Comics Are Rotten (Creepshow, 1982)
The Horror anthology has always been risky. There are few true classics. Mostly what you get are movies with a couple good tales among some duds. George Romero and Stephen King teamed up to create Creepshow.
The five stories included here are all pretty strong. The first is Fathers Day, the story of a somewhat rotten family gathering to celebrate the birthday of the late patriarch. This year, he intends to get his birthday cake.
The second story is the Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill is about a simple-minded farmer who discovers a meteor on his land. After touching the meteor, Jordy finds frass growing uncontrollably, consuming his body.
Something to Tide You over features an adulterous couple who are discovered by the woman’s husband. He seeks to take revenge trapping them on the beach (so to speak).
The Crate follows an older professor who is constantly belittled by his alcoholic gossip wife. His respite is his fellow professor, Dexter. Dexter is called to the school by a janitor who finds a mysterious crate tucked away. The crate seems to be decades old…but to also contain something still alive. And hungry.
Finally, They’re Creeping Up on You is about an old man obsessed with cleanliness finding his home seems to be under siege by cockroaches.
The film is framed as a comic book, with art by Jack Kamen (an E.C. comics artist, which is the inspiration for Creepshow). As each story begins and ends, we see comic book art that fades into the live image (or Vice Versa). The art is great and provides a unique look to the film. The film also has an extra framing device of a story about a young boy (Played by King’s real-life son Joe) whose father (played by veteran character actor Tom Atkins) is angry when he finds him reading a horror comic book.
Tom Savini provides a great series of effects, with visuals that mimic the color of comics. The gruesome visuals are not interested in realism, rather in being lush and colorful.
The cast is really terrific. You have veterans like E.G. Marshall and Hal Holbrook along with upcoming stars like Ed Harris and Ted Danson.
Most of the film has a tone of cartoonish horror. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill struggles the most in this regard because at times it gets absurdly comical. But overall, Creepshow is still one of Romero’s straight up most fun works.