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Craic at the Fright Pub:
Remembering the Premiere of Creepshow

May 16th, 2021

Stephen King and Peter Straub read from The Talisman at the World Fantasy Convention in New Haven, Connecticut, October 1982.

Photo:The 21st Century Scop

The first rule of Fright Pub is you must listen to Fright Pub. And the second rule of Fright Pub is bring something to drink. That’s because, at this horror-movie podcast, it’s not only about the movies. It’s also about the craic – aka, the Irish tradition of freewheeling conversation over a couple of pints … or more than a couple if the craic is flowing, which it always is at Fright Pub.

Hosted by film buffs Liam Macik, Sean (Shaggy) Sears, and Lauren Connolly, Fright Pub has become the gathering place for a growing community of cinephiles, and in their latest installment, I got to drop by the bar as the trio discussed the George Romero / Stephen King anthology film from 1982 — Creepshow.

I’m not an authority on the film, but I was on hand for its premiere at The World Fantasy Convention, and talking about it brought back some surprisingly vivid memories.

As I recall in the podcast, Straub was a guest of honor at that year’s WFC, and one of the highlights of the convention was a reading in which he and King shared excerpts from The Talisman. In true Fright Pub fashion, each author arrived with his drink of choice – a bottle of Dom Perignon for Straub, a six-pack of Stroh’s 16oz cans for King. At the time, The Talisman existed only in manuscript, hundreds of typed pages on white and blue paper.

One of the excerpts they shared was from Chapter 18: Wolf Goes to the Movies, in which protagonist Jack Sawyer and his werewolf friend (known simply as Wolf) attend a screening of Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings, and all goes well until Wolf starts howling in the crowded theatre.

King read with relish, howling between sips of Stroh’s.

The door at the back of Cinema 6 opened. “What’s going on in here?”

“Wolf, shut up!” Jack hissed. “For God’s sake–“


A woman got a good look at Wolf as the white light from the lobby fell on him. She screamed and began dragging her little boy out by one arm. Literally dragging him; the kid had fallen to his knees and was skidding up the popcorn-littered carpet of the center aisle. One of his sneakers had come off.


The day after the reading, at 9:30 on a Sunday morning, we trekked half-a-mile north to the York Square Cinema where Creepshow was screened for 500 members of the convention. No one howled like a wolf, though the place filled with cheers when King made his screen debut as Jordy Verrill in one of the two segments based on a previously published King story.

On the podcast, I recalled that the segment had been adapted from “It Grows on You,” which appeared in the small-press magazine Whispers just a couple months before Creepshow premiered. In actuality, the segment is based on “Weeds,” which originally appeared in Cavalier in 1977 as “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.” The source of my faulty recollection is possibly the cover of the August 1982 issue of Whispers, which shows a Jordy-Verrill-like character with green foliage sprouting from his face. The title “It Grows on You” is also likely to blame for my false memory.

The other segment based on a previously published story is “The Crate,” from Gallery, July 1979. (Back in those days, the men’s magazines helped more than a few writers pay their rent.) This one features a final scene filmed at a flooded Pennsylvania quarry where I used to scuba dive with fellow-front-man for the Laughrey Connolly Band. He went on to work for the Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, and it was there that he took a call from location scouts seeking a good place to sink a monster in a box.

That old quarry has since been drained and filled in. If the box is down there, it’s covered with tons of landfill, awaiting excavation. Anyone for a sequel?

We concluded my pub visit with some thoughts on Creepshow’s reliance (some might say over-reliance) on humor. Lauren wanted to know if I had any idea why Romero and King went for laughs as often as screams. But before I could respond, our Zoom connection went wonky. Fortunately, my answer was recorded even though the hosts couldn’t chime in. What happened then? Click here to find out. And while you’re there, be sure to click follow because … as Jordy Verrill discovered when he poked the meteor — it grows on you!

Other news: This installment of The 21st Century Scop is my first new post in weeks. As I’ve said in previous installments, I am always impressed by writers who are able to maintain a weekly blog and still keep up on the writing that pays the bills. I’m not one of them. When deadlines approach, I’m MIA until the gig work is done.

Fortunately, I’ve recently caught up on a few things that I hope to be sharing in the weeks ahead. But for now, I’ll leave you with another interview, this one recorded with the always entertaining Greg Hall — aka The Funky Werepig — in which we talk about some of the projects that have been keeping me out of the blogosphere since March.

Hit play. We’ll meet you there!