In the early 1980s, two greats of the horror genre teamed up to make a movie inspired by the gross horror comics they loved as children. The result was Creepshow a film that combined the playful horror action of Stephen King with the visual style of George A. Romero and the creature effects of a third legendary artist, Tom Savini, for a good measure.
Creepshow with its five horror story segments and animated sequences, was an instant cult classic among genre fans, inspiring a comic adaptation, a sequel to the 1987 movie, and now a new series on Shudder.
To celebrate the streaming revival of Creepshow here are 1
. 1 It started with Salems Lot .
The Road to Creepshow began in the late 1970s, when George A. Romero performed his vampire movie. Martin at film festivals. After watching the film and enjoying it, Warner Bros. executives approached Romero and asked if he would be interested in meeting Stephen King, who had just completed film rights to his novel Salems Lot sold to the studio. Romero agreed, and the two joined forces after they both discovered they were a fan of each other's work.
"In the end, Warners decided to make Salems Los for television and not for the theater. Steve was fired and I was not invited any more, and they did, "Romero recalled. "But we stayed in contact."
When Salems Lot did not work, Romero and producer Richard P. Rubinstein traveled to Maine in 1979 to discuss the possibility of adapting King's post-apocalyptic novel. The Stand into a movie, but it became clear that the budget required to bring the epic to the screen might be a bit out of their reach. From there, Romero King posed the idea of a horror anthology chronicling the history of horror films, with each segment representing a different era. King liked the anthology idea, but with a different influence.
"Steve said, No, you know what? We both grew up with EC Comics. We should do a comic.
According to Rubinstein, he then asked King how long it would take him to write a screenplay. King replied "60 Days" and delivered the first draft of Creepshow exactly 60 days later. The film was the screenplay debut of King.
. 2 Creepshow was a royal family affair.
When Creepshow came together, Romero came up with the idea that King should do more than just contribute to the project as a screenwriter. He persuaded the author to do much more than make a cameo and star in his own segment of the film as the title character in "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verrill" (after King's short story "Weeds"). But even that was not the end of the King's work on the film: The Little Boy in the Frame Story of the film, caught reading his comic book Creepshow by his angry father, is played by King's son Joseph Hillstrom King, better known today as horror novelist and comic writer Joe Hill.
. 3 An EC comics legend contributed Art.
. As Creepshow drew inspiration from the EC Comics horror titles that had devoured King and Romero as children, Romero sought to recreate the look of these comics on screen. For the animation that runs between the segments of the film, he turned to the animator Rick Catizone, whose company shared a building with Romero's own commercial production company in Pittsburgh, but it also involved the physical copy of Creepshow Comic as a prop in the movie. For this, Romero turned to EC comic legend Jack Kamen, whose works included classic titles such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror .
. 4 Stephen King was intentionally over the top.
In "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verrill," King starred as the title character, a land man from Maine who sees a meteor crashing on his land one night after he accidentally broke it open and discovered his belongings and His body is quickly overrun by bright green alien moss. King's performance is marked by exaggerated mannerisms that seem to have outgrown him, possibly due to inexperience. According to Romero, that was all part of the concept.
"I think Steve has not forgiven me until now because I just told him to play the Roadrunner in the Warner Brothers cartoons. .. Just go into the left field and exaggerate it as often as you want, "Romero recalled." And of course the critics came back and said, "Well, that's not a very subtle performance, and it should not be I mean, it's supposed to be a cartoon, it's basically a cartoon. "
5. Leslie Nielsen kept making everyone laugh.
Because he was making five separate story segments and a frame story, it was Romero has been able to fill his cast with a variety of actors, from aspiring to seasoned stars and comedians to Hollywood veterans, one of whom was Leslie Nielsen, the vicious and vengeful husband of Richard in "Something to Tide You Over." Nielsen's appearance in the film is particularly menacing because he seems to kill his cheating wife and lover (played by Ted Danson, star of Cheers and The Good Plac e ) According to the crew of Creepshow much of the joy on screen was due to a farting machine that Nielsen always had with him. According to Romero, he would even bring the machine to the restaurant after daily filming, and according to make-up effects guru Tom Savini, his manic laughter of terror towards the end of his segment is also due to the Furzmaschine.
"He laughs because he makes everyone laugh with the Furzmaschine," said Savini. The creep was made from a real skeleton.
To achieve the many makeup effects required for Creepshow from covering actors in the Undead's flesh to building a brand new monster for "The Crate," Romero turned turned to Tom Savini, who had already worked with Romero on films such as Dawn of the Dead Martin and Knightriders . For Savini, whose prerogative included the memorable Gore effects of Friday the 13th 1980, it was a chance to break out of the "Wizard of Gore" "white horse into which his career had put him until then  "I wanted to make the transition to monsters and creatures and character makeup and Creepshow was the opportunity to do so," Savini said later.
Among the many challenges facing Savini – including the design of the monster in "The Crate," which required a lengthy consultation with Rob Thing's magician for The Thing Effects (19459004), he designed "The Creep," the cryptkeeper creature that introduced the movie and acted as a mascot According to Savini, the construction of this animatronic creature began in a very frightening way: with a real skeleton.
"When the box arrived, it bore the name" A Product of India. " 7 The real star of the movie is an ashtray.
Since Creepshow is an anthology, no character wears the entire film. Even The Creep, the movie's mascot, appears only in the frame story. But there is one unlikely star that happens to appear in each of the film's five short stories: On "Father's Day," the first section, Nathan Grantham is murdered by his daughter Bedelia with a dark marble ashtray. This ashtray then reappears in every other story in the movie as a kind of dark omen. It appears on the desks in "The lonely death of Jordy Verrill" and "The Box", appears on a bedside table in "Something to surprise you" and becomes a soap dish in "They sneak up on you". If this ashtray is part of your facility, then you're going to have something terrible.
. 8 The cockroaches were brought from Trinidad, and some of them never left.
Each segment of Creepshow faced its own filmmaking challenges, but most of them faded compared to the challenges the crew faced "They sneak up on you," the final segment the movie that should be cut someday. According to Romero, there were concerns that the film's budget would not allow them to do the segment justice, but Romero and King "fought for it" and decided to record it. That meant they needed cockroaches. Many, many after cockroaches.
After Romero and Rubinstein discovered that ordering a "New York Cockroach" from a catalog would cost around 50 cents each, they turned to the entomologists Ray Mendez and David Brody, who became the official cockroach wranglers of the shoot ,
Mendez and Brody drove to Trinidad to dig enough roaches to dig in. According to Savini, they eventually returned to the United States with around 18,000 cockroaches, which were then hatched in a special trailer on the set This was referred to as the "Roach Motel."
Cockroach shooting proved challenging for a number of reasons, with some members of the crew handling their presence better than others, and they were adept at distributing themselves across the site – even over walls that were covered with vaseline to make them unclimbable – that even their wranglers began to lose track of them.
"Cockroaches take no direction, so they could just throw them out Desk … 20 seconds, you can not see them, they're gone, you can not see anybody, "Romero recalled," now take the phone apart and inside the phone was a phone-shaped thing that … you know, was just a solid cockroach. Everything, the computer, everything. They would come in everywhere.
After the shoot, the cockroaches were all exterminated because they were imported from outside the US. That's the official story, anyway.
"I do not know how many of them got away," said assistant director and composer John Harrison. "Much has come away."
9. Creepshow introduced Greg Nicotero into filmmaking.
In 1981, during filming Creepshow Romero called a teenager from his hometown of Pittsburgh and asked if he would be interested in attending a sentence. The teenager, a fan who had met Romero on a trip to Rome, seized the opportunity and it changed his life. His name was Greg Nicotero and Creepshow became a defining moment for him. This set visit resulted in a working relationship with makeup effects wizard Tom Savini, which led to Nicotero's own career in make-up effects, which eventually earned him a job at The Walking Dead Director.
Now, in 2019, Nicotero is the creator and figurehead of a new iteration of Creepshow which appeared in September as a television series in the horror streaming service Shudder Blessing of King himself. Nicotero is in his He has become one of the most important creators of horror, and he attributes all of this to Creepshow when he was a child.
"I would never have imagined that in Pittsburgh the movie industry or any special effects or monsters or anything like that – I did not even know it was a job," said Nicotero of the New York Times . "For me it was a hobby."
10. Creepshow is part of the Stephen King Universe.
Long-time Stephen King fans know that many of his stories seem to play in a common fictional universe or even a common fictional multiverse. Considering his epic saga Dark Tower . We know this in part because King often uses fictitious cities in his hometown of Maine, creating his own version of the state map.
Thanks to "The lonely death of Jordy Verrill", Creepshow is expressly part of this fictional Maine landscape. In the end, this story reveals that Jordy's farm is located about eight kilometers outside of King's most famous fictional city, Castle Rock, the scene for stories like Needful Things The Sun Dog The Dead Zone and more.
Desserts Only: The Making of Creepshow (2007)