham was killed on Father's Day when his daughter Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors) bashed him in the head with a marble ashtray as he screamed for his cake for having her fiance murdered. Third Sunday of June, seven years later, his ungrateful, money grubbing relatives get together for their annual dinner on Father's Day. Nathan Grantham comes back as a Revenant to get the cake he never got, and kills off his relatives one by one.
"The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill"

(Second story, originally titled "Weeds", adapted from a previously published short story written by King)

A dimwitted backwoods hick thinks a newly discovered meteorite will provide enough money from the local college to pay off his $200 bank loan. Instead, he finds himself being overcome by a rapidly spreading plant-like organism that comes off the meteorite. Stephen King himself plays the doomed protagonist.
"Something to Tide You Over"

(Third story, written by King expressly for the film)

Richard Vickers, a coldblooded, wealthy husband, played by Leslie Nielsen, stages a terrible fate for his unfaithful wife, Becky (Gaylen Ross) and her lover, Harry Wentworth (Ted Danson) by burying them up to their necks on the beach, below the high tide line. They drown, but return as waterlogged zombies intent on getting revenge of their own.
"The Crate"

(Fourth story, adapted from a previously published short story)

A mysterious, extremely lethal creature is unwittingly released from its crate in this suspenseful and gory monster story. Hal Holbrook stars as mild-mannered college professor Henry Northrup, who sees the creature as a way to rid himself of his drunk, emotionally abusive wife, Wilma, played by Adrienne Barbeau. (The monster in the crate was nicknamed "Fluffy" by the film's director, George A. Romero.)
"They're Creeping Up On You!"

(Fifth and final story, written by King expressly for the film)

Upson Pratt (E.G. Marshall) is a cruel, ruthless businessman whose Mysophobia has him living in a hermetically sealed apartment, but finds himself helpless when his apartment becomes overrun by endless hordes of cockroaches.
Epilogue
The following morning, two garbage collectors (one played by special effects makeup artist Tom Savini) find the Creepshow comic in the trash. They look at the ads in the book for X-ray specs, a Charles Atlas bodybuilding course, and a voodoo doll, whose coupon is missing. Inside the house, Billy's angry father complains of neck pain, which escalates to deadly levels as we see Billy jabbing the voodoo doll over and over.
Notes
The film also boasts one or two ongoing gimmicks for attentive viewers. A popular example would be that the murder weapon from the first story. an ornate marble ashtray, appears in each of the subsequent stories.

Reaction

Creepshow was given a wide release on November 12, 1982. It started strongly with an $8 million box-office gross for its first five days.[2]

Reviews

Creepshow received mixed reviews from critics. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "Romero and King have approached this movie with humor and affection, as well as with an appreciation of the macabre".[3] In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "The best things about Creepshow are its carefully simulated comic-book tackiness and the gusto with which some good actors assume silly positions. Horror film purists may object to the levity even though failed, as a lot of it is".[4] Gary Arnold, in his review for the Washington Post, wrote, "What one confronts in Creepshow is five consistently stale, derivative horror vignettes of various lengths and defects".[5] In his review for the Globe and Mail, Jay Scott wrote, "The Romero-King collaboration has softened both the horror and the cynicism, but not by enough to betray the sources - Creepshow is almost as funny and as horrible as the filmmakers would clearly love it to be".[6] David Ansen, in his review for Newsweek, wrote, "For anyone over 12 there's not much pleasure to be had watching two masters of horror deliberately working beneath themselves. Creepshow is a faux naif horror film: too arch to be truly scary, too elemental to succeed as satire".[7] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss wrote, "But the treatment manages to be both perfunctory and languid; the jolts can be predicted by any ten-year-old with a stop watch. Only the story in which Evil Plutocrat E.G. Marshall is eaten alive by cockroaches mixes giggles and grue in the right measure".[8]

Despite its mixed reviews at the time, the film has become a cult horror classic.[9]

Sequels and adaptations

The film was adapted into an actual comic book of the same name very soon after the film's release, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, an artist fittingly influenced by the 1950s E.C. Comics.

A sequel, Creepshow 2 was released in 1987, and was once again based on Stephen King short stories with a screenplay from Creepshow director George A. Romero. The film contained only three tales of horror, as opposed to the original's five stories.

The general concept and plot of the film was adapted for the song "Everything Went Black," by The Black Dahlia Murder. However, the segments "They're Creeping Up on You," and "Father's Day" were omitted from the video.

On November 10th, 2009 it was announced that Taurus Entertainment had a 3D remake planned.[10]

Unofficial sequels

A further unofficial sequel, Creepshow III, featuring no involvement from Stephen King, George Romero or anyone else involved in the production of the first two films, was released direct-to-video in 2007 (though it was finished in 2006) to mostly negative reviews. This film, in a fashion similar to the original Creepshow, features five short darkly comedic horror stories. The company behind the film was Taurus Entertainment, also responsible for the in-name-only Romero sequel, Day of the Dead 2: Contagium, a follow-up to 1985's Day of the Dead.

Several screenshots from the film, demonstrating the way comic book imagery and effects were used extensively by director George Romero to recreate the feel of classic 1950's E.C. horror comics such as "Tales from the Crypt".

Creepshow-spawned television series

The moderate success of Creepshow sparked interest in a television series in the same mold. After a few changes, Laurel Productions renamed the television version Tales from the Darkside. The series later spawned a film adaptation very similar to Creepshow, entitled Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), directed by Creepshow composer John Harrison. Creepshow make-up artist and Creepshow 2 actor, Tom Savini, has said that the film is the real Creepshow 3. This series lasted four years (1983–87) before being replaced by a virtually identical series named Monsters, which lasted another three years (1988–91).

Creepshow 4 & Creepshow: RAW

Warner Bros. Pictures is one of the companies currently involved in developing a "revival" or remake of the film, to be titled Creepshow 4.

Taurus Entertainment (rights holders of the original Creepshow) have licensed the rights to Jace Hall, of HDFILMS, a Burbank, California company, to produce Creepshow: RAW, a web series based upon the original film.

The pilot episode for Creepshow: RAW wrapped on July 30, 2008, and is currently in post-production. The pilot was directed by Wilmer Valderrama and features Michael Madsen. Still shots from the filming can be found at genre news site, Bloody-Disgusting.com.

UK 2-disc special edition

A Special Edition DVD release of Creepshow was announced in early March 2007 exclusively for the United Kingdom by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It was released 22 October, 2007. The discs feature a brand new widescreen transfer of the film sourced from the original master, a making-of documentary running 90 minutes (titled Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow), behind-the-scenes footage, rare deleted scenes, galleries, a commentary track with director George Romero and make-up effects artist, Tom Savini and more. Owner of Red Shirt Pictures, Michael Felsher is responsible for the special edition, the documentary and audio commentary in particular.

See also

References

  1. ^ Creepshow (1982)
  2. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (November 18, 1982). "Autumn at the Movies". New York Times: pp. 23. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1982). "Creepshow". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19820101/REVIEWS/201010314/1023. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  4. ^ Canby, Vincent (November 10, 1982). "Creepshow, in Five Parts". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9807EED81038F933A25752C1A964948260&partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  5. ^ Arnold, Gary (November 12, 1982). "Oh, Horror! Oh, Yawn! Creepshow; Five Stale Vignettes Plus One Redeeming Monster". Washington Post: pp. 17. 
  6. ^ Scott, Jay (November 10, 1982). "It may be slow at times, but Creepshow has its share of spookies". Globe and Mail. 
  7. ^ Ansen, David (November 22, 1982). "The Roaches Did It". Newsweek. 
  8. ^ Corliss, Richard (November 22, 1982). "Jolly Contempt". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,955051,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  9. ^ [hhttp://www.bloody-disgusting.com/film/3046/userreview,
  10. ^ AFM '09: Taurus Entertainment Prepping 'Creepshow 3D'

External links








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