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CREEPSHOW

With so much unadulterated ham on the screen, CREEPSHOW ($20) is one horror movie that definitely isn't kosher. Jokes about the acting aside, I love this movie for what it is- a tribute to the wonderfully nasty EC horror comics that caused quite a stir in their day. With CREEPSHOW, it's obvious that screenwriter Stephen King and director George A. Romero share the same fondness for the classic EC comics that I have. CREEPSHOW takes the form of a comic book come to life, with King's screenplay offering up five tales of terror, plus a nasty little black comic segment that bookends the film.

Father's Day tells the tale of a murderous family that gets their just desserts when the clan's patriarch returns from the grave looking for his holiday dessert. Father's Day features a wonderfully over-the-top performance from Viveca Lindfors and a delightfully devilish turn from Carrie Nye. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill stars Stephen King as the title character and is the story is played for laughs, instead of real horror. Verrill is a country bumpkin of epic proportions, and when a meteorite lands on his farm, he sees the space rock as a means of making some quick cash. Unfortunately, Verrill's dreams of greenbacks turn into a green nightmare when the vegetation from outer space starts growing all over him. As an actor, Stephen King really should stick to writing. Something To Tide You Over stars Leslie Nielsen as the jealous husband who buries his wife and her lover (Ted Danson) up to their necks in sand, then waits for the tide to come in. Of course, when the tide does come in, the jealous husband gets a whole lot more than he bargained for.

The Crate is, without question, my favorite segment in CREEPSHOW. Why do I like it? Well, The Crate is the most wonderfully hammy, scary and fun tale in Stephen King's screenplay. Set in a college town, The Crate tells the story of a meek university professor (Hal Holbrook), his screw of a wife (Adrienne Barbeau) and the creature that his colleague (Fritz Weaver) finds in a crate in the basement of one of the school’s science buildings. Had Shakespeare written it, he would have entitled it The Eating of the Shrew. Kudos to all three stars; their shameless overacting really sells the story. The Crate could be Weaver's finest moment in the cinema. Well maybe not, but his overwrought performance had me howling hysterically. In They're Creeping Up On You, E.G. Marshall plays a ruthless millionaire who got to the top by stepping on other people as if they were bugs. Now, in his supposedly germ free penthouse apartment, the millionaire finds himself having a huge problem with some real bugs. Anyone squeamish about cockroaches will have nightmare for weeks after viewing this tale. Still, They're Creeping Up On You is a lot of fun, based upon the strength on Marshall's manic performance. Hey, Marshall gets to curse up a blue streak as a really nasty character, plus he actually looks like he's having fun while he's doing it. The cast of CREEPSHOW also includes Warner Shook, Robert Harper, Elizabeth Regan, Gaylen Ross, Jon Lormer, Don Keefer, Bingo O'Malley, Joe King, Tom Savini and an uncredited Tom Atkins.

Warner Home Video has done a respectable job bringing CREEPSHOW to DVD, offering both full screen and wide screen versions on opposite sides of the disc. Those individuals who don't mind watching a cable TV equivalent of CREEPSHOW won't find fault with the full screen version. As for the rest of us, the 16:9 enhanced wide screen presentation of the film will definitely be preferable. CREEPSHOW is framed at a proper 1.85:1 and the transfer looks very nice. The image is sharp and fairly well detailed, with a good solid black level. Colors are somewhat subdued, owing to the age of the film, but there are some moments of stronger saturation. Flesh tones seem fine for a movie whose lighting and design want to reflect the look of a comic book. The film element used for the transfer of CREEPSHOW occasionally displays some negative dust and other minor markings. Neither chroma noise nor digital compression artifacts detracted from the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to rather unimpressive Dolby Surround. Dialogue reproduction is clear and intelligible, but for the most part the forward soundstage is undistinguished. Very little goes on in the rear channels, however the track is worth amplifying for John Harrison's creepy music. Subtitles are encoded onto the DVD in English and French.

The interactive menus are very basic, offering access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A theatrical trailer is the DVD's only supplement.

 
CREEPSHOW 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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