Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow (2007)

Comments Off on Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow (2007) 29 June 2016


Studio: Synapse

Blu Ray Release: July 12, 2016

Director: Michael Felsher

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Michael Felsher’s 2007 feature length documentary on the making of Creepshow was a 25th anniversary retrospective on the making of George Romero’s 1982 horror classic. Featuring never before scene footage and interviews with just about everyone who worked on the film, this documentary was only seen in the UK on the Creepshow special edition DVD. Unfortunately, this documentary was never released in the States due to Warner Brothers not having any interest in releasing a special edition DVD (or blu ray). However, Universal owned the rights to Creepshow over seas and jumped at a chance to make a special edition DVD which was long sought after in the States if one was lucky enough to have an all region DVD player and was willing to shell out some bucks for the DVD. Thankfully, Felsher’s documentary has now been picked up by Synapse and presented in glorious HD with a TON of special features that will make any fan of Creepshow want to rush out and buy this blu ray.

My memory is a bit of a blur as I can’t remember if Blue Thunder or Creepshow was my first R rated film but Creepshow was definitely one of the first. I still remember the video store playing it on the TV (it was during The Crate episode) and as I was off in the science fiction section, my Dad asked the clerk what that was and asked to rent it. I saw there was a werewolf creature on the TV so of course I was game. It wasn’t until on the way home my Mom opened up the tan video box and saw the little R rating on the tape and informed my Dad what a mistake he made. Being forced to go upstairs to my room to play with toys while my parents watched it, I knew I was not beaten. I got up super early the next morning and threw that movie into the VCR. Creepshow scared the living shit out of me but yet I loved it, and while I didn’t quite get the humor of the movie, I had a ball watching it. If anything, I was more disturbed by the ending when the young kid stabs a voodoo doll of his father. I had never seen a movie end in such a dark way. Creepshow began my love for Stephen King as well, reading everything I could get my hands on, even sneaking books out of the library to read so I wouldn’t get caught. One of the best Christmases I ever had was my parents getting me a signed copy of the Creepshow comic book by Stephen King and George Romero.

Ok, sorry for going down memory lane but the documentary brought back a lot of childhood memories as it has been awhile since I have sat down and watched the entire film. While I feel it may be a necessity to watch the film before viewing the documentary, I feel the documentary may be entertaining and captivating enough even for those who have not seen the movie. Starting from the pre-production phases to the release of the film in the autumn of 1982, the documentary focuses on every aspect of the film. There are interviews with Romero, make up artist Tom Savini, composer John Harrison, producer Richard Rubinstein, costume designers, grips, actors; all expressing their love in making the film and while it was shot on a tight budget which lead to the film almost losing the final entry in the anthology “They’re Creeping Up on You”, it was a fun and pleasant experience with everyone having a ball making this picture.

If I was going to say there was a center piece to this documentary, I would say Tom Savini and the make up effects crew may be the stars. Savini, always an interesting person to watch while being interviewed, goes into great detail about designing the creature effects and pulling off some pretty gruesome moments, proving once again that CGI is for the birds as these effects still look just as good now as it did back in 1982. Especially the final segment where thousands of cockroaches explode out of actor E.G. Marshall, leaving a very satisfied and happy Savini in its wake. I loved watching the old camcorder footage of Savini and his crew working on some of these effects. There is even a very quick, brief look at some make up work being done on the segment “Father’s Day” that was not in the actual film. All these moments are great, making me long for the heyday of practical effects.

The one thing missing from this documentary is King himself. King has done many interviews in the past but as of lately seems to have been less in the public eye in regards to being interviewed. However, there is plenty of footage of King on the set as well as various crew members and actors who speak about him fondly, leaving the viewer with the impression that he actually contributed to the documentary.

Just Desserts comes with two audio commentary tracks. One track features three seperate interviews with actor John Amplas, prop master Bruce Alan Miller, and Savini’s make up assistant Darryl Ferrucci. Flesher explains that he couldn’t get these three men in 2007 but have since “come out of the woodwork” as he puts it. The track is decent but nothing to write home about. It’s Flesher’s own commentary that I found amazing. Not having heard many commentary tracks with a documentarian, this commentary by Flesher is both insightful and honest. Flesher explains the entire process of how he was able to create this doc and explains in great detail the difficulties and challenges he faced while making Just Desserts. Some of my favorite moments was hearing about how he blew the power out of Richard Rubinstein’s office, having to travel to NYC and Pittsburgh with a head cold, and the difficulties in getting Stephen King to be a part of the documentary. One interesting side note, Flesher takes the high route in never telling the listener who it was that bailed on him in giving an interview because they didn’t like the room they were going to be interviewed in. I found this little tidbit captivating and while Flesher has some choice words for this person, he never comes out and says who it was. Classy move on his part, not sure if I could have done the same.

The special features on this blu ray blew me away. Watching everything on this disc took me an entire weekend to get through bu well worth the time. We have an all too brief interview by DP Michael Gornick who provides a little insight in shooting all five segments on Creepshow. His audio commentary on the Creepshow 2 blu ray is worth a listen if you haven’t herad it yet so I was already wanting to hear more from the man. There are extended interview segments, basically deleted scenes. Behind the Screams is on-set video of Tom Savini’s make up work which is a must see. Some of this footage is already in Just Desserts but here you get to see everything that Savini shot. A favorite amoung horror fans is Sean Clark’s Horror’s Haunted Grounds where he goes to some of the locations where Creepshow was filmed. I like Sean’s featurettes and enjoy watching them but the Creepshow locations leave much to be desired with some locations not allowing Sean to even go into or near. There is a 1982 PM Magazine segment on the making and release of Creepshow. I am old enough to remember PM Magazine so I enjoyed watching this, another nostolgia trip for the old Klein. And for those Savini fans, finally…FINALLY…the long awaited Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini Master of Horror Effects has been released. I used to rent the shit out of this VHS tape as it showed numerous clips from many of Savini’s films that he worked on which I couldn’t see as a kid (this is the first time I heard of Maniac) as well as showing viewers how to make certain effects like squibs. One of my favorite moments is when Savini uses his wife as his guinea pig and forces her to wear two squibs, shooting them off as kids from the neighborhood watch in awe. And it gets even better…there is an option to watch Scream Greats with an audio commentary by Savini himself. He also mentions on this commentary track the rumor of how he’s “a dick” at conventions and tries to put this rumor to rest.

Having spoken to Flesher several times at the Cinema Wasteland convention in Strongsville, OH over the years, Flesher has always seemed like a nice guy and I am happy to say that his fantastic documentary is a must watch and he deserves all the sucess he has worked hard for (Flesher is the one who runs Red Shirt Productions who have done several featurettes on various DVD / blu ray releases over the years). Being a Creepshow fan, Just Desserts is a must watch / must own.

Movie and Blu Ray Rating: ★★★★★


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