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In 1982, horror author Stephen King teamed up with zombiemeister George Romero and special effects wizard Tom Savini to make Creepshow, a Horror anthology Film with an all-star cast (including Leslie Nielsen, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Adrienne Barbeau's cleavage, and Stephen King himself) which tells five stories:
- Father's Day: Bedelia Grantham's domineering father Nathan had her boyfriend killed. That Father's Day, she proceeded to bash Dad's head in with an ashtray as he yammered loudly for his cake. But you can't keep a hungry man down. Nathan wants his cake, and a little thing like dying isn't going to keep him from getting it.
- The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: Backwoods hick Jordy Verrill (King) thinks his financial woes are solved when a meteor crashes into his front yard, and he intends to sell it to a local college professor. But Jordy's hopes for both fortune and survival are dashed when the meteor turns out to contain a parasitic alien plant. Partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space.
- Something to Tide You Over: Control freak Richard Vickers (Nielsen), upon learning that his wife, Becky, is sleeping around with well-to-do beach bum Harry Wentworth (Danson), enacts a sadistic revenge upon them: by burying them in the sand below the high tide line at his stretch of private beach. Richard is certain they'll be gone once they drown. Unfortunately, he never saw Father's Day. Otherwise he'd know that death isn't always the end.
- The Crate: An old crate is found underneath the stairs at a prestigious university. Upon being opened by Professor Dexter Stanley and janitor Mike Latimer, it turns out to contain an ancient and ferocious beast. After the thing kills and eats Mike and a grad student, Dexter goes to his colleague Henry Northrup (Holbrook) for help. Henry is married to a cruel shrew of a woman named Wilma (Barbeau and her cleavage), and a flesh-eating monster is a tempting alternative to divorce.
- They're Creeping Up on You!: Upson Pratt, a loathsome, racist, eccentric, germophobic billionaire, hates pretty much everybody. He treats his hard-working employees like dirt while he rules his multinational business empire from a sterile, germ-proof apartment. After driving a business rival to suicide, Pratt finds out the hard way that sometimes, if grieving widows wish hard enough, they can make lots of killer roaches invade his domicile.
- Absolute Cleavage: It's Adrienne frickin' Barbeau!
- Abusive Parents: Nathan Grantham is the dad from hell. Also, the little boy's father in the framing story is a real scumbag, too.
That's why God created fathers.
- Affably Evil: Richard, even as he's extracting his revenge. He talks to Harry almost like he's meeting an old friend he hasn't seen in a while.
- Alcoholic Parent: Dad in the framing story, as per the Stephen King Drinking Game.
- Asshole Victim: By the bucket-full.
- Nathan Grantham who among his various crimes, killed his daughter's husband and got what he deserved. Till he came Back from the Dead that is.
- YMMV on whether they died or not in the end, but Richard and Cass Grantham qualify. Richard being condescending towards his sister's husband and Cass being a spoiled brat.
- Harry Wentworth is considered a minor one, since it was his affair with Richard Vicker's wife Becky that caused both to be buried up to their necks in sand and having the tide wash over them.
- Richard Vickers himself, for committing such a horrible deed above.
- Wilma "Billy" Northrup, a drunken socialite who emotionally abuses her husband Henry, to the point where he daydreams killing her. When Dexter Stanley tells him about the monster in the crate, he sees it as a golden opportunity to do it.
- Upson Pratt, During a hostile takeover he drove a company owner to suicide. He also treats those he considers beneath him, like bugs that deserve to get stepped on. It's no wonder the cockroaches were interested in eating him from the inside and out.
- And lest we forget the father in the prologue. It's one thing to not want your kid reading comics you don't like. It's another when said kid gets slapped in the face when he calls his father a hypocrite for reading porno. Billy got even with him through a voodoo doll.
- Author Appeal: Stephen King adores EC Comics, and this project (and the related comic book tie-in) is his homage.
- Back from the Dead
- Beach Bury: Done to both Harry and Becky by Richard with the intent of letting the tide drown them both. Richard gets the same treatment by the story's end.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Richard is obsessed with cameras.
- Big Eater: Staying locked up in a crate for so long must have played hell on the Eldritch Horror's appetite, because he tucks away two full-grown men and still has enough room to fit Henry's wife for dessert.
- Blasphemous Boast: Aunt Bedelia is "older than God."
- Bloody Hilarious
- Body Horror: A fairly moderate example with Jordy. An extremely severe example with Mr. Pratt.
- Break the Haughty: What happens to Mr. Pratt.
- Came From the Sky: The meteor that lands in Jordy's front yard.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Upson Pratt.
- Creator Cameo: Aside from King as Jordy, Tom Savini is one of the garbage men at the closing segment of the frame story.
- Creepy Cockroach: The "They're Creeping Up On You" segment.
- Cultural Stereotypes: Hick Jordy is totally incompetent and all of the rich folks (particularly Upson Pratt) are total dicks.
- Death by Racism: It isn't really what kills Pratt, but his racist comments to his apartment's ironically-named superintendent, Mr. White, don't endear him to us any.
- Defiant to the End: Richard as he receives his Karmic Death.
I CAN HOLD MY BREATH! I CAN HOLD MY BREATH A LOOOONG TIME!
- Disproportionate Retribution: Even considering the fact that EC Comics morality has a much lower threshold for bloody revenge, it's still hard to see what Hank Blaine did to deserve his death.
- Or Jordy Verrill, for that matter.
- Well, that's another common theme of EC Comics stories: bad things can happen to undeserving people simply by their being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Driven to Suicide: Poor Jordy.
- Upson Pratt's hostile takeover of a company drives the CEO to suicide - and that absolutely delights Upson Pratt.
- Eighties Hair
- Eldritch Abomination: Quite possibly the thing in the crate. It's Really Seven Hundred Years Old and apparently doesn't need food.
- Famous Last Words / Look Behind You!:
Wilma: Same old Henry; afraid of your own shadow! You know what, Henry, you’re a regular barnyard exhibit. Sheep’s eyes, chicken guts, piggy friends……, and shit for brains! No good at departmental politics, no good at makin’ money, no good at makin’ an impression on anybody,….and no good at all in BED! When was the last time ya got it up, Henry? Huh? When was the last time you were a man in our bed? Now get outta my way, Henry, or I swear to God you’ll be wearin’ your balls for earrings!
- "Just tell it to call you Billie!"
- Fan Disservice: Ed Harris, disco dancing. Aaaaaaaaaaah!
- Fluffy the Terrible: The monster in The Crate was nicknamed "Fluffy" by Tom Savini.
- Framing Story
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Oh so much. It's fun to pause the video to read the letters page or some of The Creep's Deadpan Snarking. For example, at the end of The Crate, in the final comic book frame, the Creep snarks, "Oh, Henry. You didn't think you could drown your fears that easily?"
- That ghoul puts the Crypt Keeper to shame!
- Genre Savvy: The first place Richard shoots when he's confronted by waterlogged corpses? The head, and subsequently the eye, too bad...
- Guns Are Worthless: Something to Tide You Over.
- Heroic BSOD: Literally. Blue screen.
- Hunting Accident: Bedelia Grantham's beau was a victim of this.
- I Ate What?: Guess what was in the cereal, Mr. Pratt?
- If I Can't Have You: Richard admits he's no longer in love with his wife, but she belongs to him, and he keeps what he owns.
- I Know You're Watching Me: Harry's Famous Last Words.
Harry: RICHARD! I'm going to get you. I'm going to get you.
- Immune to Bullets
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Henry has two of these about killing his wife, Billie. The first is possibly a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Jordy also has one about getting rich from the meteor.
- Jerkass: Upson Pratt.
- To be fair, nearly everyone in the film is a complete asshole, save a few exceptions - most notably Jordy, Hank and Dexter.
- Karma Houdini: Arguably Dexter and Henry.
- Killer Eldritch Monkey: The thing in the crate looks like a Lovecraftian baboon. In King's original short story, it was more like a badger or wolverine, as befits its icy origins.
- Since the creature was found in Antarctica in the film, it's probably a Yeti.
- Mood Whiplash: The film swings from horror to comedy and back in an eyeblink.
- Not of This Earth: Jordy's meteor.
- Neck Snap: Nathan Grantham unleashes the ultimate neck-snapping kill with no effort whatsoever.
- Oh Crap: Harry when seeing the incoming tide.
Harry: ... Oh my God...
- Older Than They Look: Despite being "older than God," Great Aunt Bedelia actually looks a decade younger than Aunt Sylvia.
- Offscreen Teleportation
- Out with a Bang: Lampshaded by Upton Pratt to Mrs. Katzenmeyer about her husband's suicide.
- Plant Person: With a very sad demise, indeed. Although it's not much of a spoiler, because you did read the title of the second story, right?
- Playing Against Type: Zigzagged with Leslie Nielsen. If you watch the movies he made before he went through the syndrome named after him, you'll realize that, at this point in his career, he's Still Got It.
- Psychic Powers: Psychic zombie powers, no less; used to bring a tombstone down onto Hank's head. Hank is Ed Harris, by the way.
- Recycled: the Series: Tales from the Darkside is the Spiritual Successor. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is considered to be the "real" Part Three, since the film that is actually called Creepshow 3 had none of the same people involved.
- And eventually, Creepshow's chief inspiration was revived as a TV series, maybe even thanks to this movie.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted, somewhat. Nathan Grantham doesn't so much come back from the dead to get revenge as he does to just get his darn cake. We say "somewhat" because he settles for Aunt Sylvia's head.
- Rule of Scary: It is never given a good explanation of how the zombies of stories 1 and 3 are re-animated, or how the crate monster was able to survive for many years without needing food, or the cockroach invasion against Pratt. They just happen because they have to. And let's not even talk about zombie Nathan's Psychic Powers...
- Society Marches On / Inflation Negation: Upton Pratt's hi-tech apartment costs a mere $3200 a month. In midtown Manhattan.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The crate monster.
- Smug Snake: Richard.
- Take That, Critics!: The Framing Device was a poorly-disguised jab at the Moral Guardians whose credulous reactions to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent led to the creation of the Comics Code in 1954 and the subsequent abandonment of titles like Tales from the Crypt by publishers.
- Terrified of Germs: The Villain Protagonist of the fifth story, making his fate especially karmic.
- Too Dumb to Live: Hank lays underneath the tombstone for almost a full minute before Zombie!Nathan gets around to squishing his head with it, far too long to just chalk up to being paralyzed with fear. Guess snobs don't have the "fight or flight" reflex.
- And there's poor Jordy..
- Unusual Euphemism: "You nunkhead!"
- Unwanted Revival: It's a safe bet that no one wanted Nathan Grantham to come back from the dead.
- Richard Vickers probably wasn't thrilled with seeing his wife again, either.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Upton Pratt equates those "beneath" him (in the most racist, elitist way) with cockroaches. So... yeah.
- Why Did It Have To Be Cockroaches?
- You Have to Believe Me
- Younger Than They Look: Charlie Gereson was apparently set to win the Nobel Prize before he reached 20, despite looking as though he passed that age milestone about 18 years prior.
- You're Insane!: Harry to Richard. Then Harry realizes he is.