Creepshow

After years of crossing fingers and waiting with bated breath, horror fans around the globe rejoiced when it was announced that the documentary Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow was finally being made available to the masses.

Up until this year, the documentary was only available as a special feature on the UK special edition release of Creepshow.  At long last, the world can finally see this phenomenal film.

The ninety-minute documentary is a loving tribute to the classic EC Comics of the 1950’s, which included Tales From The Crypt and Weird Tales, among others.  The documentary begins with George Romero and legendary comic artist Bernie Wrightson reminiscing about the classic comics and describing exactly what they loved about the vibrant tales of gore and terror.

We are also introduced to an effervescent Tom Savini, who chuckles and playfully recollects what it was like being basically a two-man team in the effects department for the film.

The biggest downfall – perhaps the only downfall – of this project is the fact that Stephen King has zero to do with it.  The men, namely Romero, Wrightson and composer John Harrison, speak glowingly of their time working alongside King.  In fact, considering King isn’t a part of the documentary and with so many kind things said about him and his work, it starts to feel as if the film is a tribute to King.  One of the most interesting things to learn is that King and Romero actually met and discussed turning King’s massive novel The Stand into a film before Romero mentioned how he wanted to create a horror anthology and King suggested an ode to EC Comics.  It’s amazing to hear that King wrote the script for the film in sixty days.

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Plenty of time is also dedicated to the amazing cast of the film, from Tom Atkins and Stephen King’s son Joe at the beginning of the movie to Viveca Lindfors, Leslie Nielsen, Hol Holbrook and E.G. Marshall among others.  Ted Danson was unsure about his standing on a television show about a bar in Boston when he arrived to film his role for Something To Tide You Over.  Nielsen brought a fart machine everywhere he went.  Adrienne Barbeau initially laughed at the script as “too bloody” and gross, only agreeing to join the cast following her then-husband John Carpenter’s advice.

One of my favorite parts of the documentary is watching the special effects work come to life.  Watching the grass creature blow its head off in The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill and learning that there were multiple people actually responsible for bring Fluffy, The Crate monster, to life is just a few of the things that are absolutely fascinating.  Hearing Tom Savini admit that he called FX maestro Rob Bottin (The ThingThe Howling) to learn how to bring Fluffy to life is just awesome.  Savini cut his teeth on Fluffy, his first monster mechanical creation.

The grainy behind-the-scenes footage throughout the film is a wonderful dose of nostalgia.  Hearing from just about every aspect of the production team, it sounds like this was the most fun set ever.  I love the fact that there has never been a single negative story from the set of Creepshow.  It sounds like the cast and crew had the time of their life.  This film was made, plain and simply, for the love of horror by people who loved the genre.  As Savini put it, “It was five months of Halloween, every day.”

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The film is such a loving tribute to real horror – everything that is right with the genre.  Sadly, a lot of the amazing practical effects work that makes Creepshow an all-time great film are largely unappreciated and under-utilized these days.  One million of the greatest CGI cockroaches in the world will never amount to a single live roach crawling out of E.G. Marshall’s mouth.

Then there are the bonus features.  My gosh, the bonus features!  An additional commentary track that includes words from actor John Amplas and art director Bruce Alan Miller gives the documentary a whole new flavor.  An awesome interview with “jack of all trades” Michael Gornick, the cinematographer of the project, really puts you behind the camera.  The gem of all bonus features though just may well be a wonderful piece called Scream Greats Volume One, which was dusted off out of the Fangoria treasure chest, and features Savini basically leading the audience through a tutorial on all things Savini and horror.

Michael Felsher is arguably the best horror documentarian out there these days and he does not disappoint with this amazing film.  It’s clear how much time, effort and love has been put in the project.  This is the ultimate companion to the ultimate horror anthology film and a must-see for anyone who loves Creepshow.

 

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‘Just Desserts’ release date news

 

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