The original Creepshow didn't reinvent the wheel but it was a really fun tribute to the old E.C. horror comics of the fifties like Tales From The Crypt and The Vault Of Horror. The film had a nice tongue in cheek style and director George Romero had an interesting cast to work with and enough money behind it that there were actually some really strong production values noticeable in the picture. Creepshow II followed, and while it wasn't as good as the original, it was at least entertaining. That brings us to Creepshow III, a straight-to-video turkey which arrives courtesy of HBO, who really should have known better.
Instead of a comic book style intro featuring the Creep, we're instead treated to a poorly animated bit that foregoes that tradition that the first two films built and introduces us to an evil hot dog vendor (seriously) who proceeds to introduce us to the first of the five crappy stories that the feature holds in store for us.
Alice tells the tale of a snooty teenager who looks down her nose at her friends and family. When her father buys a new television and starts fiddling with the remote, it has adverse effects on Alice until she becomes that which she despises. The Radio is the story of a night watchman named Jerry who digs hookers and who soon becomes obsessed with a haunted radio that drives him to kill. Call Girl is about a lady of the evening named Rachel who goes on a killing spree until she runs into a vampire. Professor Dayton's Wife tells of a goofy university professor who gets off on playing jokes on his students. He gets engaged and at his engagement party his students deduce that his fiancÚ is actually a robot so they take her apart. Yeah. You read that right. The last story is The Haunted Dog is about a rich jerk doctor who feeds a homeless guy a rancid hot dog. When the poor guy dies, the rich jerk doctor just lets him go without even trying to help, and he soon learns that those who die from hot dog related deaths do not go gently into this great night.
Where to start....
Those who appreciated the retro-quirk of the first two Creepshow films (and the awesome graphic novel illustrated by Bernie Wrightson) will probably find themselves tempted to smash their faces into a well shortly after this third entry begins. The filmmaker's have somehow managed to suck everything that was fun about the first two movies out of this third entry and replaced it all with horrible, forced comedy, bad effects, crap acting and a shoddy script. The direction is uninspired, the gore effects decidedly mediocre and the whole thing feels like nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the name in hopes of milking some cash out of the fans of the first two films. Does it comes as any surprise to know that the same people responsible for Day Of The Dead 2 - Contagium (is contagium even a real word?) are behind this mess?
The hucksters and hacks responsible for this mess should be forced to watch their own film over and over and over again until their eyes melt.
Aside from a small amount of grain present in a few of the darker scenes, the 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite nice. Color reproduction looks good and black levels stay strong and deep. Fine detail is strong in both the foreground and the background of the image and there are no serious problems with mpeg compression artifacts or heavy edge enhancement. Some mild aliasing is noticeable here and there but aside from that, Creepshow III looks quite good on DVD.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix is not without its problems. While the sound effects and the score are well balanced, the dialogue at times is not. Sometimes it's mixed properly, other times the performers are insanely loud. Bass response is good and surround action is nice and distinct, but when the dialogue bounces around as much as it does here, it's more than a little disappointing.
Aside from the menu screens and a chapter selection menu, the only extra feature on this disc is a making of documentary that clocks in at just over twenty-minutes in length. A few of the performers talk about how great the movie is (they're wrong) and we get some fairly basic behind the scenes footage and lame, promotional talking head interviews. There's very little of substance here.
Even the most ardent of horror anthology fans will have a tough time finding much to enjoy with Creepshow III - the film is just plain bad. HBO's presentation looks okay but the movie itself is pretty horrible. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.