The making of “Night of the Living Dead” 1990 has become one of the most fascinating movie making tales of all time. George Romero teamed up with friend Tom Savini to direct an official remake of his 1968 horror masterpiece. What Savini found was no end of interference, intrusion and creative stifling from the studio that funded the film. Despite excellent creativity and clever ideas to bring to the table, horror icon Savini was turned off from filmmaking for so many years, and he wasn’t able to deliver the film he actually wanted. Ironically, “Night…” 1990 is widely considered a top shelf remake of the original, and is argued to be superior to Romero’s by some horror buffs.
“Creepshow” isn’t just a horror movie, but it’s also the gold standard for what most anthology horror movies strive to be. While there have been anthology horror films before it, “Creepshow” popularized the genre for a new decade and helped redefine the idea of the sub-genre. Not just that, but “Creepshow” is also a rebuttal to the golden age of horror comic from EC. Once upon a time the comics label that produced violent horror based comics were shut down due to their controversial nature. “Creepshow” is a movie that combines immense talents from folks like George Romero, Stephen King, and Tom Savini to provide something of a rebellious middle finger and show a new audience that these tales were as fun as they were violent.
“Juvenile delinquency is the product of pent up frustrations, stored-up resentments and bottled-up fears. It is not the product of cartoons and captions. But the comics are a handy, obvious, uncomplicated scapegoat. If the adults who crusade against them would only get as steamed up over such basic causes of delinquency as parental ignorance, indifference, and cruelty, they might discover that comic books are no more a menace than Treasure Island or Jack the Giant Killer”.
I often describe “Creepshow 2” as a mean spirited sequel, but I think that’s why it stands apart from the original. And granted the original movie was also a bit mean spirited in and of itself, so I don’t know why I continuously give it such a label. The whole janitor and med student being eaten by the yeti in “Creepshow” just pour cruel, harsh deaths. Anyway, I love “Creepshow 2” and my re-watching it in its crisp restoration from Arrow Video confirmed that. There are a ton of movies I adored as a kid that just hasn’t held up very well, but “Creepshow 2” still maintains its inherent quality.
While “Creepshow 2” has always been taken as one of pair of horror movies that pay tribute to the golden age of EC Comics, over the years the horror community has learned to appreciate “Creepshow 2” as its own entity. Surely, its cut from the same cloth as the original classic, but it also carves out its own identity and doesn’t repeat the same beats as the original film. The Michael Gornick directed sequel is a darker, grittier, and more vicious follow up to what was kind of a raucous and darkly comic celebration, and it works. As a nostalgic memento, and as a sequel carved by Stephen King and George Romero, “Creepshow 2” is a classic in its own right.
2016 is just about done, thank goodness, and like last year, Fox cable channel FXX in America is hosting their “The Simpsons 600” marathon. Beginning on Thanksgiving day, they give 600 episodes of “The Simpsons” starting from episode one, and they’ve given every episode non-stop and completely uncut. This marathon has reminded me how much I adore “The Simpsons” and will always adore “The Simpsons” even when it’s at its lowest. Ninety five percent of the episodes from season one to season ten are brilliant and absolutely hysterical, while the other five percent being mediocre to forgettable episodes still end up being rather funny, offering at least two instances of chuckles here and there.
With the series nearing thirty record breaking seasons, I thought I’d fondly remember five of the best guest spots from celebrities popular among fan boys and fan girls alike. As always if you have your own choices, let me know in the comments!
For folks that want to learn everything and anything about Tom Savini, “Scream Greats” is the crème de la crème of horror documentaries. Savini-philes will love the anecdotes and insight pulled from “Scream Greats,” all the while savoring much of what the man and his company have produced for American horror cinema, from guts, gore, and basic prosthetics. “Scream Greats” is infamous for me, mainly because it’s one of those documentaries that revels in zombie cinema made famous by Savini. And anyone who knows me knows I was absolutely petrified of zombies for most of my childhood.
I would suggest “Horror Effects” only to the most ardent hardcore Tom Savini fans, as “Horror Effects” is mostly about, well, horror effects. Truly, “Horror Effects” focuses mainly on a small portion of Savini’s creative work, as he spends most of his time recollecting working on other films that don’t involve George Romero. Is it perhaps because John Russo is the host of this special? Aw, who knows, really? But there’s a surprising lack of talk about his zombie movies in favor of stuff that Savini has done with his company and what they’ve done on the outside of the US, including a slapstick comedy involving facial prosthetics.
You can really see Tom Savini’s fingerprints all over “The Prowler,” as it elicits a lot of gruesome deaths for such a downbeat slasher movie. Much of the effects also echo a lot of the gore we saw in “Dawn of the Dead” including the exploding head moments. That said, “The Prowler” is a surprisingly strong slasher effort that doesn’t hold a lot of doors open for sequels, but manages to be a surprisingly decent and vicious whodunit with a creative and merciless serial killer unleashed on a vacation resort.