Rob Schrab Talks to Us About Creepshow, Stephen King, and More
The topic of ‘Father’s Day’ conjures up memories of the set where there were some really Creepshow-style moments when it came to the lighting. What role did lighting have to play in Schrab’s segment?
He states, “It’s not Creepshow unless you have lighting. To me, that’s what it is. When you think Creepshow you think about the images. If you type ‘Creepshow’ into an image search, you’re gonna get Adrian Barbeau with the red and black zigzag shapes with the blue key lighting. That, to me, is what makes it a comic book, having those lighting moments. I really wanted to have that in my episode because I wanted it to feel like it was made with the same spirit as what George and Stephen were doing back in the day. It wasn’t even a question of whether we should or shouldn’t. We’re going to have ‘the creep’ shot, as I would call it. I’d be like, ‘We’re going to do ‘the creep’ shot here with Jeffrey, this is the introduction to his character and he’s pissed off. Let’s do the lighting in the background’ and then everybody knew exactly what I meant. It was all practical. Some people asked why we didn’t green screen things so we can control it and I thought, ‘No, if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it on set.’ When the lights change and we are pushing in on Jeffrey, I was like ‘Oh my God. I’m doing it.’ It’s Creepshow. That’s what this is all about, honoring the legacy of what Romero did. This is all for George.”
In the spirit of appreciating the greats, creative executive, director, and special effects master Greg Nicotero lended a helping hand when it came to getting the job done.
Schrab laughs and has a lot of admiring words when it comes to Nicotero: “I had a man-crush on Greg since Day of the Dead. I saw him in that and then I found out he’s one of Savini’s makeup people and then went on to do Creepshow 2 and KNB and I’ve just been following his career ever since. Seeing him in Fangoria and Gore Zone and From Dusk Till Dawn, I’d go ‘Oh there’s Greg Nicotero again.’ I always get excited when I see the makeup guy whether it’s acting in a supporting role or co-starring or making a cameo or being just a background guy because these guys are my heroes. Greg is not that much older than I am and he’s living the life, he’s living the dream life. He’s working on monsters, he’s doing zombies. He’s working with his hands. He’s so talented as not only just a creature guy and a makeup guy, but as a director and the stuff he’s doing on The Walking Dead. It’s just really inspiring.
“I met him a couple of years ago through our mutual friend, Derek Mears who did Swamp Thing and Friday The 13th. Greg was looking at a script I wrote which was about a giant octopus, a herd of giant octopuses, attacking a Midwest town kind of like Tremors, but in Wisconsin, and he really liked it. We sat and we talked about the script. There’s all these references to Creepshow because the main character was a writer, like a Stephen King wannabe, and he was making all these references to Creepshow in it. When I met Greg we talked a lot about Creepshow. He had ‘The Crate’ in the corner and we just geeked out about Creepshow and The Walking Dead and zombies and giant killer octopuses. We hit it off right away.
We lost track of each other for a couple of years and then when I found out he was doing Creepshow I just totally reached out and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you remember me, but I have to be a part of this. I’ll do whatever it takes!’ He goes, ‘Of course I remember you! Shit! You’d be perfect for this,’ and I just kept pitching my ideas over. Then I pitched ‘Bad Wolf Down’ and he said ‘I love that one. Let’s do that one.’
He was really smart with saying things like ‘I don’t want to be a dream killer, but you’ve got to pull back on the script, you’ve got to pull back. We’ve got to make something that’s going to be easier to shoot in three and a half days. We don’t have the budget that we thought we were going to. We don’t have the time we thought we had, but let’s just be smart about this.’ He’s such a big brother on set. He was always like, ‘I just want you to get everything. I don’t want you to walk away being disappointed or anything.’ He just was so helpful and, like I said, in the 11th hour when we were really struggling, he grabbed a camera and just started shooting werewolf stuff. I never would have made it. We never would have gotten the episode that we did if it wasn’t for him.
I adore him. He’s so great. I look up to him and I really am honored and flattered and just so touched that he allowed me to be a part of this amazing thing because it is the beginning of so much for me and I know it was a beginning for him. He met Tom Savini on the set of Creepshow and then Creepshow was basically the beginning of it. There’s something about Greg that I’ve always adored. I just think he’s really smart and creative and has a great sense of humor and is just very nurturing. I hope to do much more with him in the future.”
Join Rob Schrab, Greg Nicotero, and loads of other dedicated horror creators as they bring The Creep back from the dead. The Creepshow anthology will continue exclusively through Shudder on September 26th.