Creepshow (1982, dir. George A. Romero)
As with many horror movies that I encountered in my youth, Stephen King and George A. Romero’s Creepshow was introduced to me by my father. He shared many movie experiences with me and the ones that made the greatest impact on me were horror films. These types of movies made such an indelible imprint on me not only because of the impressionable age at which I viewed them, but also because my father made sure to contextualize the fear that I experienced. He always made a point to tell me, “Jason, this is only a movie and these monsters are not real. You are safe. Only your imagination can scare you worse than these images.”
As I grew up, watching real life horror unfold in the form of news reports of murders, suicides, and war showed me that the horror movies I watched were somehow a respite from the horrors of real life. Creepshow was the first time that I had seen someone purposefully drowned on screen, as with the fate of three of the characters in the segment “Something to Tide You Over.” This movie was also the first time I witnessed a head-to-toe fur-covered vegetable creature commit suicide with a shotgun. I will admit that when watching this movie as an adult, I do romanticize the relationship that I hold with this film because of the connection to my father and our habit of watching horror movies of all quality late at night, usually on Saturdays, sometimes watching several in one sitting.
The power of Creepshow was in its ability to combine humor and horror, one of the first times I recall that type of combination of genres. The segment “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill” featured the aforementioned furry vegetable suicide, which nearly melted my tiny brain at age six when I first saw it. “Father’s Day” scared me away from eating cake for like a week – and I stayed far away from cemeteries for years after that segment. “Something to Tide You Over” was pretty much a dominant nightmare scenario as a kid – some jackass other older kids burying me neck deep in sand and then running away as the tide rolled in. “The Crate” didn’t really do as much damage to me, but I still kick large human-sized boxes a few times before opening – just in case. And right now, I live out the scenario of “They’re Creeping Up on You” because the house that I’m currently living in has a bad roach problem – like, one time I caught one crawling over my toothbrush and I had to toss it. I see them crawling over stuff, and I delight in catching those fuckers, then swiftly exterminating them; make no mistake, these are not cool Joe’s Apartment-type of roaches, these are assholes.
This was a movie that introduced me to various creative ways to die on screen – from drowning to cockroach infestation. And it also introduced me to anthology horror films. The second movie is nowhere near as good as this movie, except that acidic tar monster, which was cool. I didn’t even know there was a third movie until I researched this morning – and it will never be seen by these eyes. This type of anthology, in my humble opinion, helped lay the groundwork for other anthology horror movies such as Trick ‘r’ Treat, Three…Extremes, V/H/S, and so many more. Others came before and after it, but none like this.