In 1982, legendary horror director George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead) teamed up with writer Stephen King for the original film CREEPSHOW.
Built in the same style as the horror comic books of the 50's, the film tells five different tales built to scare, make you laugh and gross you out.
The first segment details a murdered old millionaire who comes back from the grave for revenge on his murdering, money grabbing family, along with a piece of cake.
Viveca Lindorfs is fun as Aunt Bedelia "I want my cake Bedelia!!" and Ed Harris (The Right Stuff, HBO's Westworld) appears as a young husband who gets a particularly smashing end.
The second tale is the weakest, telling the tale of a dimwitted hillbilly (played by Stephen King) that finds a meteorite. It carries an intergalactic Miracle Grow, a fungus like plant that grows at an alarming rate, but not quickly enough to stop King from embarrassing himself with an over the top performance made up mostly of crossed eyes, gawking and slack jawed amazement. King is one of my favorite writers on the planet, but he should NEVER act.
The third story introduces us to wronged husband Leslie Nielsen, playing it straight and having a blast getting back at his cheating wife and her boyfriend, played by Ted Danson.
It's one of the most clever sequences and Nielsen's method of revenge is twisted, wet and wild.
The bloodiest and funniest sequence is the fourth, in which College professor Dexter (Fritz Weaver) finds a very old crate with an extremely nasty monster inside. When his best friend Henry (Hal Holbrook) learns about the monster, he sees a convenient way to get rid of his wife Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau), who might be the most demeaning, drunken professor's wife in history.
The best sequence is saved for last, in which eccentric germaphobic billionaire Upson Pratt (EG Marshall) hides holed up in his germ free penthouse in NYC.
His fear of cockroaches is well earned as a blackout drives seemingly every nasty bug in the big apple into his apartment.
It's gross, freaky and done with real roaches, which is enough to freak me out. The closing moments of this sequence is stomach churning and done without CGI.
Marshall is terrific as a foul-mouthed, miserable old bastard who gets cosmic payback thanks to the 250,000 roaches used to film the sequence.
KIng has a lot of fun with the screenplay, keeping it tongue-in-cheek while providing some solid laughs, especially in Weaver and Holbrooks reactions to the monster's attacks.
Romero knows how to create old fashioned scares and keeps the two hour film moving quickly on its bloody way. This was Romero's only film to open #1 at the box office and the only film he ever directed that he did not also write.
Watch for King's real life son Joe as the little boy in the opening and closing scenes. He's not a great actor, but he grew up to be a hell of a writer. His novels 'Heart Shaped Box" and "Horns" are terrific.
If you're looking for campy horror fun with some serious gross out moments and more than a few laughs, CREEPSHOW delivers and gets a B.