Creepshow Episodes 2 & 3 - The Scares just keep on coming
Creepshow’s second and third episodes boast more familiar faces, familiar genre creatives behind the camera and a slew of nods, winks, sly jabs and direct “look it’s same beer from the first episode” moments for horror aficionados to sink their teeth into.
The second episode of Shudder’s Creepshow revival features tales from directors Rob Schrab and another instalment from show-runner, Greg Nicotero.
We begin as per the norm with The Creep- a fortune teller attempts to read his withered palm only to discover a burning pentagram. Cue the music! The prologue is one of a few nods to Lon Chaney Jr.’s The Wolfman (1941)- the fortune teller and what I assumed was a more subtle character name homage in ‘Captain Talby’.
Bad Wolf Down-
WW2, a battlefield- an American squad behind enemy lines fights to make their escape only to stumble across the scenes of a bloody and frenzied slaughter as they take refuge in an abandoned police station. Unbeknownst to them, during battle they have killed the son of Obersturmfuhrer Reinhard Schmelzgerat (Jeffrey Combs) and have now been marked for death.
As Schmelzgerat’s forces begin to surround the police station the squad begin to piece together what has happened to the bodies that lay around them and more importantly why there is a lone woman locked in a cell, begging for death.
Bad Wolf Down plays out like an E.C comic made flesh- with the exception of some flick-book style “animated” special effects. Like the best of Creepshow the story is easily one that could have been expended into a feature length romp but the 22 minute run time keeps things sharp. Jeffrey Combs is in his element as the vengeful Nazi commander but the role is little more than a reminder of what a performer like Combs can do in even a small arch role.
The Finger (Dir. Greg Nicotero)
DJ Qualls (Supernatural, The man in the High Castle) stars as Clark Wilson, the hapless out-of-luck ‘collector of lost objects’ in Greg Nicotero’s second directorial episode of the series. Quall’s 4th Wall breaking loser narrates the tale of how he came into possession of a severed finger and the subsequent shenanigans that follow as the appendage begins to grow.
Nicotero is working from a script by David J Schow (The Crow, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) so we’re in safe sardonic hands. Schow’s “splatterpunk” style is on gleeful display as the regenerating finger becomes something of a pet for Clark, helping him get to grips with his inner rage and forcing him to deal with some of his most deep-seated grudges. The Finger is a fun little gore-soaked romp that pulls no punches in its blood-letting but what lingers after the segment has ended is a nagging suspicion that what we’ve witnessed might not be what it first seemed.
Creepshow Episode 3- All Hallows Eve/The Man in The Suitcase
As we join The Creep for the third batch of stories we witness his attempt at pumpkin carving while in the back ground Night of the Living Dead plays, ghouls on the march against the living. The Creep chuckles away until he’s interrupted by Trick or Treaters which of course ends with a grisly punchline.
“All Hallows Eve” (Dir John Harrison)
A bunch of teens meet for their annual bout of ‘trick or treating’, one last tour of their neighborhood before they retire their annual tradition. As we progress from door to door the relatively somber bunch is met with anger and fear from the locals and an old debt is seemingly about to be paid in full.
Again, we have a returning director in John Harrison who pulled second unit director duties on the original Creepshow movie and here delivers a nice little chiller that is as sweet and moving as it is, in parts, horrific. The segment pays its respects to the spooky season and you’ll be hard pressed to not feel that nostalgia like a warm blanket wrapped around you.
“The Man in the Suitcase” (Dir. David Bruckner)
A young man, returning home from a visit to ask his father for money, picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport. Unfortunately for him, said suitcase contains the contorted form of the titular “Man”.
‘The Man in the Suitcase’ is a straight-forward morality tale asking a basic question- Could you inflict pain on a stranger for financial gain? More to the point, how would this change you and the people around you?
While there is a nice little story here there’s also a lack of likable characters to get behind. It’s tricky for a twenty-odd minute story to deliver detailed and satisfying character development but up until now it’s a task that the series has managed to deliver, if only in the broadest sense. That said the segment rattles by and gives us an amusing little chilling finale to send us on our way.
Director David Bruckner’s previous directing gigs include The Ritual (2017) and V/H/S and it’s interesting to see what he does with limited time and resources.