Greetings, gore hounds, to this, episode 4, of the To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast, where we are counting down my 50 favourite horror films! This episode sees us at film 48 out of 50, and it’s the first full length feature film from Christopher Smith…
Unfortunately that trailer doesn’t tell you much, especially the title of my 48th film, which is 2004’s Creep.
Creep tells of strong-willed professional Kate (Franke Potente), who is leaving a work function early with an intention to sneak into an A-lister party where she is setting her sites on George Clooney, who is supposed to be there.
Unfortunately the friend who she was supposed to leave with goes without her and she’s left to catch a train to the destination, but she is a little drunk, and tired and dozes off on the train station, awaking to find the last train, HER train, has left and the entire station is abandoned.
Another train turns up regardless and she jumps up on it, only to have it stop deep in the tunnels and for her to find out that she’s not alone. One of her workmates, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield), a man she rejected the advances of at the party, has followed her to the train and high on drugs, attempts to rape her, but the rape is stopped when he is dragged off the train by something in the tunnels.
Very quickly, Kate discovers that there is a monster in the tunnels, a misshapen creature who murders those stuck in his tunnels at night. The victims pile up as Kate seeks assistance in her plight, but everyone she asks for help from ends up and the wrong end of the creatures wrath, A creature we discover to be named Craig (Sean Harris) who lives in the abandoned rooms, offices and doctors surgeries that were built in case the aristocracy ever had to retreat underground during a war, but he knows about the human race only through the things he has observed by what happened in the rooms and he copies them…
The attraction for me with this film initially was the appearance of Potante, who I had really liked in the films Anatomie, Blow, Run Lola Run and two of the Bourne films. She’s atypical of the regular types that end up in these roles insomuch as she a actor of great skill, her characters always have a great tenacity and she doesn’t disguise her accent.
But this wasn’t all that attracted me to this film, it was the location, which I must expand upon.
My first ‘proper’ job was in the city of Sydney, and from my humble house in the suburbs, I had a fairly decent trip into work. I read hundreds and hundreds of horror novels in my time going back and forth, and like most people of those tender young ages, I dreamed myself to be a great horror novelist… it must be easy, right?
Anyway, when the trip got to the city, the train would go into the subway or underground or whatever you want to call it, and I’d stop reading and look out the window into the darkness. The idea of these dark caves under the technological wonders of modern society always were alluring, and my ideas for novels merged my experiences, with those of fantastical characters made out of hive-minded slugs and weird, sex-obsessed mutants (influenced by Shaun Hutson and H. P Lovecraft, no doubt).
When I first saw this film over ten years ago, when I reviewed it for the now-defunct Digital Retribution website, it reminded me of those days, both the experience of the tunnels, and the monsters living within them. I felt like Smith had reached into my skull and pulled out my idea and then thrown an actress that I really liked into it.
Sure, it’s is reminiscent of the 1972 Gary Sherman film Deathline, but only so much in its location. Smith claims that he had never heard of that film, and the differences are enough that I have no reason to not believe him saying that… especially when you consider it’s not necessarily a well known example of early 70s UK horror.
As I do these To Watch Pile After Dark Podcasts I am rewatching the films and honestly I wish I had have placed this higher as I hadn’t watched it for a while. The story is gripping, the gore is plentiful and the antagonist is disturbing, though like all good horror movies, there is that one scene that will make almost everyone wince just a little bit… and the rest cross their legs in terror!
It should be pointed out too, that Craig is played by Sean Harris, who played Ian Curtis of Joy Division in the docudrama 24 Hour Party People, Solomon Lane in a couple of Mission Impossible flicks, and Fifield in the surprising Alien prequel, Prometheus. This role could have been disappointing in the hands of a lesser actor, but Harris’ physicality brings something to the role.
If I am to point out anything that isn’t great about this film is the make up Harris has to wear. It’s a very generic ‘mutant’ make up that at time, under some light, just looks like a thickened cake mixture has been stuck to the poor actors face.
Smith went of to direct other interesting films as well, the follow up to this being 2006’s Severances, 2009’s Triangle and 2010’s Black Death, all films also worth checking out.
So that’s is, we’ve Creeped around all we can and this episode must come to a close. Thank you for listening to the To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast, and please, check out my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz, and my horror movie reviews at www.towatchpile.com. I’d really appreciate it too if you like the podcast, give me a 5 star rating and leave a comment.
Until next time,,.