Creepshow (1982)
Directed by George A. Romero
Written by Stephen King

As Spielberg and Lucas returned to their childhood thrills with the Indiana Jones movies, so here do Stephen King and George Romero, but for them it's not old adventure serials, but the old E.C. horror comics.

Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Creepshow is certainly a hell of a lot more famous than it should be. It somehow manages to intend its ridiculousness, yet still be ridiculous for a lot of other reasons. But most of it is so thoroughly memorable that the camp factor eventually gives way to a classic-ness that might have more to do with people's childhood memories of cable-TV than anything else.

The film contains five segments, all written by King in an intentionally cheesy faux-Poe style, and directed by Romero with a careful eye for the staging, pacing, and visual presentation of the E.C. comics. A few moments are genuinely scary, but mostly this is a love letter to that genre with tongue firmly in cheek.

I saw this a number of times in the mid-80s, and watching it again now, at perhaps its least culturally relevant moment, I was suprised by how much of it I remembered vividly. Who can forget the image of Ted Danson being buried up to his neck by Leslie Nielsen, much less Danson returning as a zombie? Or E.G. Marshall's dead body bursting with cockroaches? Or Adrienne Barbeau's bitchy character getting her just desserts at the hands of Hal Holbrook's boxed-up rage monster? Or Ed Harris being crushed by a different zombie who has come back for Father's Day cake? Or Stephen King himself blowing his head off with a shotgun after turning into a giant plant?

Pretty good yarnage. I must say, though, this time around I had a vague feeling of suspicion the entire time, like I was being gypped out of something intangible … perhaps it's just that, like arcade games and furtive masturbating, this movie makes a lot more sense when you're about 12.

Review by Jessica Tamponi