October is the perfect month for Netflix Instant because there are endless horror movie options. I can really psych myself up for the holiday with gruesome, gory, scary flicks. While I started watching this hilarious campy parody of b-horror movies called Chillerama, I realized blogging about a movie that includes a giant sperm eating people and humping the Statue of Liberty might be a little much.
Creepshow features five short films of various horror/suspense movies, derived from a fictional comic book of the same name. The comic book itself has this weird main character, The Creep, who reminds me a lot of the infamous Cryptkeeper but likely without that weird heckling laugh. The comic book layout is used periodically in each story, but is also used as to close and introduce the next story as if you were reading a comic. It’s a clever narrative device, especially in a horror anthology that could just end a story and awkwardly move onto the next.
The first hour of the movie is a compelling sixty minutes of cautionary tales. The first story, with a young Ed Harris (who was not hot when he was younger), is about a family waiting for the arrival of the aunt that years ago killed the family patriarch on Father’s Day. Because horror movies are about the surprises, I won’t spoil, but just know that this dad really loves cake. Stephen King steps in front of the camera in the second story, playing the title role of redneck hillbilly Jordy Verrill that is plagued by a meteor that crashes outside his home. Decked out in plaid, overalls, a bowl cut, and kooky cross eyes, King is definitely going all out on the typecast costume. With all due respect to Mr. King though.. stick to writing. That being said, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” has a nice mix of comedic moments mixed with the sadness of his isolation and impending doom.
If there’s one thing I got out of Creepshow it’s that I really wanted a slice of cake.
Creepshow reaches its phenomenal peak midway through with “Something to Tide You Over” which is a riveting, suspenseful, and tragic short. Starring Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen (you’re already hooked), a deranged Nielsen kidnaps his wife’s lover Harry (Danson) and places him into an open grave on the beach. The obvious conclusion is that Harry will be buried alive but his captor has something more sinister in mind: bury Harry up to his neck in sand as the tide rolls in. This story of all five hit me the most, oddly making me put myself in Harry’s shoes as he struggles too keep his breath as wave after wave crests over his head.
It gave me Hitchcock vibes of suspense and I loved it.
The movie itself is two hours, but in my recommendation I’d say watch the first hour and turn it off. The second hour really lags, particularly because of an excruciatingly long story called “The Crate.” While “The Crate” is the goriest of the five stories and has moments of great payoff, it never fully worked for me and dragged on and on. By the time the final vignette “They’re Creeping Up on You” came on, I was pretty much checked out which is fine because it was about a cockroach infestation. No thanks. Creepshow is available on Netflix Instant so drop this sucker in your queue and get ready for a spooky Halloween.
Or just be prepared to have a permanent beach phobia.