One of the best things to result from the DVD boom was the proliferation of the feature length doc about an individual movie included as a special feature. Of course, not every movie would get this treatment but it became increasingly viable for more titles to get their very own Hearts of Darkness. Unfortunately, with physical media sales only on the decline, this is now a rarity yet there’s no time like the present to go back a few years and dust off those SD docs and make them new again and that’s just what Synapse has done for the feature length Creepshow doc Just Desserts.
Just Desserts runs right under 90 minutes and it never stops. Cleverly divided into segments just like Romero’s film, it moves quickly and is always informative and fun. Not everyone from the cast returns for the doc but you do get interviews with the likes of Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, and Tom Atkins; on the crew side there’s conversations with Romero himself, Tom Savini, and a slew of other folks who worked on the production. It’s filled with on-set behind the scenes footage, archival stills and talking heads which provide plenty of amusing anecdotes for fans including how hard it was to shoot with Leslie Nielsen due to laughter on the set and the trials and tribulations of working with a high number of live cockroaches. This may not be as harrowing as Hearts of Darkness or as exhaustive as the feature length docs that accompany many of Ridley Scott’s films on disc, but it’s clearly a labor of love for all involved and it manages to be honest while still paying tribute to the topic at hand. If you haven’t seen this elsewhere yet and you’re a fan of Creepshow and/or horror cinema in general, it’s an essential purchase.
Originally released on Universal’s 2007 R2 DVD set, Just Desserts has never gotten an official US release until now as WB owns the rights to the title domestically and didn’t include director Michael Felsher’s documentary on their Blu-ray release. Luckily, the always reliable folks at Synapse stepped up to the plate to get this a stand alone release in the states and, as typical for them, they pulled out all of the stops making this a packed release, the likes of which we even rarely see for a feature film let alone a documentary about one. Featuring a 1080p transfer and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track, this looks and sounds great for a film made almost ten years ago now and it’s safe to say that the presentation isn’t going to get any better than this.
On to the supplements, we start with two audio commentary tracks. The first is with Michael Felsher alone who is talkative and carries the track from the project’s inception up through its release, with plenty of anecdotes to spare. The second track joins Felsher with actor John Amplas, property master Bruce Alan Miller and make up artist Darryl Ferrucci. This track is a bit messy with the audio being sourced from different interviews and Felsher sort of contextualizing it all. The nice thing about this track is that you get to hear from three people who don’t appear in the doc, so if completion is your thing, you’re covered. For video content we start with an 8 minute interview with DP Michael Gornick titled “Creepshow Days,” which unfortunately doesn’t get into too much but is worth a watch. There’s then a collection of “extended interview segments” with Romero, Savini and Bernie Wrightson which are basically just more of the great content that’s already in the doc. “Behind the Screams” is 26 minutes of set footage from Tom Savini, mostly involving effects footage and it’s a real treat. We get a “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” feature with Sean Clark which most horror fans should be used to by now as Clark tends to pop up on these discs frequently, taking viewers on a tour of a given film’s locations and it’s the same here. There’s a 7 minute “Evening Magazine” news report on the making of the film and an 8 minute behind the scenes stills gallery to, mostly, round things out. But, wait, there’s one more whopper of an extra: Scream Greats Volume 1: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects is an almost hour long look at the work of Savini and it even has optional Savini commentary. It’s enough to buy the package for itself.
It’s safe to say that if you’re a fan of Creepshow, you need to own this disc. Even if you have Universal’s UK DVD or Second Sight’s UK BD, both containing Just Desserts, Synapse have included enough bonus content here to make this package indispensable. It doesn’t get much better than this for horror fans, let alone fans of one particular movie. Highly Recommended.