6. Fluffy the Crate Beast (Creepshow)
Creepshow was something of an oddity. Instead of a single, feature-film length story, this 1982 film consists of five short stories. Each features the kind of black comedy and lurid justice that you would expect to see in the old EC and DC horror comics from the 1950s. Indeed, those comics were a direct inspiration for the project and its director, George A. Romero. The film’s writer, Stephen King (yes, the Stephen King, in his screenwriting debut) also drew upon the same themes.
“The Crate” is the fourth story to makes its appearance in the film. It follows college professor Dexter Stanley, who learns that, under the practically abandoned stairway of a ignored academic building, sits a crate. So what?
It turns out that this crate has been there for nearly 150 years. Along with Mike the custodian, Stanley decides to open the crate. Inside is a terrible monster with a jaw elongated only so it can fit more sharp teeth inside. It’s relatively small, but after 150 years it’s ravenously hungry. Mike is its first unfortunate victim.
Stanley rightfully decides to freak out. He runs over to talk to his friend, Henry Northrup, a fellow professor. Northrup immediately thinks of Wilma, his abusive wife. Wouldn’t Wilma like to meet the crate beast in person?
What makes Fluffy – an informal name that doesn’t appear in the film itself – so frightening isn’t just its teeth, beady eyes, or an extra set of limbs. It’s also the way the beast likes to leap out of dark, hidden crates to consume its victims. The lighting work in the beast scenes, in which red and blue lights clash in a way reminiscent of the intense horror comics the film recalls, is also shockingly effective.