Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Creepshow: The Deadly Ashtray

The other night I watched one of my favorite horror anthologies… Creepshow and I noticed something, something that a lot of other people noticed besides me so I kind of feel weird posting about this but I figured I’d look deeper into it. In every short story, we see that marble ashtray somewhere in the background (with the exception of Father’s Day). Why is it there? Does it mean something? Was it supposed to be a gag or a just a reoccurring element? Well, I think that I have discovered why it’s used in almost every scene and keep it mind, I am only guessing on this, this is only my interpretation of it.

First, lets look at its structure. It’s dark and almost Gothic looking piece and it’s sort of creepy in a way, which should tell you right off the bat that this is a piece that is not supposed to be nice. The design, from what I can see, is that of a little boy sitting up against a tombstone looking down into the ‘tray’ part as though he was looking into a grave. This symbolizes death, which is ironic because the ash goes into the ‘grave’ almost like it was saying that smoking would eventually cause death. The first time we are introduced to the ashtray, it was shown as the object in which one of the characters kills her father with, setting up that this piece causes death. It’s like an omen of sorts, whenever a person is about to die or is going to die; this piece is somewhere in the scenery or next to something that is important.

Below, I have screen captured all the scenes that had this ashtray so that you can see where it fits in with everything.

Father’s Day

Here, the ashtray is used to kill the Father. Nothing special but as I stated before, it is supposed to set up that this ashtray is not meant to be a good sign when you see it. You can argue that the ashtray is still a murder weapon, just not directly.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill

In this segment, it doesn’t really have a meaning like how Father’s Day was an act of revenge. Here, it’s foreshadowing that Jordy will eventually die, but Jordy is very nice but goofy kind of a person. So I guess it’s his own stupidity that causes his end.

Something To Tide You Over

As you can see, the ashtray is not on the desk of Richard Vickers just after he got done sadistically murdering his wife and her secret lover by buying them in the sand while the tide came in. The ashtray is symbolizing that Richard is about die a very harsh death because of his coldblooded actions and again, it’s out of pure revenge.

The Crate

In this scene, after realizing his friend was telling the truth about finding a monster in a crate and that it killed 2 people, Henry decides to lure his drunk and emotionally abusive wife to the monster so that he can get rid of her. The ashtray is right next to the letter that would lead his wife Wilma to the college where she would be eaten. Another act of revenge foreshadowed by the ashtray.

They’re Creeping Up On You

This is the best example of poetic justice that I will later elaborate on in another post. Here, we see Upson Pratt washing his hands after spraying a few roaches. Soon, the roaches invade his penthouse and they kill him. The ashtray symbolizes the best kind of justice, the revenge from all the ‘roaches’ that Pratt killed and destroyed.


dangercinema said...

Question is who has that ashtray and would they be willing to part with it?

Rev. Phantom said...

Damn! I've seen CREEPSHOW countless times and have never caught that. Very interesting.

"Man behind the Curtain" Drew said...

I hadn't caught on to that, either. And I love Stephen King's work on film. In regards to the ashtray specifically, I would guess that it's playing on a pun with the expression "ashes to ashes".

Unk said...

Never noticed this before. I'm going out to buy a new ashtray..Thanks for this post!-UNk

silverbanshee said...

I only just noticed it despite watching Creepshow every Halloween. That's how I found this post none years later. LOL!

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