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Warner Bros. // R // October 26, 1999
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted November 1, 2000 | E-mail the Author
Is there an artform more neglected than the horror anthology film? Probably, but there's not one I miss more. The horror anthology tradition has almost entirely made the disappointing switch from big box office business to direct-to-video since the release of "Creepshow" in 1982. Told in the style of classic '50s EC comics and around the frame of a comic-collectin' kid and his less-than-appreciative father, the stories are...(drum roll)...
  • Father's Day: Ed Harris makes his second appearance in a Romero film (the first being the largely-ignored "Knightriders") in this segment, which...uh...shows its age. Most of the film holds up pretty well today, but seeing Ed Harris (emphasis on the hair) slow-grinding to disco in pastels is more frightening than anything else King or Romero could've conjured. But anyway, the menace this go-around is the demanding patriarch of a wealthy family who returns from the grave to exact a little revenge on his greedy family. It's not too different from a later tale, "Something To Tide You Over", in the coming-back-from-the-dead-to-exact-revenge-on-greedy-evil-rich-folks manner, and if you replace the zombie with roaches, it's similar to "They're Creeping Up On You". I guess there's a moral to be found here...hmmm... The biggest problem I've always had with this segment in particular is that there are no sympathetic characters. If I were there, I would've split the father's head open too. If you don't really like the killer or his victims, why bother? Some decent kills here, but I consider it more of a warm-up for the rest of the film.
  • The Lonely Death Of Jordy Verrill: Another "Knightriders" veteran, Stephen King, shows that he's best suited to Hitchcock-style cameos in adaptations of his works than to do any actual acting. Stevie plays a mentally challenged redneck who thinks he's found financial independence by way of a comet that plops into his backyard, and...yup, you can guess what happens by the title. The fantasy sequences are pretty funny, and I liked the ending, but other than that, "The Lonely Death Of Jordy Verrill" really slows down the film and is the least memorable of all the stories. It gets better...really.
  • Something To Tide You Over: Leslie Nielsen gets nasty -- as another in a series of devilishly vile characters in "Creepshow", the possessive millionaire discovers that his trophy wife is turning her affections towards Ted Danson, and, hey, who can blame her? Although the lovebirds aren't looking for a piece of his fortune -- just a quiet divorce, nothing more -- Nielsen decides to bury the affair...literally. He forces each of them at gun point to bury themselves in remote parts of the beach near his palatial home, with closed-circuit TVs showing the fate of the other as the tide starts to roll in. But hey, do unto others...

  • The Crate: The best-known (and longest) segment of "Creepshow", "The Crate" is about the strained relationship between a meek English professor (Hal Holbrook) and his overbearing wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau), and the contents of a long-hidden crate at the university may hold the key to solve their problems. (Insert "till death do us part" joke here.)
  • They're Creeping Up On You: Why is it that seeing eyes gouged out and people getting eaten makes me laugh hysterically, but the sight of a bunch of cockroaches makes me nauseous? The brilliant E.G. Marshall is Upton Pratt, a ruthless multi-millionaire who lives Howard Hughes-style in a germ-free condo. Well, it was germ-free, until an army of six-legged critters turn up after Pratt's quest to expand his wealth results in the suicide of a recently-squashed rival.
Video: Both full-frame and widescreen-enhanced versions of "Creepshow" are available on this disc. A slightly better job could've been done in cleaning up some of the dust and assorted minor print flaws, but the widescreen presentation is easily the best "Creepshow" has ever looked. The image is sharper and the blacks are stronger than the numerous TV/cable broadcasts I've seen of the film. The rich colors and comic book-y appearance are very well-represented. There is some occassional softness, light grain, and a slightly irritating 'jitter' to the image, making this transfer of "Creepshow" seem like somewhat of a rush job. The video quality is on the disappointing side, but it's acceptable considering the age and low budget of the film. I would've been willing to pay more for further restoration, and it's a shame Warner didn't put forth the effort towards "Creepshow" that Anchor Bay did for the sequel.

Audio: "Creepshow" features an unimpressive Pro Logic track. The dialogue has a somewhat dated sound to it, not quite as full or powerful as it could be. The bass is somewhat anemic, and although the surrounds weren't used as frequently as I would have liked, some of the effects are pretty nice (particularly in "The Lonely Death Of Jordy Verrill"). Average, at best.

Supplements: Bare-bones. The extremely cheesy trailer is the only extra, and although it's somewhat in the spirit of the film, it's so extraordinarily goofy that it would've turned me away from seeing it if, well, I weren't a couple weeks shy of my 4th birthday when "Creepshow" was initially released theatrically. It is, though, in anamorphic widescreen, and Warner gets a gold star for that.

Conclusion: If you want to be scared, look elsewhere. For fans of EC comics who prefer their horror with a fun, campy style, you can't go wrong with "Creepshow". The film looks decent enough, and the disc is dirt-cheap. What more could you want? Highly recommended.
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