Film & Water #190 – Creepshow Commentary

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Rob welcomes back fellow network all-star Max Romero to present a commentary track for 1982's horror classic CREEPSHOW!

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8 responses to “Film & Water #190 – Creepshow Commentary

  1. A highly entertaining commentary (hey, that spells EC)!

    The observation during “Jordy Verrill” that the shift in tone is in keeping with EC Comics’ actual stories got me thinking: While the Creepshow graphic novel adaptation was illustrated entirely by Bernie Wrightson, if this had been an actual EC Comic, each story would be drawn by a different artist. And THAT got me thinking, which story would go to which artist? “Father’s Day,” with its rotting corpse and gruesome physical horror, would be the Graham Ingels story, while “Jordy Verrill,” with its backwoods setting and lighter tone, would be the Jack Davis story. “Something to Tide You Over” strikes me as a Jack Kamen story. The Henry/Billie relationship in “The Crate” makes me think of Johnny Craig characters. “They’re Creeping Up on You,” with its sterile environment contrasting with the horrible infestation, makes me think that Wally Wood would be a good fit.

    I got to see Joe Hill speak at the 2020 C2E2 convention, and he shared a behind-the-scenes anecdote about his brief career as a child actor: One night, as his father was driving him home after filming, Joe demanded that they stop at McDonald’s for dinner. Joe wanted a milkshake, but his father told him no. Being a willful kid, Joe started throwing a tantrum demanding a milkshake. As people started staring at them, they realized that Joe still had the bruise make-up on his face from when Tom Atkins “slapped” him in the movie, and the situation looked a LOT worse than it was. (Unfortunately, I can’t recall exactly how the anecdote continued after that, or whether that was the end of the story.)

  2. Another fine commentary in a series of fun commentaries.
    Creepshow is such a fun movie. It absolutely lived up to the tagline “The most fun you’ll have being scared”
    I’m gonna try to explain the letters page in what appears to be the first issue of Creepshow. The comic we see in the movie is a “Treasury Edition”. It’s a collection of previously released material presented as Creepshow 1 (special edition). The letters represent correspondence from the original issues the stories were published in.
    I’m in total agreement with Max in regards to King often disappointing us with the endings of his books. King could keep you captivated for hundreds of pages, yet somehow underwhelm is in the finale. It’s one of the reasons I’m a bigger fan of his short stories.
    I’ve had the Creepshow graphic novel for a few decades now. Another of those many comic book adaptations that was at one time the only way to experience the movie at home.

  3. Great commentary guys. I love this movie. It was definitely the first horror anthology I ever saw, and one of the first true horror films I watched as well.

    I’ve always liked the Jody Verill segment, and I and my friends have often blurted out “Meteor Shit” . The roach segment always disgusted me more than anything else in the film. Bugs don’t bother me in general, but the scene of them bursting from Marshall’s body is just…yuck.

    I’m a big fan of the Amicus films (including the EC adaptations), but I still have to give it to Creepshow as my favorite anthology film. I think you guys hit the nail on the head, it’s just…fun!

  4. I fondly remember watching this on VHS from the video store my parents co-owned back in the 80s. Also, I must have seen Creepshow 2 at some point because I remember watching The Raft, but I somehow came to think it was a segment in the original movie, especially since I have no memory of watching the other segments from C2. That’s not the case with the original film – I vividly remember each story and the odd mix of kooky humor and creepiness. At the time, I had no idea about the history of horror comics or EC in particular, so I didn’t really get the point behind the aesthetic of the film. But, I definitely get it now and appreciate Creepshow all the more because of it.

  5. Fascinating concept with assigning the classic EC art staff to King’s stories here. I’ll agree that placing Ingels on “Father’s Day” and Davis on “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill” is spot on. Wood would be a great choice for “They’re Creeping Up On You”. He’d make effectively moody shadows during the blackout sequence.

    I do think I’d switch your choices on “Tide” and “Crate”, though. Johnny Craig would make Harry look classically macho — right up until the tide got him! He’d also give Richard’s beach house a slick polish. I feel Jack Kamen would give us a memorably horrible Billie and a Henry we could really cheer on as he sets his plan in motion!

  6. Great episode! The love that both of you have for this movie is so obvious, and infectious. I hadn’t watched it in probably more than 20 years, so thanks for inspiring me to rewatch.

    My thoughts/comments…

    — I probably didn’t watch this movie till the ’90s, but I did encounter the comic book early on—I think someone had it at my summer camp in 1983 (“The Crate” sticks in my mind, along with the shambling zombie in “Father’s Day”). I also recall one of those bloopers TV series that were big at the time (there were like seven of them) showing a clip of Danson and Ross flubbing a line while in their zombie makeup. (No evidence I can find online, alas.)

    — Rob, you mentioned a King short story about a drug-addicted doctor on a desert island eating his own body parts. That story is called “Survivor Type”—it is truly horrifying, and whaddaya know, an animated adaptation (starring the voice of Kiefer Sutherland) was featured in the recent “Creepshow” streaming series.

    — Your buddy’s favorite line in “The Crate” (“He finally got his chance”) immediately precedes one of my favorite lines: Henry saying, “I can’t do anything for you unless you stop being so goddamned elliptical.” That’s one of my mantras in life.

    — Another favorite line of mine is when Richard, starting to get an inkling that his comeuppance is on its way, says to himself, “No need to get jumpy.” I say that to myself whenever I’m alone late at night and I get the creeps, and I’ve never once been attacked by aqua zombies.

    — Speaking of Leslie Nielsen, so glad you appreciate “Police Squad!” (“I tracked him to one of those all-night wicker places that attracts all the wrong crowd”). I once read that part of the reason it was canceled after only six episodes was because TV execs said it required audiences to pay too much attention.

    — “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” is indeed set in the ’80s, judging by the first thing he watches on TV: A World Wrestling Federation title match between Bob Backlund (who was champion in the early ’80s) and Afa the Samoan (cousin of Dwayne Johnson), with commentary by none other than Vince McMahon.

    — It’s actually very cheap to use album covers as wall art: For 11 or 12 bucks, you can buy a frame for a record album that doesn’t damage the vinyl in any way. (I have three on my wall right now, by Elvis Costello, the Cars, and Hall and Oates.)

    — You talked about how great the cast was for “The Crate,” but didn’t call out Don Keefer as the poor janitor. I will always remember him as the guy who gets turned into a jack-in-the-box in the “It’s a Good Life” episode of The Twilight Zone.

    Loved this, thank you…

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