Father's Day: Bedelia Grantham's domineering father Nathan had her boyfriend killed. That Father's Day, she proceeded to bash Dad's head in with an ashtray as he yammered loudly for his cake. But you can't keep a hungry man down. Nathan wants his cake, and a little thing like dying isn't going to keep him from getting it.
The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: Backwoods hick Jordy Verrill (King) thinks his financial woes are solved when a meteor crashes into his front yard, and he intends to sell it to a local college professor. But Jordy's hopes for both fortune and survival are dashed when the meteor turns out to contain a parasitic alien plant. Partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space.
Something to Tide You Over: Control freak Richard Vickers (Nielsen), upon learning that his wife, Becky, is sleeping around with well-to-do beach bum Harry Wentworth (Danson), enacts a sadistic revenge upon them: by burying them in the sand below the high tide line at his stretch of private beach. Richard is certain they'll be gone once they drown. Unfortunately, he never saw Father's Day. Otherwise he'd know that death isn't always the end.
The Crate: An old crate is found underneath the stairs at a prestigious university. Upon being opened by Professor Dexter Stanley and janitor Mike Latimer, it turns out to contain an ancient and ferocious beast. After the thing kills and eats Mike and a grad student, Dexter goes to his colleague Henry Northrup (Holbrook) for help. Henry is married to a cruel shrew of a woman named Wilma (Barbeau and her cleavage), and a flesh-eating monster is a tempting alternative to divorce.
They're Creeping Up on You!: Upson Pratt, a loathsome, racist, eccentric, germophobic billionaire, hates pretty much everybody. He treats his hard-working employees like dirt while he rules his multinational business empire from a sterile, germ-proof apartment. After driving a business rival to suicide, Pratt finds out the hard way that sometimes, if grieving widows wish hard enough, they can make lots of killer roaches invade his domicile.
In addition, it had a Framing Device of a young boy named Billy who reads the eponymous Creepshow comic while enduring abuse from his father.
It had a less well-received (but still mostly good) sequel, Creepshow 2, which was followed by the unofficial and nowhere near as popular Creepshow 3.
Big Eater: Staying locked up in a crate for so long must have played hell on the Eldritch Horror's appetite, because he tucks away two full-grown men and still has enough room to fit Henry's wife for dessert.
Chekhov's Gun: During one of the quick framing sequences that shows additional pages in the comic, there's a brief shot of a mail-in ad for a voodoo doll with that order cut out, but it's quickly passed by as the film moves on to the next segment. This comes into play at the very end when it's revealed that Billy already sent away for it, and uses it to kill his father in revenge for throwing the comic out at the beginning of the film.
I CAN HOLD MY BREATH! I CAN HOLD MY BREATH A LOOOONG TIME!
Disproportionate Retribution: How does Richard deal with the news that his wife was cheating on him? He buries her and her lover neck-deep in sand and leaves them to slowly drown when the tide comes in, giving them both a monitor so they can watch one another die.
Even considering the fact that EC Comics morality has a much lower threshold for bloody revenge, it's still hard to see what Hank Blaine did to deserve his death.
Or Jordy Verrill, for that matter.
Well, that's another common theme of EC Comics stories: bad things can happen to undeserving people simply by their being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Wilma: Same old Henry; afraid of your own shadow! You know what, Henry, you’re a regular barnyard exhibit. Sheep’s eyes, chicken guts, piggy friends……, and shit for brains! No good at departmental politics, no good at makin’ money, no good at makin’ an impression on anybody,….and no good at all in BED! When was the last time ya got it up, Henry? Huh? When was the last time you were a man in our bed? Now get outta my way, Henry, or I swear to God you’ll be wearin’ your balls for earrings!
"Just tell it to call you Billie!"
"Please, God, let my luck be in! Just this once. Please, God, just this-"
Faux Affably Evil: Richard puts on a friendly facade as he's extracting his revenge. He talks to Harry almost like he's meeting an old friend he hasn't seen in a while, while arranging to bury him alive and drown him and gloating about how he already murdered his wife.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Oh so much. It's fun to pause the video to read the letters page or some of The Creep's Deadpan Snarking. For example, at the end of The Crate, in the final comic book frame, the Creep snarks, "Oh, Henry. You didn't think you could drown your fears that easily?"
That ghoul puts the Crypt Keeper to shame, particularly in Bernie Wrightson's tie-in comic adaptation.
Genre Savvy: The first place Richard shoots when he's confronted by waterlogged corpses? The head, and subsequently the eye, too bad...
Harry: RICHARD! I'm going to get you. I'm going to get you.
Imagine Spot / Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Henry and Jordy both have more than one of these in their respective segments, with Henry imagining offing his wife, and Jordy playing through various possible outcomes regarding the meteor.
Nice Guy: Hank, the only one in the Grantham house hold to be an in law. Unlike his wife and her sister, who are absolute snobs, he doesn't do or say anything malicious or morbid. He was naturally curious about the story involving Nathan and the only reason why he went out to the graveyard was to see if Bedelia was ok. Sylvia could qualify too as she isn't as rude or malicious as the other two in her clan.
Neck Snap: Nathan Grantham unleashes the ultimate neck-snapping kill with no effort whatsoever.
Our Zombies Are Different: Despite this being directed by George Romero, the zombies in this movie don't follow the classic Romero movies. Richard even tried to shoot Wentworth and Becky in the head, but it was a No Sell.
Papa Wolf: A behind the scenes moment. Tom Atkins once said, Stephen King was concerned about the scene where the father hit his son. Said son was played by King's real life son Joe Hill. However the father played by Atkins assured him that during the scene he would do nothing to hurt Joe.
Pet the Dog: When Henry lures Billie back to the lab with a lie about Dex getting into trouble with some girl, she seems genuinely concerned that Dex might have beaten his non-existent lover.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted, somewhat. Nathan Grantham doesn't so much come back from the dead to get revenge as he does to just get his darn cake. We say "somewhat" because he settles for Aunt Sylvia's head.
Rule of Scary: It is never given a good explanation of how the zombies of stories 1 and 3 are re-animated, or how the crate monster was able to survive for many years without needing food, or the cockroach invasion against Pratt. They just happen because they have to. And let's not even talk about zombie Nathan's Psychic Powers...
Hank lays underneath the tombstone for almost a full minute before Zombie!Nathan gets around to squishing his head with it, far too long to just chalk up to being paralyzed with fear. Guess snobs don't have the "fight or flight" reflex.