Monday, November 13, 2017
Made in 2007 this documentary is now making its way to blu-ray via Synapse. Thank goodness they made the decision to do so, adding several special items that will please fans of the film and those who made it.
As we learn via interview with director George Romero Warner Brothers contacted him after the success of his film MARTIN concerning a vampire in modern society. They had just acquired the rights to SALEM’S LOT and wanted him to meet with author Stephen King about making a film adaptation. The two met, became fast friends and while the studio changed their plans about that film the pair later found something else to work together on. That was the 1982 film CREEPSHOW.
Fans of the old EC Comic books that were banned at one time and credited with creating subversive attitudes in teens, they came up with an anthology film that combined those old styled stories with modern movie technology. Rather than use the old comic titles they came up with their own comic called Creepshow. Instead of the Crypt Keeper they had The Creep. But the stories they told in this film would have fit perfectly in those old comics.
This documentary takes a look at their efforts moving from how they came up with the idea to the cast to the special effects to the music and so on. Each step of the way is an interesting look at just how a movie gets made and in this case outside of the studio system. That’s because whole Warner Brothers eventually distributed the film it was indeed an independent film to begin with. Made on a shoestring budget for the project it was every penny spent on this film shows up on screen. That only made it better.
Interviews in the film range from various cast members including Ed Harris and Adrienne Barbeau to effect supervisor Tom Savini to Romero himself. All of them offer anecdotes about the making of the film and from the things they discuss it sounds like they had far more fun than they should have. The entire team seems to have bonded, everyone from grips to well-known actors who had been in loftier roles but found that there was something special in this film, that it was more than just a cheap horror flick. It was a homage to those great comics that came long ago. For myself I think that this film was an inspiration for the later HBO series TALES FROM THE CRYPT which used those original comics for their scripts.
The film uses behind the scenes footage along with the interviews to give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. It’s interesting to watch as some actors who were just beginning at the time, like Harris as well as Ted Danson who was just about to start a TV series about a group of people hanging out at a bar, and others involved in the production who went on to bigger things are shown in their early days. Particularly fascinating is the way the effects were done. Remember these were days long ahead of computer generated effects. Most were practical effects that were done, including some hair raising stories concerning the final story involving thousands of cockroaches.
The movie is well made, informative and for fans of the film a must have for their collection. In addition to the film the extras are fairly massive for as old as the movie is. They include:
-An audio commentary track with director & editor Michael Felshe
-An audio commentary track with actor John Amplas, property master Bruce Alan Miller and make-up effects assistant Darryl Ferucci
-Creepshow Days – An interview with director of photography director Michael Gornick
-Extended interview segments with George A. Romero, Tom Savini and Bernie Wrightson
-Behind the Screams – a compilation of on-set video footage from Tom Savini
-Horror’s Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark – An episode of the series that takes you to the locations made famous in various horror films
-Vintage 1982 Evening Magazine segment shot on the set of the film featuring rare cast & crew interviews
-Behind the scenes photo gallery of CREEPSHOW
-Best of all the full SCREAM GREATS VOL. ONE: TOM SAVINI documentary with optional audio commentary track with Tom Savini. To my knowledge this is the first time this has ever been released on disc.
If you love making of movies, documentaries, horror films, George A. Romero, Tom Savini or CREEPSHOW then by all means this needs to be added to your shelf. Once viewed you’ll find yourself digging out that copy of the original film to watch again and remember just how much fun it was the first time around.