31 for 31: 'Creepshow' and 'Creepshow 2'

For the whole month of October, our own Kevin Stairiker will be watching a horror movie a day and cataloging his findings in a new feature called “31 for 31.”

Since this was my first true double-feature of the season, it feels only right to write about both “Creepshow” films in unison.

Viewed as this month’s much-heralded First Friday Fright Night, it was an absolute treat to see both of these movies on the big screen. Zoetropolis was the perfect place for “Creepshow,” since it’s the kind of place you can curl up on a couch surrounded by like-minded weirdos.

The first “Creepshow” is a cheesy classic, “Creepshow 2” is mostly just cheese. But that doesn’t stop them both from being entertaining in their own ways. The great thing about anthology films is that everything moves at a brisk pace and if you don’t like an installment, just wait ten minutes or so. The clear differential between the films is that the first shimmers with popular actors and five short installments, whereas the second is relegated to three and relative no-names.

I won’t go into every single segment from both films, but the top three deserve special attention:

  1. Something to Tide You Over

Only two years after the role that would significantly change the parts he would act in, “Airplane!,” Leslie Nielson shines in this installment as a vicious, humorless sociopath. Believing his wife and her lover, a prime “Cheers”-era Ted Danson, to be having an affair, Nielson kidnaps them both and separately buries them to their chins on the beach. The two of them get their revenge in true fitting “Creepshow” fashion, by coming back as zombies and repeating the process on Nielson. “Something to Tide You Over” shines almost entirely because of Nielson and his truly underrated performance as a villain. It’s a shame that he didn’t get to play a villain in a full-length film after this, as he was pretty much relegated to parody films for the next 20 years.

2. They’re Creeping Up On You

This is the segment that had people audibly groaning and turning away the most in theaters on Friday. If you hate bugs of any kind, especially cockroaches, this is not the installment for you. Veteran character actor E. G. Marshall plays the world’s grumpiest germophobe, who lives in a sealed off apartment to ward off potential bug infestation. Can you imagine what happens to the guy in a “Creepshow” movie who is deathly terrified of bugs? You probably can. The climax of this installment featured more cockroaches than anyone in the theater was ready for. It’s a simple trick, but worse than zombies, ghosts and monsters, people REALLY hate bugs.

3. The Raft

Far and away the best installment from “Creepshow 2,” “The Raft” is another simple trick stretched out for maximum scares. Four bonehead teenagers decide to go for a swim in a lake to the titular raft, only to realize soon afterward that there is an otherworldly goop stalking them from the water. One by one, the goop gets them until the classic pan over to a sign shrouded by brush that read “No swimming allowed.” “The Raft” is one of the only stories that carries with it a real sense of dread, even though you know where it’s going narratively as soon as the the teens disrobe.

As far as horror anthologies go, you can’t get much better than a team up of Stephen King and George Romero.

Double feature By-the-numbers

Total deaths (“Creepshow”): 12
Total deaths (“Creepshow 2”): 13
Bottles of magical whiskey that bring overbearing fathers back to life: 1
Total Tom Savini cameos: 2
Segments that find bad things happening to good people: 4
Segments that find good things happening to bad people: 0
Minutes until Stephen King’s redneck yokel character becomes insufferable in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”: 5
Age of the monster in “The Crate”: 147
Animated bullies that straight up get eaten by a giant Venus Flytrap at the end of “Creepshow 2”: 4
Segments that mostly consist of one character repeating some sort of catchphrase over and over: 3

Total movie death count: 81
Watched via: Zoetropolis (and Mr. Suit)
Worth the watch? Yes/Yes
Arbitrary “Creepshow” rating: 4.5/5 heart-attack inducing cockroaches
Arbitrary “Creepshow 2” rating: 3/5 mowed-down hitchhikers


BONUS: Arbitrary “Creepshow” segment power rankings

  1. Something to Tide You Over
  2. They’re Creeping Up on You
  3. The Raft
  4. The Crate
  5. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
  6. The Hitch-Hiker
  7. Old Chief Wood’nhead
  8. Father’s Day

31 for 31 viewing list

  1. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
  2. Cube (1997)
  3. White Zombie (1932)
  4. Demons (Dèmoni) (1985)
  5. Phantasm II (1988)
  6. Kuroneko (1968)
  7. Creepshow (1982) / Creepshow 2 (1987)
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Posted in Arts+Culture, Arts+Culture – Lancaster, Movies, Out & About

Kevin Stairiker is a features writer for Fly. He is a graduate of Temple University and enjoys writing in third person. When he isn't writing, he's probably playing guitar for a litany of bands, reading comics or providing well-needed muscle at The Double Deuce.

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