Written by George A. Romero, based on stories by Stephen King
Directed by Michael Gornick
Starring George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour, Lois Chiles
- Commentary with director Gornick and moderated by DVD producer Perry Martin
- Featurette: “Nightmares in Foam Rubber”
- Behind the scenes photo gallery
- Original storyboard art
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment.
My Advice: Catch it on cable.
Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think horror is supposed to be reassuring. Horror is meant to bother you, make you leave a light on when you sleep, check under the bed. Horror, like real life, goes after both saint and sinner. But in this movie bad things happen to bad and/or stupid people. A trio of vicious teen boys kills a nice old couple; a wooden Indian comes to life and slaughters them. College students go to a deserted lake off season for swimming, smoke, and sex and they get eaten by some blob thing. A rich bitch after a bout of paid-for sex runs over some harmless hitchhiker and his corpse keeps hounding her. In all these cases, conventional mortality is disturbed and those who disturb it pay a heavy price. Yes, there’s a bit of gore and a few gotcha moments, but this isn’t horror. It’s more like the cosmic justice you’d see on The Twilight Zone. Now I’m not saying that it can’t be good. The Twilight Zone, along with Tales from the Darkside and Tales From the Crypt produced some good stories on that theme. But the stories presented in the movie aren’t that good.
The first story, “Old Chief Wood’nhead,” suffers from making the old couple that runs the general store so sweet and the teenage thugs that rob and kill them so scummy. I understand with limited time you may have to cheat on character development. But making them so obvious that a magnesium flare seems dim by comparison is just sloppy. The lead thug going on and on about his long black hair is like a klaxon blaring “He’s going to be scalped!” “The Raft” is just bad: the monster gives a better performance than the actors and it’s just a big gooey garbage bag. And I don’t care how horny you are, you are not going to cop a feel when there’s a slime monster floating around ready to eat you. It kinda kills the mood. Now “The Hitchhiker” is actually pretty good with Lois Chiles going slowly crazy with guilt and an increasing mangled corpse giving her a hard time. The special effects people did a very good job on the very determined hitchhiker. Still, it could have more interesting if they played up how the mangled hitchhiker could have been a figment of her imagination. Still, gore can be effective too.
This disc has some decent special features. Usually I give discs a hard time when they include photo galleries without descriptive captions. But in these galleries, it’s fairly obviously what is going on so captions aren’t necessary. You also get the storyboards to see how they started to set up the stories to film. The behind the scenes featurette obviously focuses on the special effects by interviewing the two FX artists involved: Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. As well as being informative on the techniques they used, they were honest about some of the problems they had with personnel and effects. The commentary by the director is helped by the DVD producer nudging him along. Still the director talks more about the problems with weather than problems with the crew and has nothing but good things to say about the cast. I also wished he talked about how his directing technique has changed since it’s been nearly twenty years since he directed this movie. Taken all in all, the features are nice, but they’re not enough to justify renting the lackluster Creepshow 2.
Congrats to Scott for his 200th review. His masochistic side is showing.