One Blu (Ray) to Rule Them All: Creepshow (Scream Factory) VS Creepshow (Second Sight)



Studio: Scream Factory / Second Sight

Release Date: November 12th, 1982 (theatrical) / October 28th, 2013 (Second Sight) / October 23rd, 2018 (Scream Factory)

Run Time: 120 mins

Region Code: A (locked) (Scream Factory) / B (locked) (Second Sight)

Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (Scream Factory) / 1080p (1.78:1 aspect ratio) (Second Sight)

Sound: 2.0 DTS-HD MA and 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Scream Factory) / 2.0 LPCM and 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Second Sight)

Subtitles: English (Scream Factory) / None (Second Sight)

Starring: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau

Written by Stephen King

Directed by George A. Romero

Rating: R (strong horror violence and gore and for language)

For all of the screenshots:

Top: Scream Factory

Bottom: Second Sight



THE FILM
Five tales of terror are presented. The first deals with a demented old man returning from the grave to get the Father's Day cake his murdering daughter never gave him. The second is about a not-too-bright farmer discovering a meteor that turns everything into plant-life. The third is about a vengeful husband burying his wife and her lover up to their necks on the beach. The fourth is about a creature that resides in a crate under the steps of a college. The final story is about an ultra-rich businessman who gets his comeuppance from cockroaches.

Horror anthologies are usually a mixed bag. Most of the time you will get one good story with the others being good to ok. There are not very many anthologies where the stories are all worth sitting through and become instantly memorable. Creepshow is one of those anthologies that are worth every second.

The film consists of five stories that don’t really have any through line other than they are part of a comic book that appears in the film’s wraparound story. The stories all feature colorful visuals and comic book panels and cutouts. This is something that separates the film from other anthologies. While those films just want to tell a series of stories, Creepshow wants to stand out amongst the crowd.



The first story is probably the most straightforward and “normal”. A man dies before getting his Father’s Day cake and returns from the dead for it, and some revenge. The story is straightforward, but it is the visuals and makeup help this story along. This is actually the first taste that we get of the film’s visual style, which is a mix of Dario Argento and something you would see in the theatre. It is exaggerated but with a point. The film wants to replicate the look and feel of a comic book. This style also allows the film to be more a “fun” horror film rather than a horrific one.

The second story features Stephen King, who also wrote the script, as a farmer who finds a meteor in his backyard. He dreams of what he can do with this discovery and you can tell that King is having a ball playing this role. He is very cheesy and corny, but it plays to the stories strong suit, which is comedy. This is the only story in the film that is more comedic than it is scary. There are still some scares in the film, but King’s hammy acting brings the comedy to the forefront.



The third story features Leslie Nielsen, of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame, as a rich man who kidnaps his wife and her lover, buries them up to their necks in the sand on a beach that he owns, and videotapes them drowning. Nielsen, before getting into comedy in the early 80’s, was known for his dramatic work in films like Forbidden Planet and Night Train to Paris and here he is great. Nielsen is menacing and scary which helps ground the story for its first half. He then gets a bit hammy in the second part of the story, but that is when the story is much less grounded. I liked this story a lot, but not as much as I liked the next story.

The fourth story is the best story. Titled The Crate, the story features a monster inside of a crate found underneath a stairwell at the local college.  The creature has been locked in the crate for over a century and when it is opened, the monster feeds on whoever it can. I love this story. The slow build up that Romero uses to build the tension is well handled here, making the reveal of the monster that much better. While we don’t get that many looks at the monster, the effects work is brilliant. We believe this monster exists and that is no small feat. I want to give Adrienne Barbeau, who gives such a great performance as Hal Holbrook’s hateful wife, that we are rooting for her to die. There is some comedy on display here, but this is mostly a horror story.



The last story features an incredibly rich man who lives in a sterile apartment due to his fear of germs. There isn’t much to this story other than the man’s apartment is overrun with cockroaches and no matter what he does to get rid of them, he ultimately ends up their victim. This story has one thing going for it that it gets a pass: cockroaches. Ugh. I hate the little things and this story makes sure of that. The creepy crawlers are just disgusting here and any time that I have seen this film, I have just wanted to turn it off here and call it a day. I still always make it through, but it is difficult.

Creepshow is a great horror anthology, plain and simple. Every one of the stories has something going for it and everyone involved is at the top of their game. The effects work from Tom Savini is excellent as usual and you can tell that he likes playing with the fun aspect of this horror film. Romero direction is different enough in each story that you would think that each story was directed by someone else. That to me proves that this film works. King has given each story something different and none of them feel like they were shoved into a horror anthology. That is the problem with many horror anthologies. Creepshow should be required viewing every Halloween or whenever you watch your horror films.





THE PICTURE

Taken from a recent 4K scan of the film’s original negative, Creepshow looks amazing. Detail is high here and there is a thin layer of grain that helps with this. Colors are absolutely gorgeous as Romero used a very healthy color palette and skin tones are just right. Blacks are deep and inky and the whole thing has a very film-like feel to it. The color timing is much bolder than in the Second Sight disc. This is because DP Michael Gornick reworked the color so that it stands out more. The Second Sight blu-ray is much closer to how to the film has always looked and the Scream Factory disc is how the DP always wanted it to look. Needless to say, but this is one of the best transfers of the year. 





One thing that I want to say before I move on. Scream Factory has retained the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and didn’t open the picture up to a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I applaud this as Warner Brothers since they started releasing on blu-ray, has always opened up the picture to a 1.78:1 instead of keeping the thin black bars on the top and bottom. This is pretty important to me as this keeps the director’s intentions there. I know that most will say that it doesn’t really matter, given the minor difference between the two aspect ratios, but it does matter. I like the 1.85:1 look on the TV better because it feels like you’re watching a film, rather than watching something on TV. Since all TV shows are now shot in 1.78:1, any film that is opened up to that ratio has the same look as the TV show or film. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio is just different enough to make it feel different. There is nothing wrong with the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, but when everything is shot that way, something small like thin black bars on the top and bottom of the screen can make all the difference. That’s it for my little rant.





The Second Sight blu-ray was good for when it was released, but it just looks like a transfer that a studio would do for broadcast on cable or TV. There is nothing really wrong with the picture, but it just doesn’t feel like we are watching a film. Colors are bright, but never really feel true. There is no really any grain, but there isn’t DNR or anything like that. This is an older master so it is not going to be able to compete with the transfers of today.





THE SOUND

The Scream Factory release comes in two forms: a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. Both tracks sound great, but the real track is the 2.0 as that is how the film was released. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the score from John Harrison sounds great. Everything is balanced properly and there are no issues to report. There are also English subtitles for those who need or want them.

The Second Sight blu-ray comes with 2.0 LPCM track and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. Of course, the 2.0 is what we went with and it sounds good as well. There is more of a proper balance and a bit more clarity on the Scream Factory disc, but this disc doesn’t sound bad at all.





THE PACKAGING




The Scream Factory release is brilliant. We get a hard slip box that features brand new commissioned artwork and it just looks so pretty.


The case on the inside is a standard blu-ray case that features the main theatrical poster on one side and an alternate poster on the reverse side.



There is also a 36-page booklet that features an essay about Creepshow and the horror anthology craze its success caused.


The disc art features the same artwork as the hard box.

The disc is REGION A (locked)



The Second Sight release features the same artwork as the Scream Factory reverse cover does.


The disc art features the same artwork as the cover.

The disc is REGION B (locked)

THE FEATURES





Terror and the Three Rivers (30m 13s, HD) A roundtable discussion featuring John Amplas, Tom Atkins, Tom Savini, and Marty Schiff with moderation by Red Shirt Pictures own Michael Felsher.

The Come Back Look (12m 51s, HD) Interview with Production Designer Barbara Anderson

Ripped from the Pages (15m 37s, HD) Interview with Animator Rick Catizone

The Colors of Creepshow (10m 10s, HD) Interview with Cinematographer Michael Gornick




Into the Mix (13m 5s, HD) Interview with Sound Re-recordist Chris Jenkins

Mondo Macabre (9m 42s, HD) Interview with Rob James and Josh Curry, the two guys who run Mondo.

Collecting Creepshow (12m 31s, HD) Interview with collector David Burian

Tom Savini’s Behind the Scenes Footage (25m 52s, SD, 1.33:1)





Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (14m 56s, HD) A tour of the film’s Pittsburgh/Monroeville, Pennsylvania locations.

Deleted Scenes (15m 31s, SD, 1.33:1)

Trailers

U.S. Trailer (1m 49s, HD)
Portuguese Trailer (58s, SD, 1.33:1)

TV Spot (28s, SD, 1.33:1)

Radio Spots (1m 4s, SD) 2 Spots

Still Galleries 

Poster and Lobby Cards (6m 44s, HD) 82 images
Movie Posters (2m 20s, HD) 29 images
Color Stills (2m 15s, HD) 28 images
Special FX Make-Up (6m 4s, HD) 74 images
Behind the Scenes (6m 29s, HD) 79 images

Commentary #1: director George A. Romero and Special Effects Make-Up Creator Tom Savini

Commentary #2: First Assistant Director John Harrison and Construction Co-Ordinator Ed Fountain

Commentary #3: Cinematographer Michael Gornick

Audio Interviews (Basically Audio Commentary #4): Cinematographer Michael Gornick, Actor John Amplas, Property Manager Bruce Allan Miller, and Make-Up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferruci


Commentary with George A. Romero and Tom Savini

Commentary with Michael Gornick, John Amplas, Bruce Allan Miller, and Darryl Ferruci



Just Desserts!: The Making of Creepshow (1h 29m, HD)

Behind the Screams with Tom Savini (26m 29s, SD, 1.33:1)

Deleted Scenes (15m 20s, SD, 1.33:1)

Theatrical Trailer (1m 29s, SD)



Original TV Spot (26s, SD, 1.33:1)

Still Galleries

Artwork (6 images)
Autographed Items (4 images)
Behind the Scenes (76 images)
Books (9 images)
Lobby Cards (63 images)
Magazine Articles (47 images)
Official Photos (20 images)
Original Comic Book Art (20 images)
Posters (12 images)
Press Books (62 images)
Printed Ads (6 images)
Screenplay (2 images)
Soundtracks (19 images)
Special Effects Behind the Scenes (68 images)
Trading Cards (35 images)
Video and DVD covers (19 images)

The first thing that you will notice is that the Scream Factory blu-ray does not feature the Just Desserts doc. That is because the U.S. rights belong to Synapse and it probably wasn’t worth it for either company to include it here. If you already own the Synapse blu-ray then you are good. For those that don’t, you can either buy that release or you can hunt down the Second Sight blu-ray. It is really up to you, but the Synapse blu-ray does contain special features not found on the Second Sight blu-ray.

You will also notice that everything besides the making of doc has been carried over from the Second Sight blu-ray, which were carried over from the Region 2, Universal disc. This means that on top of the brand new interviews and commentary tracks that Scream Factory commissioned, the legacy features are here as well.

So, if you want the absolute Ultimate Edition of Creepshow, you will have to buy the Scream Factory of Creepshow and the Synapse blu-ray of Just Desserts.



Overall

The Scream Factory blu-ray is fantastic. The picture and audio are outstanding and the special features package is really nice, even if it is missing the Just Desserts documentary.

The Second Sight blu-ray was a good release for its time. The picture and audio are good but were really good upon release. The special features package DOES include Just Desserts, but none of the new stuff (obviously).

The winner of this match-up is: SCREAM FACTORY

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