The terrifying history of a small town is revealed through several creepy stories, in this anthology horror effort from the amazing 1980s.
Disco may have been dead in 1986, but the horror business was flourishing. This film follows in the “Creepshow” tradition of stringing several stories together. The story finds s reporter attending the execution of a mass murderer. After the event, she goes to the town library, where Mr. White waits to tell her all about the sordid history of Oldfield, Tenn.
The first tale takes in a recent event. Town businessman, and certified nerd, Stanley falls for a young lady who works at his mill. Unfortunately, he is saddled with taking care of an invalid sister. She is a piece of work who requires nightly ice baths and back rubs. Stanley musters up the courage to ask out a young woman at the mill. The date goes way off script and culminates in his strangling her to death. Later, he reads her some awful poetry that he wrote, so you might say she was actually lucky to expire before that moment.
The second date goes better. He visits her at the mortuary and … well, less said, the better. Except nine months later a zombie/ghoul/baby crawls out of the young woman’s grave and it has some “daddy” issues.
Next, we learn about a 1940s con-man. He falls afoul of local hoods and winds up gutshot in the swamp. He is rescued by an older man who uses voodoo to stay young. Our greedy criminal decides to turn on his rescuer and finds out, too late, that you can’t outwit a guy who has lived for 200 years. This one ends with a super creepy twist, with the con-man writhing in pain and wishing for a death that will be a very long time in coming.
The next story centers on a carnival and we already know they are in trouble, as the troupe is named after H.P. Lovecraft. A geek performer (the kind that swallows razor blades, not the kind that watches too much “Star Trek”) falls for a local lady and this upsets the tyrannical carney owner, who decides that she can take away the ability to eat razor blades and replace it with the inability to keep them in one’s stomach. A very messy ending ensues.
The final tale shows how the town got to be so grim. Turns out the adults were all killed by unfriendly fire during a Civil War battle. The war orphans refused to take this lying town and prepared a reception for wandering soldiers. What follows are some of the most brutal variations on child games ever committed to celluloid. The most grisly game involves a unique spin on “Pin the tail on the Donkey” and is guaranteed to turn your stomach.
This is all brought to you with an eclectic cast that manages to sell the stories with panache. Vincent Price toplines as the librarian. It is nice to see this genre stalwart flexing his muscles 50 years after his film debut. This would be his last horror outing and his goriest effort (next to “Theater of Blood,” which is also on this disc). Clu Gulager is also good as the nerdish villain of the first story, and three cheers to Cameron Mitchell, who appears as a nasty soldier in the last tale. Fun and forgettable.
Bets line: “He eats broken glass and razor blades like you eat your Wheaties.”
1986, rated R.