Blu-ray/DVD Review: CREEPSHOW (1982)

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror anthology CREEPSHOW (1982) by director George A. Romero.  To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“An anthology which tells five terrifying tales based on the EC horror comic books of the 1950’s.”

Listen, anyone familiar with the careers of George A. Romero, Stephen King, or Tom Savini has probably already seen this feature.  Heck, even those not familiar with those names could easily sign on for this given that it is a practical effects heavy horror anthology from the eighties that is modeled after comics like Tales from the Crypt.  My point is this, I probably have to do very little so sell this movie to most viewers, so this review will be a little different than my normal scribblings.

First off, those who have not see this film should do themselves a favor and see it as soon as possible.  I mean, five horror stories that are made to look like a living comic book? Any horror fan would have to be insane to pass that up.  Add to that list the great cast of characters, playful sense of humor, and wonderful practical effects to create a package that is hard to resist.

I will admit that upon rewatching this movie I found myself enjoying the second half much more than the first for a few different reasons.  While I can recognize that the first two chapters go a long way in establishing the look and tone, I find the stories to be a bit weaker by comparison.  Now, once we get through those first two tales of terror, we get to the three gems that are populated by not only some great actors/characters, but also do a wonderful job of showing off the special effects work at play.  The final chapter does an especially good job of balancing the humor and some nasty horror that is sure to remain with the viewer long after the final frame.

As a long time fan of this movie, I have to say that the current blu-ray release by Shout! Factory is an absolute gem.  When I first saw CREEPSHOW some twenty or so years ago on MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs it was great to discover this little masterpiece, even though the video and audio quality were hampered by the mere fact of it being on cable tv.  In the intervening years I have seen this piece again on DVD, but once again there was a graininess present and some lighting issues to the transfer that still kept it from being all it could be.  The latest, upgraded version was noticeably better, making it easier to see all the creepy little touches while emphasizing even more the comic book look of the picture.

In addition to the top notch picture quality, Shout! Factory also provided a slew of special features that are sure to pique the interest of fans of the flick.  From behind the scenes stills to director commentaries to a round table discussion of the making of the movie, there are enough extras to hold one’s interest for hours.  I personally enjoyed hearing how Michael Gornick (the director of photography who oversaw the transfer) was able to go back through the movie and use computers to highlight some of the lighting/coloring that had been lost over the years.

All in all, this is a darkly comedic horror anthology that has stood the test of time surprisingly well.  With the new transfer provided on this blu-ray, I could easily see people continuing to discover and talk about this picture for the next thirty five years.  Fans of anthologies like Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) or Tales from the Darkside (1983-1988) should consider this a must have for their collection.

CREEPSHOW, Stephen King, 1982, (c) Warner Brothers
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