1982 was a hell of a year for movies – well, genre movies in particular. Blade Runner, The Thing, Poltergeist, ET, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Conan The Barbarian, Tron, Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior, The Dark Crystal… one hell of a year indeed. Young ‘uns these days may watch those thirty-plus-years-old films and scoff at static matte paintings and blue screen bleed and physical effects etc whilst pointing fingers at the cgi-till-your-eyes-bleed wonders of many modern day tour-de-force blockbusters, but the films of 1982 were fresh and varied and so very different from one another. That year was the true climax, the promise of the Star Wars phenomenon of 1977 come to fruition, a Golden Summer of genre movies. It had taken five years but Hollywood had finally gotten its sci-fi/fantasy act together. Sadly, we didn’t realise back then that we wouldn’t see anything quite like it ever again.
It just seems so remarkable looking back on it. I recall an ad in Heavy Metal magazine for Blade Runner saying something like “… Ridley Scott (Alien),Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Douglas Trumbull (CE3K)…” well, no marketing budget can buy adlines like that; the coming together of talent back then was amazing. Now, this springs to mind one film I neglected to mention on that earlier list –Creepshow, a glorious horror anthology that might have had a similar adline, “…brought to us by Horror greats; George Romero of Night and Dawn of the Dead fame, famous novelist Stephen King and make-up wizard Tom Savini”. Well it certainly beats ‘from the producers of Hostel 2 or Halloween 5 or Alien vs Predator’.
Inspired by the infamous 1950s EC Horror Comics, Creepshow was an affectionate nod back to those vaguely anarchic morality tales of horror, comics brought to life in bright four-colour photography. I’m not sure the film was really about being scary (although it does have some rather effective ‘jumps’ and shock moments), rather it always seemed about being fun. Now that may seem a strange thing to be saying about a horror flick but really, that’s what Creepshow was and perhaps is even more so today.
Just released last week in a handsome Blu-ray edition here in the UK, Creepshow is just fun, fun, fun. Sheer joy to watch. The cast is to die for- Hal Holbrook, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Ed Harris, Adrienne Barbeau, E.G. Marshall, Ted Danson… its a pleasure just to sit back and watch them do their stuff, with thoughts of the great films that were behind them and for others greater films still ahead of them. Even Stephen King gets to camp it up, starring as the ill-fated dumb farmer Jordy Verrill. Its cheap, its brash, its five tales are short and to the point. Ed Harris’ bizarre dance to even-more bizarre Disco music is worth the price of admission alone. Its a great little movie the charm of which just seems to improve with age. The old adage they don’t make ’em like they used to is never truer than it is for films like Creepshow. An unadulterated pleasure. The young ‘uns may well scoff at its dated charms, but hell, what do they know?
Like the Arrow release of Lifeforce a few months ago (really, have we ever had it this good as we have of late?), this release is loaded with great special features, including two audio commentaries and a 90-minute doc, that, while included in a SE DVD some years back has here, incredibly, been remastered in HD (that’s one in the eye for Warner whose releases of Blade Runner have all failed to present its film-length Dangerous Days documentary in HD). Add in a Savini doc, deleted scenes and galleries of VHS art, posters, lobby cards and pressbooks… for any fan of this film its a sumptuous pinch-me-I’m-dreaming release. Wonderful stuff.