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Creepshow – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

vvThis whole newfound relationship between Shout!/Scream Factory and Warner Bros for Blu-rays has been nothing short of a dream come true and has come swinging right out of the gate. Here we are talking about a Collector’s Edition now of George A. Romero and Stephen King’s collaborative effort and horror anthology masterpiece Creepshow with a new 4K scan and LOADS of bonus material. There’s no complaining about double dipping, as this is one to just dive right into. They’ve even given the film some special packaging treatment to boot. Trust me, this one is impressive to even just hold in your hand, let alone put in your player and watch. Its coming just in time for Halloween horror watching, so get your pre-order in as it arrive October 23rd!

Film 

A compendium of five short but terrifying tales contained within a single full-length feature, this film conjures scares from traditional bogeymen and portents of doom. In one story, a monster escapes from its holding cell. Another focuses on a husband with a creative way of getting back at his cheating wife. Other stories concern a rural man and a visitor from outer space, and a homeowner with huge bug problems and a boozing corpse.

Horror in the past few years has seen a bit of a resurgence in the anthology narrative structure. Be it the V/H/S series, ABC’s of Death or other, its come back. Yes, Trick R Treat’s cult status may have helped, but there’s likely a bigger overlaying factor in all of it. People LOVE Creepshow. Many’s horror anthology love begin here with the George A. Romero, Stephen King and Tom Savini collaboration. Yes, Tales From The Crypt has its, fans, but this is the big one to rule them all. The film set in motion a wave of anthology films in the 80s but also for modern times, in an era of nostalgia, people seemed to come together and wonder why they weren’t being made like that any more around the same time.

Its weird that Creepshow works with terror as well as it does, considering the aesthetic decision of how to portray it. They went with a live version of an EC Comic Book. The film features panel transitions, animation and has loud, fantastical creatures and big comic book’esque performances. Yet, in some way, the film presents a lot of dread, gore and sinister characters. That it works beyond the fun factor is pretty impressive. Maybe I’m skewed as my first experience with the film was when I was a kid, but I can’t be alone here, and there have to be adults that felt (And still feel the same way).

Oddly enough, it was the segment with two actors more known for their comedic roles that unsettled me the most. “Something To Tide You Over” really spooked me for some reason, more than the rest when first I saw Creepshow. Leslie Nielsen, whom I had already watched in Police Squad, Naked Gun, Airplane! and most of this other output really pulled off his anger and vile nature well that all of that “haha Leslie Nielsen” stuff went right out the window. Ted Danson was easier to see in a dramatic light, but what happens to him was horrendous and I couldn’t even imagine being trapped like that. However, what gave me nightmares the most was the zombie-like creatures that Gaylen Ross and Danson become at the end. Those just shook me down quite a bit.

There is a lot that could be talked about Creepshow. Heck, each story could probably warrant its own regular length review here. But, being a popular film like this, I’d get bored writing about many talking points that have been done to death and I share the same sentiment as many others do with it. But, that’s good, this universally loved movie provides just that; the shared affection. Its a dynamite film and is one the best of the 1980s, let alone one of horror’s best ever. Outside of his Dead films, this is probably the best film from George A. Romero, which also takes a fun new spin on the work of Tom Savini as well. Stephen King’s writing contributions are great, but because of his performance here, he probably feels he’s seen better days. No matter, this film is utterly terrific and keep reading just to see how damn good this new Blu-ray is!

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Creepshow features a brand new 4K resolution transfer from the original camera negative done at Warner Bros Motion Picture Imaging on the Lasergrapics Director scanner and supervised by the Director of Photography Michael Gornick. And right off the bat, this transfer is going to knock your socks off. Color, spacing and detail have jumped in appearance many tears. This movie glows with confidence in its bold presentation. The only real deterrent here is some of the animation and some of the parts where the live action and animation are intertwined. They just look a little soft for the moment and may or may not contain some heavier grain. Still, a lot of the animation looks lovely here as well. I can’t imagine a majority of the people not being disappointed with this new transfer. Its fantastic and one of the best produced by Scream Factory.

Depth:  Depth of field is quite good and improved here. The characters and camera moves with real confidence. Indoor environments look quite spacious with a good pushback on the background. No movement issues occur at all.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite deep and well saturated. Much of the shadow work has many layers of shading and retains a most all of the detail. Dark objects, hair and clothing still retains patterns, textures and more with ease. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Here’s where a big difference is most noticeable. Creepshow really pops in this edition. Many of the filtering strong illuminates right off the screen. Blues, reds and such are rich and objects in it are still well defined. There is no bleeding at all. Green is especially good, and you get plenty of saturation and rich look in the King acted chapter of the film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are very full looking, natural and consistent throughout the film, give or take the color of a filter strongly influencing it. And the visible textures of facial features is pretty outstanding. You can see every bit of scarring and glossiness to Tom Atkins’ face, stubble, make-up lines, dried blood, wrinkles, lip texture and much more from any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Creepshow comes with a pair of new (To the United States) audio tracks. Previously, it came with just a 2.0 TrueHD track, now we have 5.1 and a 2.0 both in DTS-HD MA. This is likely the same 5.1 track used on the Second Sight UK Blu-ray of the film. Its a pretty rock solid track here. The volume is set a little lower than your typical default, so you’ll want to turn it up a little. Its looks, crisp and does get the job done, but is lacking just a little bit of deeper tones and some oompf. The original stereo track might just be the way to go on this one, though the 5.1 is fine.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: This one bumps, but could add a little more deeper thud to its production for some better impact. Its good enough, but could see improvement.

Surround Sound Presentation: Creepshow’s 5.1 is a bit more front heavy, though the rear channels do contribute decently from time to time. As I said above, the 2.0 track is probably perfectly suitable for good enjoyment of the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. There are some moments on the beach that peak a hair, but it sound as if its in the source and not an issue with the mix.

Extras 

Creepshow – Collector’s Edition comes in a hard shell case and feature reversible artwork with the theatrical poster and comic book-like design. It also comes with a booklet featuring an essay by Michael Gingold.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director George A. Romero and Special Make-up Effects Creator Tom Savini
  • With Composer/First Assistant Director John Harrison and Construction Co-Ordinator Ed Fountain
  • With Director of Photography Michael Gornick
  • Audio Interviews with Director of Photography Michael Gornick, Actor John Amplas, Property Master Bruce Alan Miller and Make-up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci

Terror And The Three Rivers (HD, 30:10) – Tom Atkins, Tom Savini, Marty Schiff and John Amplas have a roundtable discussing led by Michael Felsher. This is a fun, candid conversation that opens with each of them discussing how they got involved and just sort of takes off from there. Some funny bits that others remember about each other that a certain one of them won’t provide some humorous moments. Tom Atkins has a funny story about going to dinner at a fancy restaurant with Leslie Nielsen and a fart sound maker.

The Comic Book Look (HD, 12:51) – An interview with costume designer Barbara Anderson. She first work with Romero on Knightriders. Anderson discusses the challenges of working the costumes on a quick-change basis and what some of the actors were like to work with in terms of cooperation adhering to their personalities and their demands.

Ripped From The Pages (HD, 15:37) – An interview with the animator, Rick Catizone. He had worked with George Romero back when he was doing commercials and Night of the Living Dead. He was brought on when they were struggling to make a comic book effect work, which led to them wanting animated segments. He also shows many of his sketches and art he made for the film that he still has during this.

The Colors of Creepshow (HD, 10:10) – Director of Photography Michael Gornick takes us through the restoration of the film for this release. He’s very happy to be able to create continuity with lighting extending over a series of shots where he was unable to before.

Into The Mix (HD, 13:05) – An interview with Chris Jenkins who was the “re-recordist” for sound on the film and he talks about how he got involved and goes over many of the instances where he distorted some vocals or created a foley effect.

Mondo Macabre (HD, 9:42) – Rob Jones and Josh Curry from Mondo discuss their love of the film and share many of the Creepshow posters they’ve produced.

Collecting Creepshow (HD, 12:31) – Dave Burian, a big time collector of the film and colleague of Tom Savini, shares many of his props he has from the movie and talks about his love of it.

Tom Savini’s Behind-the-Scenes Footage (SD, 25:52) – Raw VHS footage of effects shooting and effects tests on the film.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (HD, 14:56) – Sean Clarke takes us through the locations of the film as they are today. It includes a cameo from Tom Atkins reciting some of his classic lines. They were unfortunately denied a few locations, unfortunately, but Clarke as always provides some funny color commentary (And one of them has loaned footage from someone who was able to get in).

Deleted Scenes (HD, 15:31) – Features text introductions to each story’s deleted material. Scenes are pulled from what looks to be a VHS source.

Trailers (HD, 1:49) – There is a :58 foreign language trailer for the film that plays after the trailer ends.

TV Spot (SD, :28)

Radio Spots (HD, 1:04)

Still Galleries

  • Posters and Lobby Cards (HD, 6:44)
  • Movie Posters (HD, 2:20)
  • Color Stills (HD, 2:15)
  • Special Effects Makeup (HD, 6:04)
  • Behind The Scenes (HD, 6:29)

Summary 

Creepshow remains the seminal horror anthology film and one of the genre’s very best. And Scream Factory has released the very best edition of the film to date. Sure, Just Desserts is missing, but the content that goes over is well represented here in the extensive interviews and commentaries present on this disc. Scream Factory has gone out of their way with this one and its an absolute labor of love from the outstanding new transfer to the elite packaging. You are more than getting your money’s worth with the definitive release of Creepshow ever to hit home video.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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