One of the tragic oversights in the treatment of ’80s horror films on U.S. blu-ray is the lack of a special edition for Creepshow. It’s a beloved classic for many horror fans but if they live in the U.S., they have to settle for an extras-free catalog disc from Warner Brothers.
Michael Felsher picked up the gauntlet of extras for a U.K. DVD set that featured his excellent documentary Just Desserts: The Making Of Creepshow. With Warners showing no interest in doing a blu-ray special edition, Felsher started a crowdfunding campaign to release it himself in the U.S. as a limited edition disc Synapse later came in to make it a broader release. The resulting blu-ray not only gives it a handsome presentation but adds a fistful of new extras to make it even more appealing.
The HD transfer looks good, capturing the blend of Graeme Potts’ digital photography, film clips and file footage in a handsome way. The 2.0 stereo mix is presented in lossless form and the dialogue-centric mix sounds nice and crisp here.
However, the real excitement here lies in the bevy of extras. Essentially, all you have to do is add this disc to the U.S version of Creepshow and there’s enough supplements to make it feel like you’ve got your own deluxe special edition of the film. Here’s a breakdown of the bonus features…
Commentary 1: Felsher starts the extras off with a solo commentary track. He starts with his personal history in the extras business and how it led to a friendship with Romero. He then gets into the nitty-gritty of the producing the documentary, explaining the circumstances that led to its creation and how it was organized and shot on a tight budget. You get neat tales of the different interview subjects as well as insight into the working process behind this sort of documentary.
Commentary 2: This track utilizes a trademark Felsher tactic: simply put, he gets ahold of people he couldn’t get during the documentary filming and fashions the audio interviews into an alternate soundtrack choice for viewers. In this case, he’s gotten prop master Bruce Alan Miller, FX assistant Darryl Ferrucci and actor John Amplas. It’s relaxed but full of interesting trivia: particulars on production design, a view on the makeup effects from someone who had to enact them on camera and the unique challenges of playing a zombie. Fans with a completist streak will adore having this extra info.
Creepshow Days (8:01): this interview features Creepshow cinematographer Michael Gornick, one of the few key crew members who couldn’t be snared for the main feature. He makes up for lost time here, offering quick thoughts on each segment of the film. Highlights include details on how the “comic panel” lighting effects were done and tales of shooting thousands of cockroaches.
Behind The Screams (26:31): a collection of Tom Savini’s behind-the-scenes video footage from the shoot tarted up with fun comic-style frames and titles that break it up into segments. Look for tests of an exploding head that was cut from the “Father’s Day” segment and Ted Danson hamming it up in zombie makeup.
Extended Interviews (23:45): three added segments with Romero, Savini and comics artist Bernie Wrightson. Romero gives additional thoughts on the different segments and doing some recutting to pass muster with Warner Brothers, Savini talks about some FX not used in the “Crate” segment and Wrightson offers a frank assessment of his work on the famous Creepshow tie-in comic.
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (14:56): The locations tour is brief here as much of the film was shot on homemade soundstages (the neatest location stuff involves “The Crate”). However, the segment is fleshed out with a nice surprise in the form of an interview with Tom Atkins!
Evening Magazine Segment (7:31): a vintage t.v. news segment that includes some background footage of the shoot, with a gnarly focus on the cockroaches from the final segment.
Photo Gallery (8:30): this animated collection of images has a heavy focus on behind-the-scenes FX material
Scream Greats, Volume One (52:54): the fan favorite of these extras for many is the first official release of this classic VHS-era documentary on Savini. It captures him at the mid-’80s pinnacle of his Fangoria god status, putting the FX wiz front and center to tell his story and bringing Romero, assistants like Greg Nicotero and even a couple of Fangoria editors to flesh out the tale. There’s also tons of film clips alongside, a section about Savini’s oft-overlooked work as actor and stuntman and even a few good Day Of The Dead stories. In short, a classic time capsule that ’80s horror fans will adore.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a newly-recorded commentary track for Scream Greats with Savini and Felsher. It delves into what happened after the glory era that the documentary covers and gives some interesting background about why Savini transitioned out of doing makeup effects and the chaos behind the scenes on the remake of Night Of The Living Dead that he directed.
To read Schlockmania’s documentary review for Just Desserts: The Making Of Creepshow, click here.