FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 8, 2010

scenes i love - creepshow




There are times when I don't think about Creepshow. Then I think about Creepshow, and I think, "Creepshow. Creepshow is so fucking good!" I think that because it is true. Creepshow is so fucking good. I know I've mentioned this before, but perhaps I've never talked about one particular scene I love- the scene in "Father's Day" where Nathan Grantham busts out of the ground and puts the kill on his daughter Bedelia.

Or maybe I have spoken of it, in which case I will reiterate: that scene is boss!

It's just perfect. Director George Romero lulls you with a lengthy quiet passage as Bedelia vents her frustrations to her father's tombstone. It's calm, serene, and Bedelia is a bit buzzed on Jim Beam. Then a hand bursts through the dirt right in front of her- it's a terrific terrific unbelievably wonderful jump scare- and then a rotten corpse claws its way out of the Earth. How terrifying is that?

It's very terrifying, that's how terrifying! It's one of my favorite aspects of zombie films, and one that's used way too infrequently- seeing the dead return to life and rise from their graves. In most instances the zombies are just there, no matter how recently they've turned. They're shambling (or...sigh...running) around, or maybe someone dies and subsequently gets their undead on. But breaking through their coffins and coming out of the ground? It's rare- even Romero, who's perhaps the Zombie King, hasn't featured it since Creepshow. So, I turn to "Father's Day" and Zombi and Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror and hell, even Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to get my fix.

Yeah, I know that "Father's Day", like all the other stories in Creepshow, is at least partially meant for laughs- I mean, the first thing Zombie Nathan does upon his return is ask for his damn cake...and yeah, he chokes Bedelia to death rather than eating her. But man, I saw this as a kid and let me tell you- dead people unexpectedly rising from the ground, dripping worms and making with the murder? That shit ain't funny. It is, however, most awesome.

24 comments:

MissSardonicus said...

I WANT Creepshow to be one of my favorite movies, and it is...when I fast-forward "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill". I know people who love that segment and I just don't get why. I love me some Stephen King- but not when he's acting.

Robson, Proprietor said...

YES YES YES - I've never watched CREEPSHOW without somebody in the room absolutely losing their shit when Nathan's hand busts out.

Viveca Lindfors* really sells the quiet moment before, and John Harrisons dent-dedent-dedent on the score keeps you right up there.

I have the British special edition waiting for a friend to commit to watching it with me, but dammit, I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out.

* = Patrick Macnee wrote about once receiving a "kissing lesson" from a leather-pants-wearing Ms. Lindfors during their stage careers back in the day. I mention this solely because when I come across her name while reading about 20th century theatre history, I flash on both this incident and CREEPSHOW. Viveca Lindfors was/is awesome.

Anonymous said...

Thank for appreciating my work as Dead Nate. Find me on Face Book Stacie if you want to communicate. John Amplas.

Kriscinda said...

I just bought an awesome artist's rendition of Nate carrying his Sylvia-head Father's Day cake. Gonna get Mr. Amplas to sign it in a couple of weeks at Horror Realm.

Creepshow is awesome; this scene is awesome. Had to share with someone who cares. =)

Andre said...

I'm glad we share similar thoughts on the decline of bodies rising from the grave. It really is one of the eeriest things about zombies/ skeletons that eat people (still a zombie?) And it's one of the only things I really love about Fulci's films. Return of the Living Dead hammers this home too. Which also reminds me that I kind of think zombie skeletons are more terrifying than zombie corpses. There's some yucky about stringy haired, and smelly bones that really gets me.

Daniel said...

Have you seen the comic book version drawn by Bernie Wrightson? It's awesome beyond belief!

Stacie Ponder said...

I loooove the comic, too. SO good! Wrightson can't be beat, especially when it comes to drawing corpse mouths. :D

Oh, and hi John Amplas!

Joe Monster said...

Creepshow is the cat's meow. I love this movie more than is probably good for my health. However, it does my heart good to see a fellow fan of of the "Father's Day" segment, which is (dare I say it?) my favorite story, even beating out "The Crate." That fucking zombie claw still gets me to this day, even on the 133567th watch...

Keywolf said...

I too love 'zombies rising from the grave' scenes. I think my two favorites would be Return of the Living Dead's graveyard bit (a scene so good it's in the movie twice!) and zombie Prince Javutich clawing his way out of the earth in Bava's solid-gold classic Black Sunday.

brandiweed said...

But breaking through their coffins and coming out of the ground? It's rare....

I'm pretty sure the utterly cheesy Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things has a not-too-bad mass uprising scene (though I've only seen it once and all that really stuck with me is the epic dickery of Alan Ormsby's character. The entire theatre CHEERED when he got his.)

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

omg I loved that movie since i was a kid. I gotta admit, that scene scared the hell outta me. But his kids deserved it for treating him like crap earlier on.

its cool to know that creepshow was the inspiration for tales from the crypt. that was my favorite horror show growing up and still is now to this date.

Kensington said...

The thing that really gets me about "Father's Day" is that there's almost nothing in the way of poetic justice.

Nathan was a horrible human being, and he doesn't really deserve to come back from the dead and zombie kill all his relatives, none of whom exhibit anything worse than garden variety snobbery to justify their comeuppance.

Hell, based on the flashback, it's even hard to criticize Bedelia too much for finally taking the old bastard out.

It's all really quite unfair and thus perhaps the only arguable miscalculation in the film, given that the EC comics its paying tribute to tended to be a bit more poetic in the justice they meted out.

scarina said...

I love this scene so much, it scared me to death when I was little. I rewatched the movie recently and was pleased with how well it held up over time.
Although "High Tide" will always be my fave story. That's some good vengeance.

Doug said...

This is one of my all time favorite horror movies and I love this episode. You cant beat "It's father's day and I want my cake! BEDELIA!"

What a great movie, I love a lot of great anthology horror films. We need more of these now.

It never got a proper dvd release outside of the UK version. I picked up the Blu ray and it looks really good in the proper aspect ratio, it is the best of any incarnation of this movie on home video.

veggiemacabre said...

You were the topic of discussion at the pub last night and it was all due to your wonderful observation and creative imagination in regards to a zombie icing Bedelia's severed head. Goodness, to be a fly on the wall in that kitchen!

whatever1964 said...

To this day, when I'm braking in my car, I find myself quoting dotty Old Aunt Bedelia: "Screech to a halt, as they say!" One of my other favorites is pre-zombified Nate grumbling "Nothing but a bunch of vultures!"

unclemike said...

Creepshow is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I really dig the UK dvd that came out--so much stuff to love!.

Here's where I get to brag:I own an actual comic book page, drawn by Bernie Wrightson, from the "Something To Tide You Over" section of the comic book. It's of Ted Danson's head underwater, and it's on my dining room wall.

Right next to your Nosferatu painting, Stacie.

Stacie Ponder said...

I am not worthy!! Wow. I am, however, completely envious. I've never seen a Wrightson piece in the flesh! Err, in the bristol board. Or whatever.

Art Almquist said...

So many thoughts on this amazing film! I saw it in the theatre four times when I was but 15, burned through a VHS copy of the WB VHS edition because I couldn't afford the $89.95 for the tape, and on and on. (Remember when people were copying VHS tapes? And that annoying pull at the top of the screen to prevent it? Ah, the good old days ...)

Stacie, I know you're no fan of Blu-Ray, but I agree with the other post on how great the film is in this format - even though it has none of the UK edition's features (???), the film has never looked or sounded better.

OK, now a question for you and all the die-hards out there. Near the end of "Father's Day," Cass asks Richard to go and look for Hank, to which he replies "My darling sister, he is your he- ... husband, I mean." What on God's green earth was he about to say? When I was a kid, I thought it was some adult reference I'd understand somewhere down the road. Nope, still no luck. Anybody have any ideas?

Great post as usual, Stacie!

Brent Schoonover said...

Don't Let Go! Don't Let Go!

Stacie Ponder said...

Art- I watched that moment a couple of times after your comment, and it's tough to make out...so I checked the comic book (I feel so Jessica Fletcher, trying to crack the case!). In the book, the line is "He's your husband. Besides, I think he's a hick!" Listening to the line now, I think it's "He's your hick- husband, I mean." Pretty sure that's it.

For the record, I'm not necessarily ANTI Blu-Ray. I don't have one and won't be upgrading anytime soon, but there's no denying that movies can look absolutely gorgeous in that format. Google the differences in the DVD vs new Blu-Ray edition of Cameron's Aliens- it's unbelievable!

Brent, that song RULES.

vortexgods said...

As a child, I was obsessed with this movie Creepshow. It would be no exaggeration to say it was my favorite thing ever, and that "Father's Day" was my favorite part.

However, after that, I inevitably went down the road of collecting old E. C. horror comics (E.C. horror comics... Creepshow over and over again, ad infinitum and ad nauseum) and I realized something: "Father's Day" broke the rule. In E.C. horror comics, when some guy came back from the dead to murder the people who murdered him, he hadn't murdered anyone himself while he was alive. Maybe there is an exception (vampire's don't count) but I can't remember one.

This was odd, considering Creepshow was intended as an homage to the big three (Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear and all the other stories in the movie stuck closely to the rules.)

It's still my favorite part of Creepshow, with Crate a close second, but that's always gonna bother me. I'll forgive it though, for those great Tom Savini special effects...

vortexgods said...

Also, I'll admit, I have the DVD of Creepshow but why did it have to be one of those crummy double sided DVDs... I got a nasty scratch on one side, at least it's the fullscreen version side.

Mr. Xploit, Esquire said...

Yes it is so fucking good. I kind of worship the cinematography in Father's Day. This scene in particular because it happens during the DAY and it still manages to be fucking creepy.