Creepshow (UK - BD RB)
Marcus takes an early look at the spooky short stories of Creepshow on Blu-ray...
With a screenplay by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, this series of comic book horror short stories provides some creepy scares with returned from the dead relatives, men turning into space weeds and Ted Danson buried up to the neck on a sea shore. This is the 1982 cult classic Creepshow and it's creeping it's way onto Blu-ray soon.
I won't beat about the bush, I'm not much of a fan of Creepshow. It's not so much the film's fault as I struggle with short story movies generally, even if I usually like the idea of them when they have an over spilling of great cast members like Creepshow does. From when I first saw it as a kid, I just didn't connect with any of the largely goofy stories and watching the film in the middle of the night with the promise of scares and creepy imagery just left me wholy underwhelmed as I guess I was hoping for more from it.
I've not revisited the film since that night and have to admit I'd all but forgotten the details of the film (like the cast, and the even that Stephen King had such a big part of the making of the film)so this was a fairly fresh rewatch for me.
I still really struggle with the goofy comic book nature of it all. The bright neon red and blue lighting, the odd framed cut-aways and the largely hokey acting. Sure I love seeing a young dancing Ed Harris and the head to head between Ted Danson and Leslie Neilsen is great. I also dig the the make up and special effects here which makes my love of practical effects tingle but beyond maybe the kooky silliness of the Stephen King starring short that has the writer playing it super odd while he slowly turns into space weed, I find myself getting bored in most of these short stories.
That is until the final cockroach short. The story of a reclusive clean freak in his spotless apartment slowly getting overrun with cockroaches arrived and the memories of it hit me quite vividly. It's strange that I've held on to this short as I don't have a fear of bugs or anything and as I said, Creepshow never really struck a cord with me the first time around but I remembered everything about this short. The dialogue, the beats, the over sized spyhole on the door. I've thought about and refereed to that short over the years but at the same time had forgotten that it was even in Creepshow if I'm honest. I love the stuff with the cereal and the sheer numbers of roaches as the tension builds and builds. It's a great short and for me at least a real highlight in a fairly flat collection of horror stories.
From the outset the bright and fresh image here displays a distinct HD makeover. The image is all but dirt free, has no obvious signs of damage and looks to be making the most of its new Blu-ray home. The image is a little bit soft around the edges but given the dancing grain in the opening animated sequence I wouldn't say it was down to any sort of DNR. With that said faces have a waxy look from time to time and the sharp detailed elements lose a bit of crispness.
Colours are really quite natural with skin tones looking very good. Reds can range from just being there to popping out of the screen or even flaring to a warm pink all within single scenes, neon blues glow off the screen pretty consistently as does the extreme red and blue lighting when the nasties turn up. Also the neon greens in the Stephen King staring short are pretty great, making for an awesome glowing neon image.
This video review sounds overly harsh reading it through and the things I've highlighted are pretty minor because generally this video presentation is pretty fantastic and much better than I'd ever expect Creepshow looking.
The 5.1 track doesnt really shake off the film's age but its does its best. It's strong enough, spreads the chirps of nature and general ambience to the rear speakers and does its best to full encompass the viewer but it all sounds a bit pitchy, often sounds confined and doesnt really come with a lot of underpining bass.
The synthy score sounds pretty strong, even if the higher pitches grate a little. Dialogue is always good and clear and gnarly little sounds such as dripping goo or living dead bodies all come with plenty of eerie goodness, all handled well by the track.
The track has its limitations but its liveliness keeps it fun. There's always elements of melodramatic horror score, some sort of sound effect or general ambience keeping it kooky and this 5.1 track does a good job at using its channels the best that it can given the film's age and limitations.
The disc comes with two commentary tracks, the first with George R Romero and Tom Savini and the second with director of photography Michael Gornick, actor John Amplas, property,master Bruce Alan Miller, and Make Up Assistant Daryl Ferrucci. Combined they cover pretty much every element of the film.
'Just Desserts: The Making Of' (89 mins HD) is an incredibly long and detailed making of starting with the EC Comics that inspired the project. Romero talks a whole lot about his life and he talks of his path to Creepshow and his relationships with people such as Stephen King and his regular cast choices of the time. There's plenty of input from a lot of them too making this a fully rounded look at the cult classic.
'Behind the Screams' with Tom Savini (26:29 HD) has a ton of original footage showing the making of the special effects in the film. It's very raw but still very interesting.
There's also Deleted Scenes (15:20 HD), the Theatrical Trailer' the Original TV Spot and some Stills Galleries.
I'm not really a fan of Creepshow as a whole but I know there are plenty out there that are and they should all look forward to their revisit to the film on Blu-ray. The disc looks pretty fantastic with minor drawbacks, it sounds great and comes housed with a selection of extras that really celebrate the film in real depth.
Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 28th October 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Stereo PCM English
Extras: Commentaries, Documentary, Featurettes, trailers, Still Gallery
Easter Egg: No
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Stephen King
Length: 120 minutes
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