Rob Schrab Talks to Us About Creepshow, Stephen King, and More
If there’s anything I’ve learned about Shudder’s Creepshow, it’s that there are tons of Easter eggs. What should you look for in “Bad Wolf Down”?
Schrab does not give too much away, but explains what you should be looking at when it comes to the big picture: “There’s a ton of werewolf references. I mentioned the three big ones. You got Lon Chaney, The Howling, and Rick Baker. There’s a lot of werewolf references in there and I would even say there’s a lot of Tarantino references. There’s this Reservoir Dogs-esque story with guys on the run, forced into a corner, making a pact with the devil to survive. There’s a lot of Inglourious Basterds in there. Originally, this story was set in more of a contemporary world, but it was Greg saying ‘If we set it too contemporary it could become really political and that’s not what this is about. Let’s make it more EC weird war time, like World War II, and then everything just snapped into place.’ We talked a lot about how Inglorious Bastards was this heightened World War II movie whereas Creepshow is a heightened Coen Brothers type level of exaggeration. It all worked and that was always the goal.
Hopefully I got close. I’m putting myself in pretty good company when I say Coen Brothers and Tarantino. Not to pat myself on the back, but I think we did a pretty good job.”
With all the talk about monsters and effects, I wanted to know if there were any creature features the director would want to tackle in the future. What he comes up with on the spot is something I’d think we would all want to see…
Schrab gives me a quick “Ooo” and thinks for only a second, “That’s a good question. I’d love to do alien stuff, like Lovecraftian creature things. I am also a big fan of killer robots. Robots would be really fun to do. Those doors are so big. All creature stuff is super fun. I’d like to do an action movie with a mummy. That would be fun. Die Hard with a mummy would be really great.”
Were there any particular moments that he was worried about going in knowing it was a short shooting schedule? Were there moments in the script that he thought would be hard hurdles to jump?
“It’s all hard, but it’s all worth it. In the middle of it you’re going ‘I hate this. Why do I keep doing this?’ and as soon as it’s done you’re going ‘Oh my God, I love it. I’ve got to do this again. It’s terrific!’ I think all of the werewolf versus Nazi stuff was something that I had an anxiety about because it’s something that I wanted to be big and climactic. We spent a lot of time setting up the characters and the story and heightening tension which is all important, but it’s Creepshow. We have to make sure that these werewolves work.
I wish I had another day. I always wish I had another take, another go at something, but you always seem to have just enough time to do everything. We didn’t do everything, but in the end if we had more it would almost start taking away from what we already have. The werewolf versus Nazi stuff was the stuff that I was worried about, but it all worked out. Greg put together a great team and we had a great crew. I mean Creepshow is such a big movie in my life. I always loved Creepshow and it was so fun. To be a part of this legacy is amazing and to do werewolves with Greg Nicotero is… I can’t believe it. I just really have to keep pinching myself that I’m actually a part of this thing. I finally feel like this is exactly what I was made to do.”
When it comes to anthologies, there’s always one question that needs to be asked: Do you have a particularly favorite chapter of the previous Creepshow entries?
Schrab explains, “The thing about anthologies that’s so great is everybody has their favorites. It depends on when you get me. ‘Father’s Day’ is such a quintessential Creepshow bit. I mean ‘Where’s my cake?’, you hear that and you know we’re talking about Creepshow. Just the look of everything, the lighting of it.
‘Father’s Day’ is a zombie one. It’s not infected people, it’s a zombie coming out of the grave. When’s the last time we saw that? That’s real and total EC comic book cover stuff. ‘The Crate’ is amazing because I love Fluffy. I think it’s so amazing and it’s such a mystery. The thing in the box is so creepy and scary, but at the same time you’re thinking ‘Where did this thing come from?’ and it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is just don’t stick your hand in there. It’s really great. I mean there’s so many iconic moments, I can’t even pick a second one.
‘The Raft’ is one of the most terrifying things ever. I remember seeing that in the theater in the summer. For some reason the air conditioning wasn’t on at the beginning of the movie, so it’s really uncomfortable and it slowly gets colder and colder. ‘The Raft’ is all about the characters freezing to death on this raft and this oil slick is trying to kill them. I had this almost virtual reality experience because I was in a T-shirt and shorts and by the time we reach the climax of this movie I’m shivering. I’m freezing to death in the theater. It really affected me. The hitchhiker one is also really creepy and scary. I think those two are really some of the best. Those are really, really great. It’s hard to pick which ones.
That’s why I love anthologies as well. If you don’t like one, there’s another one that’ll show up in 5 or 10 minutes. You can compare. After it’s done you can sit down and talk about it with your friends and everybody can debate. I just love it. Creepshow is my favorite comic book movie. I don’t care about these superhero movies, but holy shit we need more horror comic movies.”
Interview continues on the next page…