• Ceris

Ceris' 31 Days of Horror Challenge: Creepshow

So, my first impression of this film, or series of short films, is that it is very dated and I struggled to stay focused on what was happening, especially as there was a new story what felt like every 5 minutes. We start with a young boy, Billy, is reading the comic Creepshow, when his father kicks off and tells him he doesn’t want him to be exposed to the stories – I mean did he not know what other crazy shit was happening in the real world then!

A compendium of five short but terrifying tales contained within a single full-length feature, this film conjures scares from traditional bogeymen and portents of doom. In one story, a monster escapes from its holding cell. Another focuses on a husband (Leslie Nielsen) with a creative way of getting back at his cheating wife. Other stories concern a rural man (Stephen King) and a visitor from outer space, and a homeowner (E.G. Marshall) with huge bug problems and a boozing corpse.

Story one is titled ‘Father’s Day’ and tells the story of an elderly aunt – Bedelia - who is revealed to be her own fathers murderer. In fairness, if I was treated the way she was, and my fiancé was killed (although some days the thought crosses my mind about Adam…be too much effort now we’re married mind lol), I would murder the psycho who did that to me too, so I very much feel for her. Every year, Sylvia Grantham meets her niece and nephew for the annual family dinner, and this year her niece Cass brings along her new husband, and he learns all about Great Aunt Bedelia’s murderous past.


Talking of Bedelia, the shit hits the fan for her before she’s even stepped foot in the building this year. Even after everything her father did for her, she went to his grave to see him and lay a flower there. Obviously having to be drunk to deal with these dinners, Bedelia remembers the night of the murder, and how Sylvia helped to stage the murder as an accident, so that she could steal Nathan (dead dads) fortune and share it with the family – personally I find that quite admirable but I’m not sure anyone else will!

Bedelia in her drunken stupor, accidentally spills her whiskey – careless – on the grave, and clearly it was strong stuff as the manky, maggot infested corpse of Nathan reappears and strangles her. He then decided killing one person for the lols isn’t enough, and he kills Hank – poor guy has only just joined the family, Sylvia – this one I can understand, the cook – I mean not like he needs food is it, and then surprises Cass & Richard (her brother) with a Sylvia head cake, complete with frosting and candles.


We aren’t quite sure what happens to them, but I think its safe to say it’s not going to be a happy ending.

 

Onto story number two, and for this one we are on a farm with a guy named Jordy who, in all honesty, is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I mean having watched something fall from the sky and crash land on his farm, he proceeds to walk over and touch it resulting in him burning his fingers.


Jordy then starts to imagine all the things he can do with the meteorite – I’m not sure he can do much considering it can’t be moved easily. He hopes that he can sell it to the ‘Department of Meteors’ to pay of his $200 bank loan – honestly hun if you will leave it alone I’LL pay off your loan! Having burnt his fingers once already, to be safe, he chucks a bucket of water over the meteor, however this ends badly when it cracks open and spill luminous blue liquid. But it’s okay! He can glue the bits back together – I’m going to assume this isn’t possible considering it is large pieces of rock – and he just tips the liquid into the ground and casually spills some on himself as you do.

Sometime later, Jordy’s hand starts turning into his own portable garden, and while he does at first think about calling for help, he ultimately decides that he will automatically have his fingers chopped off without aesthetic - cos that’s normal! Not only does the weird grass stuff grow on him, it also grows on anything he touches – which turns out to be A LOT – and it also starts to make him itchy and panic about how quickly its growing. His next self remedy is to mix vodka and orange juice and essentially sleep it off – I won’t lie that’s probably what I’d do too!


Having woken up – probably hungover – he believes he dreamt it all – yeah hun we all do, but when he actually looks around, he realises it has in fact gotten worse, and he now has a green beard (if we dyed Adam’s beard he would look the same!). He decides a bath will help, but he is interrupted by his fathers ghost, who tells him a bath is a bad idea cos the plants want water – but Jordy already realises he is already fucked and gets in the bath anyway.

It didn’t end well – Jordy is now essential a human plant, the farm looks like the jungle and he decides enough is enough and blows the top of his head off. Suddenly the TV announces there is rain forecast and warm temperatures, which means the vegetation is only going to spread more and who knows it may end up covering the entire planet in well, meteor shit as Jordy calls it.

 

Richard Vickers is a dick, yes I said it. Something To Tide You Over is a clever title for this story, and the bad guy got everything he deserved.


So Richie is a millionaire – of course – who doesn’t like to share. He goes to visit Harry Wentworth, the man whom his wife Becky is having an affair with, and who can blame her with a husband like him! Richard decides he needs to get rid of Harry because he stole his woman, but doesn’t want to get his hands physically dirty, so he plays Harry a recording of Becky crying and ask for Harry to save her.

They travel to Richards isolated beach house – because one house isn’t enough – and Richard shows Harry a new burial site, which Harry assumes to be where Becky is. He tries to run to her but has a gun pulled on him, and he is made to jump into a hole in the sand and bury himself. Richard decides he can help Harry with the burying part of his task, and once he is buried to his neck, he sets up and camera and reveals that Becky isn’t dead – yet – but she is also buried in sand further along the beach, with the water already starting to drown her (I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse).


Richard tells Harry his only way to survive is to hold his breath long enough for the sea to loosen the sand, but that clearly isn’t going to happen. Richard decides to return to his beach house to watch the show from the comfort of his front room, but Harry looks directly into the camera and vows revenge of Richard before he drowns. Satisfied they are dead, Richie decides to go back to the grave to get the tape, however there is no camera and Harry has gone, not that he is bothered as he assumes Harry is now fish food.

Later on however, he hears voiced and it turns out to be Harry and Becky, albeit looking slightly worse for wear, who have come to taunt him for killing them. He tries to shoot them but you can’t shoot and kill something that’s already dead. Now shitting himself, he barricades himself in his bedroom but guess what? Harry and Becky are in there too, and they taunt him making him lose his mind. They magically/creepily, manage to transport Richard to the very beach he killed them on, and he is now buried in the sand in an every so familiar looking position. With Becky and Harry long gone, Richard screams that he can hold his breathe for a long time, meaning he can survive the tide – you keep telling yourself that pal. Karma’s a bitch hey!

 

The next story in this film is called The Crate – simple, concise, and literally gave NOTHING away about the chaos about to unfold.


Mike, the janitor at Horlicks University, is flipping a coin while in the corridor, which he promptly drops, causing it to roll behind a grate under some stairs. He retrieves the coin but, in the process, finds a crate – this should just be the end, we found the crate, but nooooo, people in horror films just can’t leave things alone can they! The crate is marked "Ship to Horlicks University via Julia Carpenter - Arctic Expedition - June 19, 1834", and he promptly informs Professor Dexter Stanley, who is at a party with his friend, and fellow Professor Henry Northrup, and Henry’s drunk, dickhead wife Wilma, who always embarrasses herself and insults everyone, leaving Henry to fantasise about killing her, but is too much of a gentleman to actually do it.

Prof Stanley and Mike move the crate from under the stairs and take it to the lab and try to open in. As part of their efforts, Mike puts his hand in the box – which I now know is a stupid thing to do – as he starts yelling in pain, causing the box to open and what looks like a mini abominable snowman to appear. It may only be small, but poor Mike is a mere snack for it as it devours him whole, apart from one boot. Dexter takes the hint and legs it from the room, but bumps into a student and tells him what has just happened to Mikey. No at this point any normal humans would walk away and call animal control or the police or the army, especially as the crate has moved back to it original place, but no not these two idiots. Charlie (the student) goes in for a closer look, and the creature clearly isn’t full, as he decides to eat him too, causing Dexter to actually leg it this time!


Cacking his pants, Dexter runs to see Henry – once crazy Wilma has left – and tells him about what has happened, and says they need to get rid of the monster. Now sweet, innocent Henry turns out to be not that innocent after all, and wants to use the creature to kill his wife, so he spikes Dexters drink and writes a note saying Dexter supposedly assaulted a female student. Dickhead Wilma sees the note and rushes to find Henry – who has cleaned up the chaos the creature left – and begins to rant at him for dragging her there in the middle of the night. Unbeknownst to her, they are standing by the crate, and hearing her shouting, the creature decides he is hungry again, and, you guessed it, eats Wilma.

The next day Dexter – who seems to be unaware he was spiked and had a rumour started about him, speaks to Henry who assures him he disposed of the crate with the creature inside in the quarry, and he watched it sink. They are satisfied the creature has drowned and decide to let the police deal with the missing people. The creature was pretty cool, and from what Adam told me, he’s got a pretty great nickname too! Fluffy…suits him.


The final few moments show the creature, very much alive and trying to get out of the crate – I think the police will have a few more disappearances to investigate!

 

The final story of the film literally made my skin crawl and I had to keep my feet off the floor as I was convinced there were cockroaches all over the floor!


Upson Pratt – perfect name for him – is a cruel, severely germophobic, businessman (he would have been screwed during Covid), who lives a hermit life and is a dick to everyone he speaks to. One stormy night, the perfect setting for the story, he takes a call from George, one of him employees, who tells him that due to his company, Pratt International, taking over Pacific Aerodyne, one of his rivals Norman has committed suicide, with Upson takes great delight in knowing. While on the phone, Upson starts finding cockroaches around his apartment and so arms himself with bug spray to try and defeat them – which is defo what I would do.


A little while later, he receives another call, this time from Norman’s widow Lenore, who cries as she tells Upson of her husband’s final moments and curses Upson for his death. He keeps finding cockroaches, including bits of them in the blender, when he receives yet another call – for someone who is a dickhead he is very popular tonight – from Carl Reynolds, the building manager, who just happens to be on holiday, but is forced by Upson to call the buildings handy man, Mr White, to tell him to call an exterminator – or he will fire him.

Upson finds more cockroaches in a box of cereal so he tries, and fails, to crush them. Mr White arrives and tells him through the door that he has called a fumigation service to try and resolve the issue – I can resolve it, it’s called moving out and burning the place down – however, neither of the men are aware of the electricity blackout heading their way. Cockroaches clearly like darkness, because they suddenly appear out of everywhere in the apartment, and Pratt tries to activate the emergency power and call the police – not sure they have handcuffs small enough for cockroaches’ mind – but they can’t help due to the blackout, and neither can Mr White it turns out as he is stuck in the lift.


Pratt can’t stand the cockroaches anymore, so locks himself in his climate-controlled panic room – you know the room most of us peasants don’t have – where he receives another call from Lenore who is continuing to curse at him. Does anyone else think she might be a witch causing this or just me? During with call, he noticed the bed covers wriggling – that’s me not sleeping tonight – and find the room is already infested with cockroaches. Unable to cope as they swarm over him, Pratt has a heart attack and dies.

The power finally comes back on, and funnily enough there isn’t a cockroach in site. Mr White reappears and tries to get a response from Pratt, who clearly isn’t going to reply as he is dead. Mr White, unaware that Upson is dead, jokingly says ‘Bugs got your tongue?’, causing the roaches to burst out of Pratt’s body and cover the panic room. Mr White tries to speak to Pratt but after a while, gives up, calls him a bastard and walks away.

 

Back outside the comic, two garbage men are emptying Billy’s bins and come across the Creepshow comic. They flick through it, looking at different adverts, but they see that the one for a voodoo doll has been redeemed already, much to their disappointment.


Inside the house, Stan, Billy’s abusive dad, complains that he has a sore neck – can you see where this is going? Upstairs, Billy has said Voodoo doll from the comic, and has stuck a piece of his dad clothing and hair to it, and is torturing his dad for all the abuse he has received from him, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.


Overall I did enjoy this film, but as I said at the start I struggled to stay focused as the story line changed so often. For me I thought it could've maybe worked a little better as a TV show but given as this was the first of its kind (so to speak), I admire them for trying something a bit different. I mean its gone on to become pretty popular from the looks of it...and they finally did a TV series for this! Although parts of it looked dated it was still well made with some really cool make-up throughout. It falls into that typical 80s horror film if you know what I mean. Fluffy is definitely the best in this film…may be one collectible I’d tolerate Adam getting. This is a fun 80s flick I’d recommend to anyone!


Onto Ghostbusters: Afterlife tomorrow. You can check the full list of film selections HERE.