Exclusive details: “CREEPSHOW” documentary coming to Blu-ray with Savini “SCREAM GREATS” and moreHome,Movies/TV,News Michael Gingold
A feature-length look at the making of George A. Romero’s classic CREEPSHOW will see its U.S. Blu-ray debut this year with a host of special features. Read on for the exclusive details, and a look at the cover art.
Over the weekend at North Carolina’s Mad Monster Party convention, Fango spoke with longtime DVD and Blu-ray supplement/documentary producer Michael Felsher, who hosted a special showing of his JUST DESSERTS: THE MAKING OF “CREEPSHOW.” Previously visible only on a 2007 UK double-DVD set and subsequent British Blu-ray of the 1982 Stephen King-scripted anthology, JUST DESSERTS includes interviews with Romero, makeup/creature FX creator Tom Savini, producer Richard P. Rubinstein, actors Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Ed Harris and many others, plus plenty of on-set footage. It will be issued in the U.S. for the first time by Synapse Films in conjunction with Felsher’s Red Shirt Pictures, and the Blu-ray will be fully loaded with bonus material.
“I did a commentary track for it,” Felsher tells Fango, “and there’s a second commentary by actor John Amplas, Darryl Ferrucci [Savini’s assistant on the movie] and Bruce Alan Miller, the art director; those three are not in the documentary. Then there’s an interview with cinematographer Michael Gornick, who is also not in the documentary, and extended interview outtakes; I went through everything and found a lot of good stuff we didn’t use. There are deleted sequences, a behind-the-scenes still gallery and some more making-of footage.
“Then we’ll have SCREAM GREATS VOL. 1, the classic Tom Savini documentary, in there,” Felsher continues. “FANGORIA produced that back in 1986 for Paramount Home Video, who have held onto it ever since. It had life on VHS and laserdisc, but Paramount never reissued it again after that; it just got kind of buried. I’ve tried to secure the rights to it for a couple of other Blu-rays over the last few years, and Paramount was like, ‘What’s this thing we own? We don’t know…’ I finally got ahold of someone over there, Paramount graciously did some research and they let me know that they had no issues with me using the SCREAM GREATS piece as a supplemental feature on JUST DESSERTS.”
Felsher also recalls that Warner Bros., the studio that released CREEPSHOW theatrically and on bare-bones DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S., was apathetic about supplemental material for the film. “I had the idea to do the documentary while I was on the set of DIARY OF THE DEAD, shooting all the EPK, and I brought the idea to George. I said, ‘Would you ever want to do something for CREEPSHOW?’ and he said, ‘I’d love to,’ because Warner Bros. had never shown any interest in doing it. I came up with a project proposal and took it to Warner Bros., and with all respect to them, it didn’t fit into their marketing plans at the time, and it died right there. Then I found out later that Universal UK was getting ready to release CREEPSHOW on DVD over there for the first time, so I sent the proposal to them and they said yes. The cool thing was that they only owned the rights to the movie for the UK, so while they couldn’t give me much money to work with, they said, ‘We’ll own [JUST DESSERTS] for the UK only,’ and I ended up owning it for everywhere else.”
Once he decided to put JUST DESSERTS out on its own disc, Felsher had the opportunity to approach CREEPSHOW contributors he hadn’t secured the first time around. “I didn’t really know Mike Gornick at the time—he wasn’t really out in public, and we couldn’t find him—but I know him very well now, and there were a couple of other people I wanted to get in there. But at a certain point, I thought, ‘I don’t want to reopen the documentary.’ It had been so many years since I did it, and it had been out there and available, that it felt disingenuous to re-edit something I did all those years ago. I just decided to leave it alone, and put all the extra stuff in there around the documentary to compensate for that.”
One key CREEPSHOW figure he has never been able to nail down is King himself. “Stephen simply declined to do it,” Felsher reveals. “I originally went through his people, but he had made a statement once that he didn’t like participating in DVD stuff, because he thought it was fluff and not really consequential, and I think my project got kind of wrapped up in that somehow. George even contacted him personally, and he still declined. I wouldn’t want to guess as to the reasons why, but I respect them, and it’s fine; he doesn’t do a lot of these kinds of things. So no hard feelings, and he’s certainly well-represented in the documentary, and you get a really good sense of what it was like to work with him.”
We’ll keep you posted on a street date for JUST DESSERTS; in the meantime, check out an excerpt below the art.