Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Poor Man's Creepshow

What do you get when you combine the campy horror stories of Creepshow and the charismatic likeness of Vincent Price? Well, you get a poor man’s Creepshow knock-off known as From A Whisper To A Scream, which was alternatively called The Offspring. Essentially Price places an old bookkeeper for a town that has a dark history. A friend of his niece visits him right after she was executed to ask questions pertaining to her and Price begins to talk about the town’s dark history. It’s a horror anthology and it’s told as though we were reading history books on this town. But how is it a poor man’s Creepshow you may ask?

Well, there are two major similarities that the film bares to Creepshow but than again that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a rip-off. You know what they say everybody steals from everybody. The first similarity is that they both employ an over-the-top, ham-handed, corny story that’s usually just fun to watch. The stories in The Offspring (this is the short title), are not scary at all. In fact, a lot of them are so tacky and so exaggerated that they come off as either boring or just plain funny. A great example of this would be the story about the kids that torture the Civil War soldiers. It’s a direct copy of Children of the Corn only far more cheesy. Even the story about the glass-eater was so rushed that the acting was poor and story was uninspired. Creepshow’s stories were hammy but they were visually appealing. The Offspring has the veteran acting talent of Clu Gulager while Creepshow has the talent of E.G. Marshall so they both have some star value to them. The main point that I am making is that The Offspring’s stories were rushed and therefore they were very unappealing but Creepshow’s stories were stylized giving us something to enjoy about.

The last similarity, and this may only pertain to Creepshow 2, but they both have a very charismatic yet imposing host. Creepshow 2 had The Creep who was just like a cheesy TV host; he made a lot of sarcastic one-liners, he spoke in a deep creepy voice, and he was fun to watch because he was so physical. If I’m not mistaken Tom Savini played The Creep. However, The Offspring has got them beat when it comes to hosts because they had veteran horror movie icon Vincent Price play the bookkeeper for the town. His screen presents in magnetic in the sense that you can’t take your eyes off of him. Seeing him sit in his library, holding up a glass of wine, dressed in a robe and speaking in such a clear but pronounced voice made this a treat for any horror fan. It’s shame that he wasn’t in Creepshow as well.

I’m not merely saying that every anthology horror movie is a rip-off of Creepshow but I found that The Offsping really kept a lot of the aspects that made Creepshow what it was. Sure there was other movies like Body Bags or Tales From The Dark Side but The Offspring was way before this. It’s not a completely bad movie but it only made me want to watch Creepshow despite the presence of Price. But for a campy 80s horror tale… it’s worth a look.


Bleaux Leaux said...

I missed this one somewhere along the way, but I'd watch it for Price alone if I ever happen to come across it. There's a certain commonality with all horror anthologies, but Creepshow was certainly one of the more successful examples of the form.

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