creepshow (1982)

Movie Poster 27x40

 

Creepshow is an American horror-comedy anthology film directed by George A. Romero (of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead fame), and written by Stephen King (Carrie, The Shining, Misery, The Stand).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oFRi2D7Ph8]

It was considered a sleeper hit at the box office when released in November 1982, earning over $21 million domestically, and remains a popular film to this day among horror genre fans. The film was shot on location in Pittsburgh and the suburb areas. It consists of five short stories referred to as “Jolting Tales of Horror”: “Father’s Day”, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, “Something to Tide You Over”, “The Crate” and “They’re Creeping Up on You!”. Two of these stories, “The Crate” and “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” (originally titled “Weeds”), were adapted from previously published Stephen King’s short horror tales. The segments are tied together with brief animated sequences. The film is bookended by scenes, featuring a young boy named Billy (played by Stephen King’s own son, Joe King), who is punished by his father for reading horror comics. The film is an homage to the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s such as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear.

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In later years, the international rights of the film would be acquired by Republic Pictures, which today is a subsidiary of the Paramount Motion Pictures Group, itself owned by Viacom. The film’s UK rights are owned by Universal Pictures.

Trivia:

  • Stephen King carried a toy figure of the character “Greedo” from Star Wars (1977) on the “Creepshow” set for good luck.
  • Cameo: [Joe Hill] (son of Stephen King) The young boy featured in the beginning of the film (avid reader and collector of “Creepshow” comic books).
  • Rice Krispies were used as maggots on the corpse’s eyes in the first story, “Father’s Day”. In addition, real maggots were also utilized.
  • The marble ashtray (which plays a major role in Creepshow’s first story, “Father’s Day”) is featured in all five of the film’s stories if you look closely.
  • The wrestling match Jordy Verrill is watching on TV in the second segment, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, was being called by Vince McMahon (Chairman of the WWF – now WWE). The wrestlers in the ring were then-current WWF Champion Bob Backlund and The Samoan No. 1.
  • A sign leading to “Castle Rock” (Stephen King’s trademark fictitious town) appears at the very end of the segment “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, among other signs.
  • Ted Danson, who played Harry Wentworth in “Something to Tide You Over”, said in a T.V. interview that his daughter was on the set during the scene where his character returns from the dead encased in rotting flesh and seaweed. He purposely tried avoiding his young daughter out of fear of scaring her. Finally, despite his best efforts, she went up to him, looked at him and simply said, “Oh, hi Dad.”
  • It is rumored that Max von Sydow was originally slated to play Upson Pratt in Creepshow’s final story, “They’re Creeping Up On You!”.
  • In a “Creepshow” special feature from the pages of “Cinefantastique” magazine around the time of “Creepshow”’s release, Stephen King (screenwriter) and George A. Romero (director), revealed that if the film’s final story (“They’re Creeping Up On You!”) had proven to be too difficult and ambitious to film, it would have been substituted with the King short story “The Hitch-Hiker”, which ended up being the final story of the film’s sequel, Creepshow 2 (1987), directed by George A. Romero’s cinematographer on the original Creepshow, Michael Gornick.
  • Originally, in Stephen King’s first draft 142-page screenplay for the film, the stories “The Crate” and “Something to Tide You Over” switched places. Making “The Crate” story number 3 and “Tide” story number 4. This is also how the Berni Wrightson Creepshow graphic novel adaptation turned out.
  • In Stephen King’s original script for the film, the final story, “They’re Creeping Up On You!”, originally took place in a lush, carpeted penthouse apartment. However, because with roaches this would have been unworkable, Romero opted for a more empty almost hospital room-like set for the story.
  • Two of the characters featured in the film, Tabitha and Richard (The new professors at the faculty reception at the beginning of the fourth segment, “The Crate”), were named after Tabitha King (Stephen King’s wife) and Richard Bachman (his ghostwriting name), according to the author.
  • In the film’s second segment, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, the film playing on Jordy’s television in the background is A Star Is Born (1937), according to director George Romero’s commentary on the UK special edition DVD.
  • The prop 10-cent “CREEPSHOW” comic book featured in the film was drawn and inked by veteran artist ‘Jack Kamen’, one of the artists for the original E.C. crime and horror comics of the 1950′s. Creepshow was a tribute to these comic books. Jack Kamen also created the comic book-style poster for the film, which was also featured on the front of the Plume “Creepshow” comic book adaptation (which Bernie Wrightson, another prolific horror comic artist, drew and inked the interiors for). Originally, (‘Stephen King (I)’ wanted Graham Ingels, another EC artist (famous for his work on the title “The Haunt of Fear”) to do the artwork for the film’s poster, but he refused. It was head of EC comics ‘William M. Gaines’ who then suggested Jack Kamen do the assignment. Kamen accepted.
  • A screen capture of the “Creepshow” comic book featured in the film reveals that the letters page has letters from “Brian Hall of Ann Arbor, Mich.” and “David Graves of Spruce, Maryland”, among others. Spruce is the maiden name of King’s wife Tabitha. David Graves is the name of King’s late brother-in-law (married to wife Tabitha’s sister, Catherine). David Graves lived in Maryland (although not “Spruce”, Md), until his death in 2000.
  • The on-set nickname for the monster in the crate in Creepshow’s fourth story was “Fluffy”, as named by director George A. Romero. The creature’s creator (and makeup artist on the entire film), Tom Savini, was the shorter garbageman featured near the end of the film.
  • Why does Aunt Bedelia’s father come to life after 7 years in the first story “Father’s Day”? Not because of the lucky number it turns out. If you watch closely you will see Bedelia spills whiskey on the grave. In Gaelic, the word for whiskey is translated as Water of Life, and is likely a nod to James Joyce and his book “Finnegan’s Wake”. In the story a builder’s laborer falls from a ladder and breaks his skull, but is revived when someone spills whiskey on his corpse at the wake. The story of Finnegan’s Wake is in turn written based off an old Dublin street ballad.
  • At the end of “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, on the signpost is the town of Portland, Maine. This was Stephen King’s home town, and King is the star of this segment of the film.
  • Adrienne Barbeau was still married to John Carpenter when Creepshow was released. Carpenter would make the film version of Stephen King’s Christine (1983) the following year. King wrote and makes an appearance in Creepshow.
  • The housekeeper in the “Father’s Day” sequence is Mrs.Danvers. The malevolent housekeeper in Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense film Rebecca (1940) is also named Mrs. Danvers.

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