Picks and Pans Review: Creepshow

updated 12/20/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/20/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

The gore is more explicit and so is the language, but otherwise this anthology of five unrelated tales is perhaps the chillingest, slickest, wryest and most enjoyable horror production since the days of Universal Pictures' original Big Three—Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man. Directed by George (Night of the Living Dead) Romero and written by master of the macabre Stephen King, the film also showcases the production design and special effects of Cletus Anderson and Tom Savini. The cast—which is 12 or 13 cuts above what this genre usually draws—includes Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, Viveca Lindfors, E.G. Marshall, Leslie Nielsen, Carrie Nye and Fritz Weaver. The different segments are variations on a theme: about a murdered father returning from the grave to seek revenge, a sadistic husband who's out to punish his wife and her lover, a dumb farmer who discovers a dangerous meteorite, an old crate that holds a monster with a big appetite, and a rich man with a phobia about cockroaches. Marshall, as the buggy tycoon, provides the best performance, and author King, playing the farmer, is almost bad enough to be good. Romero's penchant for resuscitating corpses gets a little tedious. But Creepshow, given the genre, is all restraint, with no nudity, under-control gore and a refreshing sense of understatement. Silence and uncertainty are, after all, much more terrifying than unrelenting hacking and chomping. (R)

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