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CREEPSHOW – (DEVILS ADVOCATES SERIES) ***

Written by Simon Brown. RRP £9.99 106pp

Out now from Auteur Press

 

At a time when Stephen King’s works are back in vogue on screen it is interesting to look back at a time when there seemed to be a real gold rush to get his works adapted for film or television in the nineteen eighties. This was a time when the results were widely mixed; for every high like THE SHINING (1980) you would often have to suffer some crushing lows like his own and single attempt at directing with MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986). This was also a time when the legend that was George A. Romero struggled to get his own projects off the ground. This then would seem a perfect time to examine their first collaboration; CREEPSHOW, which arrived on cinema screens in 1982.

 

Simon Brown, who has already published a number of works examining King’s numerous adaptations, takes an in depth look at a film which whilst it may not be regarded as a classic in either auteur’s filmography is one that is looked back on by many with a degree of fondness. This slim, clearly written volume briefly looks at how the film came into being then delves headlong into the aesthetics of this collaboration, marking it out as a comic adaptation that could be seen as ahead of its time. No mean feat, particularly when it was not actually adapted from a comic but instead widely influenced by EC Comics, the 1950’s publisher who ran afoul of a self-appointed censorship board and the U.S. government due to their brand of wickedly gory and shocking content that was eagerly devoured by children the length and breadth of the land.

 

Brown is at his best here when clearly explaining the facts of how the film came into being, the film was basically a test run to see how Romero’s skill set would mesh with King’s, if successful the plan was then to embark on an adaptation of The Stand. The fact that this never happened must go down as one of the greatest missed opportunities in the history of cinema but I digress. Brown then goes on to examine how markedly different Creepshow is from the majority of King adaptations that were arriving on cinema screens in that decade and how different in terms of style it is from the rest of Romero’s more naturalistic output.

 

A large portion of the book examines the influence and style of EC and looking at a number of their stories. Whilst interesting it would seem suited to a volume of its own and presumably due to copyright reasons panels that are beautifully described by Brown are unable to be reproduced here. The author attempts to link the moralistic storytelling of the comics to the five tales that Creepshow consists of. More often than not though Brown seems to get lost in explaining the context of such a matter and wanders off into a tangent about other subjects for large numbers of pages at a time. For example, passages go in depth into other subject matter as numerous as Tom Savini’s effects work on DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), a subject that has been examined in depth many times before and one that presumably readers of the Devil’s Advocates series will already know about.

 

However, in examining the comic book aesthetic of the film and how Romero accomplished it, the book more than holds the readers interest, showing how much of an expert Romero was when it came to staging and editing to get maximum impact. Fans of CREEPSHOW may not discover much that they did not already know but for newcomers it is a more than worthwhile primer for those interested in how two giants of the genre collaborated and what drove their own creative impulses.

 

Iain MacLeod

 

 

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CREEPSHOW – (DEVILS ADVOCATES SERIES) ***

Written by Simon Brown. RRP £9.99 106pp

Out now from Auteur Press

 

At a time when Stephen King’s works are back in vogue on screen it is interesting to look back at a time when there seemed to be a real gold rush to get his works adapted for film or television in the nineteen eighties. This was a time when the results were widely mixed; for every high like THE SHINING (1980) you would often have to suffer some crushing lows like his own and single attempt at directing with MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986). This was also a time when the legend that was George A. Romero struggled to get his own projects off the ground. This then would seem a perfect time to examine their first collaboration; CREEPSHOW, which arrived on cinema screens in 1982.

 

Simon Brown, who has already published a number of works examining King’s numerous adaptations, takes an in depth look at a film which whilst it may not be regarded as a classic in either auteur’s filmography is one that is looked back on by many with a degree of fondness. This slim, clearly written volume briefly looks at how the film came into being then delves headlong into the aesthetics of this collaboration, marking it out as a comic adaptation that could be seen as ahead of its time. No mean feat, particularly when it was not actually adapted from a comic but instead widely influenced by EC Comics, the 1950’s publisher who ran afoul of a self-appointed censorship board and the U.S. government due to their brand of wickedly gory and shocking content that was eagerly devoured by children the length and breadth of the land.

 

Brown is at his best here when clearly explaining the facts of how the film came into being, the film was basically a test run to see how Romero’s skill set would mesh with King’s, if successful the plan was then to embark on an adaptation of The Stand. The fact that this never happened must go down as one of the greatest missed opportunities in the history of cinema but I digress. Brown then goes on to examine how markedly different Creepshow is from the majority of King adaptations that were arriving on cinema screens in that decade and how different in terms of style it is from the rest of Romero’s more naturalistic output.

 

A large portion of the book examines the influence and style of EC and looking at a number of their stories. Whilst interesting it would seem suited to a volume of its own and presumably due to copyright reasons panels that are beautifully described by Brown are unable to be reproduced here. The author attempts to link the moralistic storytelling of the comics to the five tales that Creepshow consists of. More often than not though Brown seems to get lost in explaining the context of such a matter and wanders off into a tangent about other subjects for large numbers of pages at a time. For example, passages go in depth into other subject matter as numerous as Tom Savini’s effects work on DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), a subject that has been examined in depth many times before and one that presumably readers of the Devil’s Advocates series will already know about.

 

However, in examining the comic book aesthetic of the film and how Romero accomplished it, the book more than holds the readers interest, showing how much of an expert Romero was when it came to staging and editing to get maximum impact. Fans of CREEPSHOW may not discover much that they did not already know but for newcomers it is a more than worthwhile primer for those interested in how two giants of the genre collaborated and what drove their own creative impulses.

 

Iain MacLeod

 

This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.

FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.
 © 2000 - 2018