Stephen King and all his frightful consorts
CREEPSHOW IN ALL COLORS, FORMS AND AMPLITUDES
STEPHEN KING — CREEPSHOW — COMIC BOOK — 1982
You will be missing Joe Hill in the prologue and the epilogue because the prologue is reduced to the front cover and there is no back cover. But all the stories are there and in proper order.
This comic book is interesting to show how a piece of literature can be adapted to various other media. In the film the dynamism of the story is built by flashbacks and flash-forwards and ellipses. We have to let the film take over and we are transported in that evanescent screen story. There is no going back, no jumping any page. There is compulsory submission. And we lose that submissiveness with a DVD since then we can fool or even violate death itself as if we were the maître d’ or the master of ceremony and there is nothing more ceremonious than death, particularly horror death.
But with the comic book we step into another dynamism, that of pictures. We have to break the dynamism of pictures by reading the various bubbles without which we do not get the story right. We can go back and forward as much as we want. And yet it is dynamic not because of the bubbles and what they contain, not so much because of the sound we hear in our mental ears and that does not happen really. It is dynamic because of the pictures. A comic book is constant ellipses from one picture to the next and with big howling cries at times crossing the page and exploding the boxes, and transcending the bubbles and their content.
Yet it is not really the medium I prefer. I am too divided between reading what is written in the bubbles, and I lose the dynamic pictures, or submitting to the dynamic pictures and I lose the pith and marrow of the content of the bubbles. But the drawings of Bernie Wrightson are amazing. But why on earth did the Saturday Night Late Show choose a black version of death (green in this book) for Steve Bannon? Impressive how comic books car shift to other media in no time.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
GEORGE ROMERO — STEPHEN KING — CREEPSHOW — 1982
The film hasn’t changed one iota since 1982 and what’s more it does not seem to have aged too much. Special effects maybe, but that’s about all. The stories are absolutely funny more than frightening. They might have been gross and frightening in 1982 but today we are used to that kind of make-believe cinema.
Every single story or moment is pleasure and nothing but pleasure.
The Prologue and epilogue are so nice about the abusive father and the voodoo son, Stephen King’s own son by the way. Let’s think his father wasn’t that kind of a father. But you may be surprised if you really analyzed the “rapport” between a father and a son. Abusiveness is at times in excess gentleness.
“Father’s Day” is the hilarious vengeance of an old and decrepit father killed by his own daughter: the vengeance comes from the grave, from beyond the grave. Never ever neglect celebrating father’s day even for a father who does not deserve it.
“The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” with Stephen King in the main and only human role is even more than funny with his meteor that brings some kind of invasive green algae, fungus or whatever from outer space. Nothing to do with Superman, nor Aliens actually. The only solution is to evade the invasion by committing suicide I guess, slightly like a terrorist blows himself up in order to kill as many miscreants as possible to clean up the world of its perversion. The world is clean for the terrorist for sure after his own sacrifice.
“Something to Tide You Over” is even more than hilarious because of another case of vengeance from beyond the grave and in this case the grave is the sea itself. I am not sure Stephen King intended this story to be hilarious but it is true that since Michael Jackson living dead creeping out of their graves and chasing you have become very entertaining.
“The Crate” is nothing but justice or some just vengeance or some just balancing of grievances in a married couple. Don’t let children watch that one: they could get some good idea of how to take care of an invasive mother who does not know what a bathroom or toilet door is when her son is using these facilities, or who does not know why she is not supposed to look under her son’s bed. That’s when the monster in the closet is really useful, and should be cultivated, for such sons: let it come out and take care of the mother. It is all the same when the son has become a husband and the mother has become a wife since all husbands choose their wives to correspond to what their mothers were. How can you be so pessimistic? But that is no pessimism: it is pure truth and reality.
“They’re Creeping Up on You” is the final touch about some rich man who is obnoxious with everyone and at the same time is obsessed with cleanliness and his germless and bugless environment. That is a killing obsession and the bugs will always have the last word and bring justice to the poor. You can imagine what I may dream about the fate of Trump who should be trumped by bugs and mulched by germs.
And the epilogue gives us hope: all nasty people will sooner or later be trumped and mulched into oblivion and inexistence
1- beyond making friends with nasty Sunni dictators or autocrats;
2- beyond making fun of the Pope by being a grinning giant puppet next to the serious look of this grave charismatic religious leader;
3- beyond pushing some Prime Minister out of his right way to be in the front of the family picture;
4- beyond chastising 23 out of 28 of his allies and trying to bully them into paying for his own bills to make America great again;
5- beyond his gripping handshake that a French President turned into a gripping-back handshake that he could not escape anymore;
6- beyond his leaking confidential details of a criminal investigation in a terrorist attack in Manchester;
7- beyond his attempt to sink any climate agreement, including the one in Paris, for his egotistic promises to completely failed professions overdue in their coming to their own end;
8- beyond his sending 23 million people out of insurance coverage;
9- beyond his cutting federal funds for Medicaid by 50% and food stamps by 25% just to be able to cut the taxes of the wealthiest in proportion.
And NINE is of course the apocalypse, the dragon, the beast and we are all the pregnant woman escaping this Babylon RED(RUM) Witch Doctor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYgOlqinH7A or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ttGgIQpAUc) of a President.
Yes There is hope beyond the worst possible horror story in real life and that’s what makes Romero’s film and Stephen King’s stories so beautifully good, funny and true to life down to our deepest guts.
When These masters of literature and the cinema die we will have to reinvent them under a new skin. It is true Stephen King leaves two sons beyond himself, though they do not have the same level of creativity as the father. But Romero is more complicated as for descent.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
STEPHEN KING — GEORGE ROMERO — CREEPSHOW 2–1987
The film was even funnier because they haD mixed up the audios ON THE dvd and they have Castilian twice and French once but no English. At least I could not find it. So I watched it in Castilian with English subtitles. I must say the language then gives a density to the Monstrous Creep that is really striking in all meanings of the word.
There is nothing new of course in these stories that we have read, probably several times. The three stories are definitely amazing. The first one, “Old Chief Wood’nhead” seems to imply there is among the older Indian generation some decency that the younger generation cannot understand, nor respect, but the ghosts of the dead can come back to bring justice, though a death for a death is not giving life back to the victims of the greed of the younger generation that is going to Hollywood as is well known. They have always dreamed of meeting John Wayne on one of his Indian killing spree. At least they had the intention to go.
The second story, “the Raft,” is once again about young people, two couples who decide to go wild on marijuana and on some forlorn and forgotten paths where signs are overgrown with shrubs and trees and are no longer visible. Vain they are and uninformed they remain and they dare do what is advised not to do on the sign they haven’t seen. They end up eaten up by some aquatic monster. Yam! Yam! Says the monster. It only takes one overexcited young man to lead the four of them into the water and to their death. Young people have always been what they used to be and what they will be. Boys will be boys and girls the same.
The third story, “The Hitchhiker,” is a phenomenally funny story, more than frightening. A white rich lady on her way back from an afternoon with a gigolo (by the way rather cheap) gets berserk at the idea that she will be discovered by her husband because he said he was going to arrive home at 11.30 and she can’t make it by that time. Find an explanation if you can. She thus has a problem with a black hitchhiker she turned into a ghost and the ghost haunts her all the way and at the end finally gets even with her. The details are absolutely appetizing. You will be ready for a second helping after licking your fingers clean of the blood of the dead man. Don’t forget crime and horror are like pizza, the second slice is always better than the first.
Enjoy your petits fours and canapés, and wash them down with some Bloody Mary.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
ANA CLAVELL — CREEPSHOW III: TALES OF MURDER, MAYHEM AND MADNESS — 2006
It took that third opus a long time to get out, twenty years mind you. It’s nearly an afterthought: how can such two good successful films by Stephen King and George Romero be continued twenty years later? First because the period during which the title was controlled exclusively by the first author and director must have come to its end, liberating the title, otherwise it should have been attached to the original proprietors and paid for.
But it is hard to go back to the concept of these Creepshows and some changes have to be introduced. The very first change is that there is some continuity in the whole film because some actors and their roles go from one episode to the next or the one after the next. Some situations too are similar or even the same, not to speak of some objects like cars.
The next change is the style. This film really targets the grossest effects we can imagine. Gross is not necessarily bad but in this case it is done without much finesse and from gross we move to sickening and that is the lowest level in horror stories or movies according to Stephen King himself. And along that line the director does not hesitate to introduce human beings who suddenly turn into very monstrous beings that can resuscitate after having been killed, resuscitate to haunt a living drug-addicted doctor for example, etc.
And of course the concept of a mad scientist or technician is introduced with no real delicacy. The story of his wife — real or not real — Frankenstein or simple aging lustful old man — and how she ends up in a microwave oven is just plain funny. It was supposed to be a prank at first and it ran out to be a slaughterhouse scene with so much blood we just wonder if it is not half a dozen wives and not only one. And at the end the mad scientist marries her finally but this time it is so openly a recomposed body that there is no doubt at all any more. We are dealing with Doctor Frankenstein, middle name Lego, playing with body parts as if they were some press-in parts, pieces and pawns.
We definitely are not in a comic strip adventure for a young teenager, male preferably, but for some older teenagers, male as well as female, or whatever gender they may decide to have, trying to experience some disquieting experience that is supposed to make their stomach growl and their intestine dance some frantic tarantella from their waist to their groin, though it remains rather soft and bashful at this lower level.
Enjoy the film, but after a light dinner if you do not want to have some accident generally attributed to airsickness in a plane or road-sickness in a bus or a car. And be sure you take a sleeping pill afterwards to avoid all kinds of nightmares.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU