Video Visions: Happy 40th Birthday to Creepshow!

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I want my cake, Bedelia!

Hard to believe that one of the greatest horror anthologies of all time hit theaters forty years ago. In that span of time, I’ve had two dogs, three cats, two turtles, at least seventeen hamsters, three hundred goldfish and beta fish (most of them lasting two days), one salamander and one dwarf rabbit that grew to be the size of Gunnar Hansen. A big fuck you to the pet store clerk who sold me that bill of goods. Dwarf my ass. Oh, and I went from a virgin to way not a virgin, got married and had two amazing children. 

And now back to the real story. When I watched the coming attraction for Creepshow on TV and saw that it was the love child of Stephen King and George Romero, I believe I had a Bob Rossian happy accident in my skivvies. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead had rewired my brain a few years earlier and King was feeding me nightmare fuel every night before I hit the lights. His cocaine and booze years made for my caviar and champagne days and nights. 

What took Creepshow to a whole other level was the way it was shot as if we the audience were flipping through the pages of a comic book. Every kid my age read comic books then, unlike now where they watch a three hour superhero movie and then go back to their video games and Tik Tok. If you’re one of them, pick up a comic book. Reading is fundamental! Watching basically the same movie, with different steroid cases in tights, ain’t.  Anyway, a movie that blended horror with comics seemed to be literally made for me and everyone my age. 

Now, if my old brain is firing just right, I do remember the magazine-sized comic adaptation coming out before the movie. I’m talking a pre, shouting spoilers! world. Don’t think that would fly today. If you tell anyone the slightest aspect of a movie now, they need therapy and a comfort yak. The comic had to hit stores in the summer because I remember my friend getting a copy at the B. Dalton’s bookstore (you couldn’t find it in the comic racks at the stationery store) and us passing it back and forth as we read it from cover to cover each day. Depressed each time I had to relinquish it, I hustled some side gigs to scrounge up the cash to buy my own. By the time CREEPSHOWthe movie came out that fall (November 12th, my future wife’s birthday!), it was dog eared with a broken spine that no longer cracked, but sighed wide open, kinda like a sad hooker. Thankfully, my father wasn’t a ball breaker like the cocksman of all horror cocksman, Tom Atkins, in the movie. In fact, I kinda think he envied me a little bit. My dad fed into my horror fascination. I’ll bet my future lottery winnings he read Creepshow when I wasn’t looking. Along with the black and white Conan comics he used to bring home every now and then. 

You’d think knowing the stories inside and out would take away from watching it on the big screen. But you’d be wrong, ya filthy animal! We were blown away by the beast from The Crate, and howled at King’s overacting as the moss-laden Jordy Verrill. I couldn’t wrap my head around Leslie Nielson being the bad guy in Something to Tide You Over. Then, I knew him as the ultra cool captain from Forbidden Planet (and forgot what a racist asshole he had portrayed in Day of the Animals).  And don’t get me started on the bugs taking over E.G. Marshall’s apartment in They’re Creeping Up on You. That one just gave me the itchies all over and a lifelong fear of cockroaches. 

There was a house not far from me that my friends and I were convinced was just like the antiseptic environs of They’re Creeping Up On You. Whenever we rode our bikes past it, we would wonder if there were hissing cockroaches crawling through the drains and writhing on the floor. I scaled the thousand steps that led to the front door several times, trying to get a peek inside just to see if we were right. Alas, the residents were fans of blinds, unlike most movies where women preferred to slowly undress or couples made love by the window with the lights on, unencumbered by shame or at the very least, a thin curtain. 

I was able to see Creepshow one time before it disappeared from theaters. I had to wait forever for it to arrive on VHS (and for my dad to purchase a VCR). So, when the movie was gone, it was back to that comic. I had developed a rule that if you didn’t like Creepshow, you were not someone I wanted to associate with. There was also the shunning of strictly DC fans, kids who didn’t wear Pro Keds, weirdos who liked broccoli, and a whole host of other inanities. There’s a reason why dumb rhymes with young. For all you breeders out there with young kids and teens, just remember that you’re dealing with brain damaged chimps. Always guard your face and genitals. (And if that intrigues you, go see Jordan Peele’s Nope.)

Meteor Shit!

A wanna-be artist at that time, I would spend many a day tying to recreate the artwork in Creepshow. Sure, I could draw Lucky the Duck like they asked me to in the ads in my comic books or inside a matchbook, but I could never get Ted Danson just right. And all of my attempts at Adrienne Barbeau came out like something from Red Sonja. I loved my Stevie Wayne too much to draw her as a shrill harpie. 

When Creepshow made it to glorious home video, I rented it right away, and then promptly bought it. My friends and I would watch it in my living room when we didn’t feel like playing tackle football in the street. And a few years later when I started dating this hot girl (who became my hot wife), I couldn’t wait to show her this film that had sung to me. She dug it, passing my test. Whew! 

Somewhere along the line, I lost the comic. And my youth. Those fun days of watching horror movies all day were replaced by a career at the phone company — its own horror by a country mile — getting married and starting a family.  I forgot about Creepshow, though my wife did buy me a DVD of the much lesser Creepshow 2 from the Best Buy bargain bin one holiday. Shoutout to The Raft segment. That’s a great one and could be a whole move of its own. 

Even though I saw and loved Creepshow at such a seminal age, I have not gone on to become a horror anthology fan. You’d think that and Trilogy of Terror would seal the deal for me, but, nah. We’ve reviewed a few anthologies on my Final Guys podcast, and when they hit the calendar, I always feel a sense of dread. Maybe it’s because I know they won’t stand up to Creepshow (Or, in my opinion, the best anthology of all, Trick ‘r Treat, which also had a comic book feel. Sense a preference?) 

Romero has left us, and King is writing bigger things now. I understand. It gets harder and harder to reconnect with that wild wonder of youth the closer you find yourself wandering the back nine in search of a steady pee stream and balls that don’t dip into the toilet water. Creepshow is still fun to watch, but it no longer holds me in its grasp. Though I did get a kick out of showing it to my daughter a few years ago when she was a teen and seeing how much she loved it. Now, I sit and wait for a grandchild to corrupt. 

Something special did happen that involved Creepshow a few months back. One of my friends from way back in the day reached out and asked me if I’d like his copy of the Creepshow comic. We hadn’t seen each other in almost forty years and here he comes out of the blue offering me the holy grail of comics Who was I to say no?

And you know what? Flipping through those pages, I got all those old feelings back. Maybe it was because I spent more time with the comic than the movie. I mean, the movie is two hours long and it took me a quarter of that to read the comic. I don’t care about the why of it all. It was just nice to feel the magic again. 

So, keep on truckin’, Creepshow. There’s a new generation that is discovering and loving you. I highly recommend you all add it to your Horrortober watch list. While you’re at it, check out the other horror legends that came out in 1982. It might have been the best year for horror in history. And that’s not a subjective opinion. I mean, check out this list: The Thing, The Entity, Halloween 3, Slumber Party Massacre, Basket Case, Poltergeist, Friday the 13th part 3 and House on Sorority Row just to name a few! More importantly, if you can get your hand on the comic, read it late one night under the covers.  

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my kitchen for roaches. 

Something's bugging me.

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal—he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. You can follow his madness at

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